‘I’m the outcast’: Kyrgios clips Aussie greats – except Lleyton – on ‘sick obsession’ ahead of ‘super proud’ moment

Nick Kyrgios has targeted Australian tennis greats who have had a “sick obsession” to “take me down”, but praised Lleyton Hewitt for his unwavering support ahead of the 27-year-old’s bigger game of his career.

The richly talented but deeply divisive Australian is through to the biggest game of his career after Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon semifinal with… a stomach wound.

It pushed Kyrgios into a first Grand Slam decider – a remarkable feat after admitting this year that he had suicidal thoughts, took drugs and injured himself during a dark period in his life in 2019.

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Kyrgios is now Australia’s first capable men’s Grand Slam finalist since Hewitt at the Australian Open in 2005.

“The only great one who ever supported me all the time was Lleyton Hewitt,” Kyrgios said.

“He kind of knows that I’m doing my own thing. I am definitely the outcast of the Australian players. It sucks.

“It’s kind of sad because I don’t get any support from the other Australian tennis players, the male side.

“Not the players, but like the greats of the past. It’s weird that they just have a sick obsession to take me down for some reason.”

Nick Kyrgios with Lleyton Hewitt during an ATP Cup match in 2020. Photo: Craig GoldingSource: AAP

Kyrgios had never made it past the quarter-finals of a Slam before his current All England Club visit.

He made the last eight on his debut in 2014 and reached the quarter-finals in Australia in 2015, but since then his career has been marked by more downs than ups.

“I never thought I’d be here, to be honest with you,” he said. “But I’m just super proud and I’m just ready to go. I’m going to give everything and we’ll see what happens.”

“If I lift a Grand Slam trophy, please don’t pressure me to win another one.”

“The only thing that is certain, whether I win or lose on Sunday, I will be happy.

“It’s such an amazing achievement that I never thought I’d be a part of it.

“Especially at 27, I feel like this is the last phase of my career. I just never thought it would be here. I have a chance.

“There are definitely times when I hate this sport, but there are times when I think I’m one of the most competitive people I’ve ever met.

“I like tennis, but I just like competition. I just love competing against someone, and I just love the winning and losing aspect of sports in general. So I don’t know if that will ever change.”

Had he met Nadal it would have been their third clash at Wimbledon. Kyrgios won the first in 2014 as a 144th wildcard before Nadal retaliated in a stormy showdown three years ago.

“We’ve had a lot of run-up, a lot of fights,” Kyrgios said. “I’m sure at the end of the day everyone wanted to see us go into battle there. I hope he just gets better.

“Of course you never want to see someone like that, so important to the sport, go down with such an injury. I’m sure I’ll play him on a big stage again.”

Earlier Friday, Kyrgios had posted a goodwill message on Instagram to Nadal. “Different players, different personalities. @rafaelnadal Hope your recovery is speedy and we hope to see you all healthy soon – see you next time.”

Kyrgios has revealed that Novak Djokovic reached out to him on Instagram to discuss the final days of Wimbledon before the Aussie reached his first championship game at a Grand Slam.

Kyrgios now takes on Novak Djokovic or Cameron Norrie, who will face each other on Saturday morning (AEST) for a place in the final.

Kyrgios revealed that Djokovic reached out to him via Instagram days before the Aussie reached his first Grand Slam final, with the world No. 1 sharing his hopes of meeting Kyrgios in the Wimbledon decision.

“We definitely have a bit of a bromance now, which is weird,” he said. “I think everyone knows that love hasn’t been lost there for a while. I think it was healthy for the sport. I think every time we played against each other, there was hype around it. It was interesting for the media, the people watching, all that.

Emotional Kyrgios reaches semi-final | 01:29

“I felt like I was almost the only kind of player and someone who stood up for him with all that kind of drama at the Australian Open. I feel that respect is earned there. Not on the tennis court, but I feel that there is a real crisis and someone stands up for you.

“We’re now messaging each other via DMs on Instagram and stuff. It’s really weird. Actually earlier in the week he said, ‘Hopefully I’ll see you Sunday.’”

— with AFP

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