Australian Open: Nick Kyrgios seeks sports psychologist after questioning his commitment to the sport

Nick Kyrgios began seeing a London-based female sports psychologist in June and admits he began questioning his desire to continue playing the sport

Kyrgios had fallen out of love with tennis after a drama-plagued 2015, but after confirming that he and Ajla Tomljanovic were now an item, he has rediscovered his passion for the sport.

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"To be honest with you I didn't enjoy my tennis at all last year," Kyrgios said.

"I was really struggling a lot of the time through the year. But in the last couple of months I've definitely started to enjoy my tennis a lot more.

Seeking help: Nick Kyrgios is hoping to overcome his on-court anger issues.
Seeking help: Nick Kyrgios is hoping to overcome his on-court anger issues. Photo: Getty Images

"Just mentally, I was wondering if I really liked the sport or if I wanted to play it at times. Last couple of months it has turned around."

Asked what had changed?


"It's hard to say, I don't know," he said before turning and smiling at Tomljanovic in the press conference following their mixed doubles loss.

Kyrgios, who bizarrely answered a phone call during mixed doubles on Saturday, turned to a sports psychologist to help him overcome the mental demons that resurfaced at the Australian Open on Friday night.

He has recognised his inability to control his anger and had worked extensively with the sports psychologist, who had spent time in his box during matches last year, to rectify the problem.

Fairfax Media understands Kyrgios was trying to identify indicators to stop frustration from becoming anger on the court, something he was unable to do in the controversial loss to Tomas Berdych on Rod Laver Arena.

​The world No.30 lost focus when music began to echo around the stadium while serving, triggering a fiery exchange with the chair umpire and an ugly reaction from portions of the crowd.

In Kyrgios' defence, the music was clearly audible in the stands, however his inability to overcome the setback, plus his ensuing altercation with the chair umpire, saw him unravel.

Kyrgios is considered one of the most naturally gifted tennis players on tour, however his tendency to mentally capitulate mid-match still separates him from the top echelon of players.

"I kind of look at the game a bit differently to everyone else on tour," Kyrgios said.

"I feel as if everyone is really serious. Having fun is a big one for me. Once I'm done enjoying myself out there is probably when I'm going to call it."

The premier athletes across all sports speak about being in the "zone" – a state of concentration and focus that blocks out everything around them.

Unfortunately for Kyrgios, he lacks the mental strength at this point in his career and exhausts energy on trivial matters that send him spiralling down a dark tunnel as he begins talking incessantly to himself and his crew.

He knows that. He wants to change that. But doing so is proving a far more difficult assignment.

There was the change of shorts debacle in the second round, followed by the mystery music-playing device in the third round.

It is not an excuse, nor should it justify his antics on Friday night. But if anything, it provides an understanding of a man whose insecurities and shortcomings have left him battling his own mental scars as much as the person on the other side of the net.

Those close to the polarising figure will tell you it is pointless trying to tell him what to do. He needs to want to do something himself. Hence why he still doesn't have a coach.

Numerous sessions with the psychologist in London before Wimbledon took a while to take effect and, given the drama-plagued campaign at The All England Club, it became clear he was in need of some professional help.

His family and friends saw a notable difference in his demeanour before Christmas, despite stopping his sessions with the psychologist. 

Albeit at a social tournament, his mellow tone was evident during the Hopman Cup in Perth to start the year and even attracted the attention of tennis legend Ken Rosewall, who commented on the attitude shift he witnessed.

The composure and self-control Kyrgios displayed, especially in dismantling Andy Murray for the first time in his career, indicated that the evolution the nation had been waiting for might have just occurred.

But the bright lights and the weight of expectation at his home grand slam saw him fall into old habits, losing a grip of what made him so effective in Perth as well as the International Premier Tennis League late last year.