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January 12, 2019

Nick Kyrgios

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can I get your thoughts on your first-round opponent, please?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, obviously Milos is a tough player. We've played each other a couple times at Grand Slams. We've played each other at Masters events, tour events. We both know each other's games fairly well. We know what's coming.

I know what can happen, he knows what I'm going to do. It's going to be incredibly tough. I'm very excited just to be out here in the Aussie summer in front of the home crowd, to play a tough opponent. I can see it as a good thing. I have to be locked in from the get-go.

I'm excited. Again, like, it's going to be a tough match. He's playing well, so... I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Andy Murray, sad to see him leave the game at this stage.
NICK KYRGIOS: Obviously pretty sad news. He was one of my closest friends on tour. I think everyone kind of said their piece yesterday. I knew I was always going to do something. He was one of my best friends. We did stuff like ride on rollercoasters together, all that sort of stuff.

Sad day for the sport. He's a legend. Someone that everyone could relate to, especially myself. Yeah, I don't want to go into it because everyone kind of knows how sad it is. Don't need to go on about it.

I think obviously it's a sad time. I think he could do very well here. I don't want to keep bringing it up that his time is nearly up. He could do very well here. Fingers crossed his health holds up for a little bit more, as well. I want to stay positive for him, not focus on the negatives.

He's back. He's playing. I don't think results matter. Just as long as he's still around, that's what's important.

Q. Why could you relate to him? You said you were able to.
NICK KYRGIOS: He's a normal person. When I hung out with him, he was funny. Didn't take himself too seriously. Every time I hung around him, I felt comfortable around him all the time. He kind of felt like he was, like, 20. He was a little bit immature at times. He was so friendly, humble, down-to-earth. Just a normal guy.

I just felt like he wasn't -- he's a legend of the sport, but I never saw it like that.

Q. How is your health?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I'm feeling good. Obviously had a spider bite around Christmastime. That's all fine now. My tournament in Brisbane didn't go as well as I planned. But just to get some matches there, obviously playing Sydney and Kooyong, I feel good.

Yeah, I feel ready.

Q. There's a vote coming up on whether to keep Chris Kermode as the president of the ATP. Vasek put out a letter calling for change, saying we need a CEO that represents our interests. What are your thoughts?
NICK KYRGIOS: I personally like Chris. I think the changes that tennis is having with ATP Cup and stuff, I think it's going in the right direction. He's trying to do the right thing.

I really like him, so...

Q. You spoke about how difficult it was last year to have a lot of time away on the road. Has it been mentally refreshing to have a couple months at home?
NICK KYRGIOS: For sure. I was almost on the road for nearly almost six months. That was tough for me. The off-season, being in Canberra at home was unbelievable, to spend time with family. I hadn't seen my sister in a while, she was back home. Just spending time with family, friends, take time away from the sport I think mentally recharged me a lot.

The off-season went really quickly. But the Aussie summer is the best time of the year I think for all Australians. It's the most exciting. They love playing in front of the home crowd. Being home was awesome.

Q. You've had to improve the mental side of your game, the focus. Mark Philippoussis suggested you might have a fear of showing that you're trying on court. Do you see any element of truth in that?
NICK KYRGIOS: Not really. I mean, I don't know what to say. Cheers, Mark.

Q. What do you need to get right to beat Milos?
NICK KYRGIOS: Obviously I got to take care of my service games. He's got one of the best serves in the world. He's proven that year after year. He's serving his first shots incredibly good. He's incredibly disciplined, never really gives up easy points, always tries his hardest every point.

I know I have to take care of my service games. I may not even get a look on his serve. I know I have to compete for every point on his service games, try to make him as uncomfortable as possible. It's a match where we're both going to try to keep it on each other's racquets.

It's tough. Unbelievable player. I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Q. Where do you think you could be ranking-wise at the end of the season after the fourth Grand Slam?
NICK KYRGIOS: Well, there's a lot of things that have to go right. Obviously health is a big one. Playing events, I've never really been the type of person to play a lot of events. Always probably been one of the people who plays the least events out of the top 100.

If I get right physically and mentally, I play the events, do well, I think I was 13 the year where I played I think 18 events, I was 13. I didn't even play any of the European swing. Realistically I could be top 10. That's a fact.

I haven't been there yet. Right now I'm not even thinking about that. I want to just enjoy my time in Australia, the Aussie summer. I want to play good tennis and be happy. That's the main thing.

Q. Can you talk in general about your relationship with umpires. Do you think it's kind of an odd job for people to pursue?
NICK KYRGIOS: I love them. Go to dinner with them all the time.

I mean, their job is tough. I mean, they're just doing the best they can. I understand that sometimes I do go a bit too far in frustration. When I'm competing out there, you do kind of lose touch with reality. They're just normal people trying to do their best. They do make mistakes.

When I see them off the court, I kind of laugh when I walk past them. They know on court things happen. But, I mean, off the court, it's a strange occupation to do. I wouldn't personally do it because I wouldn't want, like, a guy like myself just hounding me for two and a half hours. Someone's got to do it, I guess.

Q. You were talking about the number of events that you play. A couple years ago you and Alexander Zverev played a number of matches, most of which you won. Your careers have gone in slightly different directions since then. You've had injuries. Does that wind you up a bit at all? Does that make you want to actually think I can beat this player?
NICK KYRGIOS: It doesn't wind me up at all. Again, when someone has success my age or younger than me, I am not at all the type to be like jealous or anything like that. For me, I know what I'm capable of. I've beaten the big four.

Zverev has had an unbelievable career. He's only going to get better. I think he has a lot to improve on. When I watch him play, I see so many things he can improve on. It's scary how good he is already.

I mean, of course. We all want to have success. But I know I have to just take care of every day. I was battling other things than on court. I need to get myself right, not worry about what anyone else is doing.

He's only going to get better. That's the scary thing. He's young. Hopefully his body stays right. Doesn't wind me up at all.

Q. You mentioned being physically and mentally ready is going to be crucial. Have you been doing anything different trying to be able to handle the rigors of the tour, the travel, being homesick?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, for sure. I've been seeking help. I really don't want to touch too much on it. Pretty personal stuff that happened last year. I was in some really bad places.

Right now I feel like I'm in a good spot mentally. 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.

Realistically one day it's going to end for me, this sport. We saw Andy Murray, legend of the game, he's not going to play any more. I take those things for granted how much I'm going to play Grand Slams. Like, I'm just going to enjoy the moment. I'm not going to worry about anything. If I win I win, if I lose I lose. Literally, I want to be waking up, be excited to go on court. Last year I was not in that mind frame.

Q. You say you're in a good place now. Do you have an idea of how you can sustain that?
NICK KYRGIOS: I feel like you think I'm really wise. I'm only 23. I don't have all the answers. I'm trying hard to every day enjoy myself, try and just do the right things. I'm trying to be better every day literally. I'm not, like, 40. I don't have all the answers (smiling).

Q. Did you think Bernie's serve on match point at Kooyong was funny?
NICK KYRGIOS: I didn't know what was going on. I was looking down. I looked up. It was Bernard being Bernard, having a bit of fun. Good to see him back on the court. He obviously took some time away. Going through some struggles. To see him back was special.

Always been a good mate of mine. The serve was outrageous. I let him have it because I knew he would like it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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