February 11, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
N. KYRGIOS/U. Humbert
5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Another thrilling match at John Cain tonight. Do you remember ever saving match point and going on to win at the Australian Open?
NICK KYRGIOS: No, I don't think I have ever saved match points before at the Australian Open. I have had match points and lost.
But, yeah, that match was -- it was a crazy one. I have been a part of a lot of matches, and that one has been definitely one of the most memorable ones, but I'm still kind of in awe about the atmosphere. Definitely, the stadium definitely didn't feel half full, that's for sure. It felt -- the atmosphere was insane.
I was just speaking to my physio about it. He's seen me tank matches, play matches, epic five-setters, everything, and that was still one of the most crazy matches for both of us. We have seen it all, but that was insane.
Q. How does a result like that compare to beating Rafa at Wimbledon, reaching an Oz Open quarterfinal, beating Federer? Has it really stuck out?
NICK KYRGIOS: Definitely one of the most memorable ones. He's a heck of a player. I don't think he's getting enough credit for the year he had last year, and he's only going to get better. I don't call too many people good players when I play them. I usually -- they play well, but, like, he's a really good player.
He's a lefty. He's got a good serve. He can hit all the flat spots. He can hit the wide on the deuce, T on the ad. Unbelievable backhand, good forehand, good volleys. He's a good competitor too.
And he's only young. He's definitely one to watch out for. I think he's going to be very good.
You know, insane that -- he was one point away from sitting in this position and doing a press conference. So he's gonna have -- and he's only young. I hope he doesn't take it too hard on himself either. He played a hell of a match. He's going to be really good. He's just got to keep his head up and he'll do some special things.
Q. What do you think was the key to you turning it around?
NICK KYRGIOS: I'd like to have an answer for that one, but I really don't, to be honest. Honestly, I felt like I didn't have anything against him. Like, in the fourth and fifth set, I mean, I thought he was playing better from the ground. I was maybe serving a little bit better. But the only thing I really had on him today was experience.
I have been in so many big matches, and on that court in particular, two sets to love down, winning. You know, I've just been through so much on the court, I just felt like I was an old savvy veteran who had experience over him. He's a young guy. I don't think he's been in too many five-set matches in Australia with that kind of crowd against him.
So I was just trying to draw from experience, trying to make him play as much as I could, and then I somehow got out of jail today. Honestly, it's surreal, almost.
Q. Is that how you escaped it, do you think, the experience aspect?
NICK KYRGIOS: Definitely. That's all I was trying to draw on. I was just trying to draw on -- nothing felt new to me out there, to be honest, in that match. I felt like I had seen it all before, I had been through it.
I was looking at him on the big screen, you know, in between points. He was looking around. He was a bit -- I don't think he had been in many positions like that before, and that's what I mean. He'll play a lot more matches like that and he'll overcome them and then that's when he's going to be a dangerous player when he gets some experience under his belt.
Q. I think you said to Jim Courier, you went to some dark places towards the end, I suppose when Humbert had match points. Can you expand a little bit on what you were talking about that there?
NICK KYRGIOS: Well, as you know, the media doesn't hold back on me. You know, I was definitely thinking about -- I felt like there was a lot of expectation on me, not playing for a year and coming back.
You know, I wasn't expecting too much of myself, but of course when I'm match point down second-round exit, I was almost afraid. I was afraid to come into this room, you know, go to my Airbnb and just read about it and take it all in, take all the negativity in that I have already taken. It's not easy to come back and try and put it all behind.
That's what I was thinking about. I was just, like, my back's up against the wall and I just -- I don't know. I don't know how I got out of it. Yeah, it was insane. Yeah, I don't know how I would have reacted to negativity this year, you know. I don't know.
Q. What you were going through, the dark thoughts you were having. The fact you dropped that break to start the fourth, then your willingness to go two meters behind the baseline and be patient, composure, defend, as hard as I've ever seen you play. How impressed are you that you were able to do that and all the emotions flowing and correct yourself and get back in the game?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I never doubt -- I know that many people don't think that I have a heart or, you know, compete as hard as they want me to compete from time to time.
But I have been through a lot, and I didn't just put my hand in a lucky dip and disappear here. I put in a lot of hard work when I was young. I've gone through a lot, and nothing's really been handed to me. I've won all the matches on my own. I don't have a coach. I do everything basically on my own, you know, and I always got myself. I always got my back.
I just -- I don't know. Like, I was in that moment, I was just like, Dude, just keep pushing and maybe something special can happen.
There was a moment in the fourth where I broke back, I was, like, Dude, this could be one of the most memorable matches of your career and you owe it to yourself. Like, I put myself in a position to have moments like this.
Yeah, I always somehow, I keep surprising myself.
Q. Didn't seem too content with your form in that first round despite winning in straight sets. How do you feel you played today? Do you feel like you're getting better with each match at this level?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I probably played a little bit better today, I thought. My body is still adapting. I honestly have no idea how I was so -- I felt fresh in the fifth set. And for not playing in about 13 months, it's pretty crazy that -- I actually felt like I looked the fresher of the two at the end of the match, which is mind boggling for me.
But, yeah, I feel like I played a little bit better today. I definitely had to play better. He's a hell of an opponent. Top 30 in the world, you're not going to be a walkover.
But, yeah, I'm happy with just winning, man. Like at this stage in my career, I feel old. I just want to have a glass of red wine, man, after a match like that. I just, like, I don't know. Like, I don't know.
