Kyrgios contemplated ending his own life after 2019 Wimbledon defeat

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Nick Kyrgios has revealed he was admitted to a psychiatric ward after Wimbledon in 2019 after contemplating ending his life, saying he “hated the kind of person I was”.

The Australian has previously been open about his struggles with depression and self-harm, but in a new episode of the Netflix documentary, Break Point, further detailed the depths of despair he felt after a second-round, four-set loss to Rafael Nadal four years ago.

“I was genuinely contemplating if I wanted to commit suicide,” Kyrgios said. “I lost at Wimbledon. I woke up and my dad was sitting on the bed, full-blown crying. That was the big wake-up call for me. I was like, “OK, I can’t keep doing this. I ended up in a psych ward in London to figure out my problems.”

The 28-year-old, who currently sits at No.25 on the ATP rankings, wore a white sleeve on his right arm to hide the wounds of his self-harm while on the court during the 2019 tournament, a period he describes as “the lowest point of my career”. He has since gotten a sleeve tattoo of the late Kobe Bryant which covers almost his entire arm.

“I was drinking, abusing drugs, lost my relationship with my family, pushed all my close friends away,” he said. “You could tell I was hurting. My whole arm was covered in scars — that’s why I actually got my arm sleeve. To cover it all. That pressure, having that all-eyes-on-you expectation, I couldn’t deal with it. I hated the kind of person I was.”

His father George also features in the episode and spoke of his son’s vulnerability. “I told him, ‘This is not the right path, mate. You’ve got bigger and better things to chase, you know’,” he said. “He was in tears … I’m here for Nick. Nothing else matters. When he’s away, he’s my first priority. He’s very sensitive, very fragile.”

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios during his Wimbledon loss to Rafael Nadal in 2019.Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth

Kyrgios’ stop-start and often controversial career has since flourished. In 2022, he rode the highs of his best season yet, winning the Australian Open doubles title alongside Thanasi Kokkinakis and later that year reached a maiden grand slam final to finish Wimbledon as runner-up to Novak Djokovic.

His colourful persona, which includes regular run-ins with chair umpires and other players and flies in the face of the mostly polite tennis scene, has been received both positively and negatively in equal measure.

“I know what I bring to the table,” he says in the documentary. “I know that I sell a lot of tickets. I sell out stadiums all around the world. But I know I’m not really accepted. Especially in the tennis world — being a white, privileged sport.

“When I was young, I was told you could only make it if you ticked these certain boxes. Being bullied at a young age because of being short and fat and brown, it scarred me, for sure. People confuse my confidence for arrogance at times because they have no idea what I’ve gone through.”

Kyrgios has also battled with regular injuries, and withdrew from this year’s Australian Open to have surgery on his knee. On Wednesday he returned to action after a seven-month recovery to play in Stuttgart, defeated by China’s Wu Yibing in straight sets, in a match lasting 68 minutes during which he visibly struggled with pain and mobility.

Crisis support can be found at Lifeline (13 11 14), the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467) and beyondblue (1300 22 4636).

Watch all the action from Wimbledon with every match streaming ad-free, live and on demand from July 3 on the Home of Grand Slam Tennis, Stan Sport.

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