Not many tennis players turn out to be polarizing figures in the sport like Nick Kyrgios did in recent years. Still, the Aussie has made millions of admirers for his style of play and impact on the ATP Tour. Let’s take a look at his story.
Nick Kyrgios is an Australian professional tennis player that has won worldwide recognition for his aggressive style of play and controversial attitude both on and off the court. He also loves the NBA and is a fan of the Boston Celtics.
Born on April 27, 1995, to Greek father George and Malaysian mother Norlaila, Kyrgios grew up in Canberra, Australia. While his dad worked as a house painter, Kyrgios’ mom is a retired computer engineer. Nick also has two siblings, sister Halimah and brother Christos.
Kyrgios took interest in sports early in his life, playing basketball and tennis, but it wasn’t until turning 14 that he decided to lean on the latter. After relocating to Melbourne to boost his career, Kyrgios moved back to Canberra, where he attended Daramalan College, in the wake of a million-dollar investment that rebuilt the Lyneham Tennis Center.
Though he was still playing basketball by then, Kyrgios started to pursue a career in tennis at 13—playing his first junior match in 2008 in Australia. Shortly after that he focused on tennis. And it didn’t take long for him to succeed, receiving a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport.
Kyrgios won his first ITF junior tour title in Fiji in June 2010. He started to compete in junior Grand Slam tournaments in 2011, but it was the following season when he took the spotlight.
In 2012, Kyrgios teamed up with Andrew Harris to win two majors in doubles, first at the junior French Open and later at the Wimbledon boys. The next year, he also won the Australian Open junior in singles and later succeeded in doubles along with Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Wimbledon boys’ tournament. On top of that, Kyrgios also reached world No. 1 of the junior ranking.
Though he turned pro in 2013, it was the following year when the world got to know Kyrgios. In the fourth round of Wimbledon, the then 19-year-old Kyrgios pulled off a shock by defeating world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in four sets. He became the first teenager to beat a world No. 1 in a Grand Slam since 2005, and the first male debutant to reach the quarterfinals since 2004.
Though he couldn’t get further, that performance saw Kyrgios make the top 100, climbing to world No. 66. He finished the year ranked 52, showing the world there was an emerging Australian talent behind Lleyton Hewitt.
Kyrgios started 2015 on the right foot, becoming the first Australian player to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals in a decade, and also the first teenager to make at least two Grand Slam quarterfinals since Roger Federer in 2001.
At only 19, Kyrgios broke into the top 50 and even reached world No. 35, finishing the year inside the top 30. But the following season was even better, as Kyrgios took a step forward and won his first ATP titles.
Kyrgios bounced back from a third round defeat at the Australian Open by winning the Open 13 in Marseille, leaving three top 10 players behind on the way. Following a great run in Miami, Kyrgios entered the top 20 and later won the ATP 250 in Atlanta, as well as the ATP 500 in Tokyo. Consequently, Kyrgios made the top 15 of the world rankings for the first time, finishing 2016 at a career-high singles ranking No. 13.
Having struggled with injuries during clay or grass court seasons, Kyrgios managed to make a comeback at the Cincinnati Masters, making his first Masters 1000 final.
An elbow injury left Kyrgios out of the clay season in 2018, in which he struggled to perform even after being recovered. He got back on track in 2019, winning his fifth ATP title at the Mexican Open in Acapulco. But that year Kyrgios was in the eye of the storm for having heated exchanges with spectators, and smashing racquets.
In the wake of five episodes of unsportsmanlike conduct which cost him a $133,000 fine, Kyrgios received a 16-week suspension, with a $25,000 fine and a six-month probationary period after an investigation conducted by the ATP.
Due to the pandemic outbreak, 2020 was a short season for him. Kyrgios ended up withdrawing from the US Open amid concerns over Covid-19. And 2021 wasn’t better: After the Laver Cup, Kyrgios ended his season due to a knee injury. He finished the year ranked No. 93.
2022 may not have started well, with Kyrgios dropping below the top 100, though he won the Australian Open doubles event along with Kokkinakis. But Kyrgios later got back on track, making an unexpected run to the Wimbledon final—where he lost to Novak Djokovic—and winning the Washington Open. Kyrgios got back into the top 20, becoming the highest-ranked Australian player again.
Having won the Junior Davis Cup with his country, Kyrgios also went on to represent Australia during his pro career. In 2016, he teamed up with Daria Gavrilova to help his country win their first Hopman Cup in 17 years, leading Australia to the Davis Cup semifinals the following year.
Kyrgios, who made his senior debut at the Davis Cup at only 18, could have played in the Olympic Games in 2016 and 2018, but chose not to do so. Kyrgios pulled out of Rio 2016 due to differences with the Australian Olympic Committee, and later withdrew from Tokyo 2020.
Nick Kyrgios has won seven ATP singles titles in his professional career. He has yet to win a Grand Slam title, with a trip to the Wimbledon championships finals being his best result in the Majors. He also has four doubles titles.
Nick Kyrgios may have sparked controversy with his behavior on the court, smashing racquets, trash-talking to opponents, and arguing with spectators or umpires. But none of that changes the fact that he’s a great tennis player.
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