I'm playing better. Hopefully. I'm going to have to play better again against Thiem, that's for sure, but I'm not thinking about it.
Q. I appreciate you have just come off but we're not going to see you before then. If you could just look at the option of playing Thiem in a couple of days and what you're going to have to do.
NICK KYRGIOS: Well, he's probably one of the most physical guys on tour. He's an extremely good player. He's definitely -- I have actually seen him progress. He's a bit older than I am. I actually saw him in juniors and then I saw him struggle for a couple years, futures, challies, and then to see him get to the top of the game. It's been actually pretty cool to see him develop and finally find what he needs to do to win matches.
He trains like an absolute animal. He's consistent every day. And I actually have a lot of respect for him. I think his style of tennis is not easy to play. He's super physical. But I'm not even thinking about it. Like, I'm just hurting thinking about playing him right now.
You know, I've got a bit of doubles tomorrow with Thanasi. That's all I'm looking forward to. I think that matchup with Stef's gonna be a lot of fun to watch. It's going to be a great atmosphere. I'm happy for him that -- I'm just happy that he gets to experience a match like that again, to be honest. Like, he deserves it. He deserves to go out there with the fans and play some of the best players in the world because he belongs there. And then I've got doubles tomorrow.
Whatever happens against Thiem happens. I'm going to go out there, serve, play with instinct, and if it's enough, it's enough. If it isn't, I'm all right with that.
Q. In the past you have spoken about how you really get yourself up for big matches when you're playing guys like Rafa, Novak, Roger. Just wondering now, Thiem, presumably you see him in that category. In your last matches against Nadal, while they have been really, really good, he's been able to kind of handle the occasion and beat you in four close sets. Are you expecting him to be able to handle you in that sort of occasion with a big Aussie crowd behind him as well?
NICK KYRGIOS: No doubt he's overcome some crowds against him. He's had some great results and he's played some of the best players.
He's one of the best players in the world so he's for sure going to be able to rise to that occasion. He's not going to be scared about it. He's excited. That's what makes him so good. He's one of the players that loves to thrives in big-match situations. I know that. I know that he's capable. You're not going to make Grand Slam finals and win slams if you're going to be scared of a little bit of an Aussie crowd.
So, yeah, I'm expecting him to play his best tennis, and I'm not going to go in there saying, I'm playing my best tennis or I'm feeling the best, but I'm going to go in there saying I've got a good chance.
Q. Last week you spoke about change of perspective in your way. I would like to know if you think that was the key for today's match and if you enjoyed tonight's match.
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah. I definitely enjoy it now. I wasn't enjoying it when he was chopping me up.
I was trying to figure out how to get into his service games. I was just trying to focus on what I needed to do. I wasn't really thinking about perspective or any of that. I was okay with losing tonight, as well. As I walked on the court I knew I was playing a top player, and if he beat me, I was going to be okay with that.
But I wasn't really thinking about perspective during the match. I was just trying to find a way to win. I definitely enjoyed the crowd. The crowd was awesome tonight. That court is so special. I have had so many good memories on it. The crowd was awesome. Half packed and it felt like it was a full stadium. I got goose bumps towards the end. I didn't even know what to say. Yeah, I definitely enjoyed it.
Q. Can you talk us through the net cord drama, please? Is that something that's happened to you before in matches?
NICK KYRGIOS: What would you like me to talk about specifically?
Q. Well, your perspective. I mean, you spoke to the umpire. We saw that. What lessons do you think could be learned from the organizers? Because clearly it was faulty.
NICK KYRGIOS: It's tough, because having technology like that you sound like an idiot trying to argue against it. Insane that, like, even when he was serving, he served a ball that was literally about this far over the net and the net thing went off. I was, like, there's no chance this is accurate, in my opinion. The line calling, look, we can't do anything about that, because that's for COVID reasons. That's fair enough.
But the net machine, if you have a device you can turn down the sensitivity and stuff, I just think there's too many variables. She was like, I turned the sensitivity down, yet it was still beeping when the serves were a good, like, inch above the net.
So I don't know. I don't have a solution. I just think when we're 1-0 in the fifth set 30-All and she's trying to tell me, Oh, I understand it's affecting the match. I'm, like, I don't think you do. There is plenty riding on this match. Like, it's hard to just take that as an answer, like, I understand. I'm, like, You don't understand.
But I don't know what you can do about it. Maybe they need to upgrade their technology. The remote thing looks whack.
Q. Speaking of feeling like a veteran, curious how long you felt like that. Also, you mentioned you didn't want to go and read negative stuff. Do you actually like avoid reading that kind of stuff?
NICK KYRGIOS: Well, I just know that every tennis player deals with negative stuff. I'm not trying to play a victim here, but I don't live under a rock. I know I caught a lot of flack for everything I do. Sometimes I don't read it, but, like, it's not hard to miss when I wake up and go to Instagram and it's just subconsciously there. My mind is taking it all in.
I mean, it's not easy to just put it behind you. I have been dealing with it -- I started dealing with this when I was 17, 18. I was like a child then. Do you know what I mean? I know now I try and block it out. I'm more mature and stuff, but it's still not easy.
Like someone loses, another Aussie loses tonight, say, and they will be, like, Oh, great effort winning a first round. He really put his heart out.
But if I lose tonight, it's an absolute -- it's a disaster. I remember one time I played five sets with Seppi and I lost from two sets to love up, and I got booed off the court. I just feel like it's not so easy.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports