Nick Kyrgios says he’s in a much better place mentally heading into 2019. (AAP Image/Daniel Pockett)
Nick Kyrgios says he’s in a much better place mentally heading into 2019. (AAP Image/Daniel Pockett)Source: AAP

Nick Kyrgios has opened up on the emotional toll tennis has taken on him, saying he was “in some really bad places” in 2018 but is “in a good spot mentally” heading into this year.

Having taken extra time off at home in recent months and worked with psychologists, the 23-year-old believes he can “realistically” be in the top 10 again but isn’t focused on his ranking at the moment.

“I was in some really bad places. Right now I feel like I’m in a good spot mentally,” he said.

“People are going to think, You drew Raonic, it’s a bad draw. I don’t really care. I’m healthy, happy, go out there and compete. Whatever happens happens.”

Pointing to the imminent retirement of Andy Murray, who Kyrgios spoke glowingly of as “a normal guy”, the Aussie said last year he wasn’t approaching tennis the right way.

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A frustrated Alex de Minaur has hit out at Australian Open organisers for scheduling his first round match less than 48 hours after the Sydney International final.

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De Minaur qualified for the final against Andreas Seppi by defeating Frenchman Gilles Simon, 6-3 6-2, in 34 degree heat on Saturday afternoon.

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But that semi-final was delayed because of rain on Friday, forcing de Minaur to play the final just five hours later on Saturday evening.

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Then the day one Australian Open schedule was released, which sees de Minaur face Portugal’s Pedro Sousa on Show Court 1, likely at 3pm on Monday.

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“What’s more annoying is me having to play on Monday at the Australian Open and not getting helped out as a fellow Aussie at your home Slam,” de Minaur said.

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“I think they’re punishing Aussies for playing deep in their home tournaments, and I think that should not be what they should be doing.”

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De Minaur was asked if he had requested a postponement from Tennis Australia of his first round match, which is on Monday like the rest of his side of the draw.

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“Yeah, I mean they came out with the schedule before they even saw the halves or saw who was in the finals the week prior,” he said.

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“I think that’s pretty poor.”

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The issue for de Minaur is that to ensure he is fully prepared for the opening grand slam of the season, he would have to pull out of the final of his home tournament.

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“It was quite hot out there,” de Minaur said after his semi-final win over Simon.

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“It was pretty brutal condition, it’s probably the hottest day we’ve had, very humid as well.

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“Long rallies, pretty taxing, but this is what I do the hard work for, to go out there and back it up.”

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