London: Nick Kyrgios says his ongoing motivation in tennis would have taken a hit had he upset one of the sport’s greats Novak Djokovic and reached a pinnacle of the sport by winning Wimbledon.
Instead, Kyrgios, in his major final debut, pushed seven-time champion Djokovic hard, ultimately falling short as the Serbian rallied after losing the opening set to win a gripping match over three hours, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).
Nick Kyrgios pushed seven-time champion Novak Djokovic hard, but ultimately fell short.Credit:Getty Images
But his immediate plans and next goals on the horizon remain uncertain. Kyrgios said most of the career gains he’s had this year had occurred before his dramatic two weeks at the All England club major.
“I feel like my fire’s been lit this whole year,” he said.
“I’ve obviously met a lot of amazing people this year who have just given me extra motivation.
“To find people that finally have my back, that I just love being around, and they just want to push me to be a better person and to be a better tennis player.
“They realise that I’m immensely talented and I have … a lot more to do in this sport.”
While energised by the experience of playing on the sport’s biggest stage – a Wimbledon final against an all-time great who is homing in on Roger Federer’s men’s record of nine titles, Kyrgios said, “I don’t feel like it relights a fire or anything like that.
“I know I’ve been able to beat these players before. There were other things I couldn’t figure out along the way.”
Kyrgios repeated his view that the demands on current players were onerous, and they exceeded expectations placed on past players.
“It takes a hell of an athlete mentally and physically to win one of these things. I think eight people have won this title since I’ve been born,” he said.
“Mentally it’s another beast. To come back here [and keep winning] for two weeks in a row. None of the people in this room understand it.”
Krygios confirmed he’d been affected by the four-day break between matches. He earned direct entry to the showdown against Djokovic after semi-final opponent Rafael Nadal pulled out with an abdominal injury.
“It’s just a lot mentally. Everyone’s supporting you. There are negative comments,” he said.
“Am I going to do good? Am I going to behave well for me? There’s so many things.
“Like playing Djokovic is a hard enough task as it is.”
However, in the initial hours after defeat, he said he was experiencing enormous relief and the emotional drain was over.
“I feel like there’s just weight off my shoulders. I feel like there’s so much weight on my shoulders all the time when I step out on the tennis court. Now it’s just released and I feel amazing,” he said.
“This is the best I’ve felt [in] the two weeks. I just felt so much pressure. There’s so much, like, anxiety, pressure to do things or achieve things. If I don’t do well, like it’s just so much.
“So [now] I feel unbelievable. Like I’m two beers deep.”
After telling some of his basketball-playing friends in Canberra weeks ago that he was Wimbledon-bound, Kyrgios was still pinching himself.
“I’m just not supposed to be here. Like, I’m a kid from Canberra,” he said.
“I was actually in a facility playing basketball with some boys back home. I literally said to one of them, ‘Look, I think I’m going to, like, have some fun and maybe win Wimbledon,’ ” he said.
“I’m here as a finalist. Like literally. Like, I didn’t hit more than an hour a day. Just everything.
“I look back at it and I’m just like, ‘How am I here? How am I here?’ You know, it’s pretty cool.”
The commitment he has applied to his cause in London left him satisfied.
“I’ve stayed in most of the time. I’ve tried to just get good sleep, eat well. Not even have a beer here or there. I’ve really tried to commit. My practices I’ve really tried to focus, tried to work on things,” he said.
“I’ve committed everything I can commit these two weeks and I just came up short.
“I was taught that’s all right. Even though it sucks. Of course, it sucks.
“I’m playing points back in my head from that match that I wish I could have back, but it is what it is.”
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