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January 27, 2020

Nick Kyrgios

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

R. NADAL/N. Kyrgios

6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Wearing another Lakers top. Tell us about Kobe Bryant. Have you ever met him? What did he mean to you?
NICK KYRGIOS: No, I never met Kobe. But basketball is practically my life. I watch it every day. I've been following it for as long as I can remember.

When I woke up to the news, it was pretty emotional. It was pretty heavy, like, all day. Obviously I was having basketball on at my house, watching the games. I was heavy. Yeah, it's just tough.

It's horrible news.

Q. Did it affect you emotionally at all?
NICK KYRGIOS: No. I mean, if anything, it motivated me. If you look at the things he stood for, what he wanted to be remembered by, I felt like, if anything, it helped me tonight. When I was down a break in the fourth, I was definitely thinking about it. I fought back.

Rafa was really good tonight. Played too good. I mean, I had chances. I was a couple of points away from the third set and the fourth set. It happens. I mean, if anything, it helped me today.

Q. How pleased, how proud are you of the way you played the whole tournament?
NICK KYRGIOS: I mean, I'm shattered to have lost tonight. Obviously was one of the matches -- these are the matches that I want to win the most.

But, I mean, overall all this summer has been fun. My focus shifts to mixed now. Yeah, I mean, I just want to go out there and have fun. I'm still in the tournament. I'm not going to take it for granted, another day at the Australian Open.

Q. Kobe had so many great qualities from a love of children to the fierce skill sets he had. What did you love about his game and as a man?
NICK KYRGIOS: I mean, I'm a Celtic fan. When I saw Kobe do what he does, break the hearts of so many Celtics fans, it was tough to see.

I don't think they make them like him any more. He was different, the way he trained, the way he did things, the way he played. He was special.

Just sad. Like, when I think about my life is literally basketball. When I think about it, it's heavy. It's tough.

Q. Pretty cold and windy, pretty slow out there. How tough was that for you playing the game you might want to play against him?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I mean, it was really, really slow, especially when the sun went down. I thought halfway through the second, third and fourth were really, really slow. It was freezing in that arena.

I just couldn't get a ball past him. I was trying to serve and volley, trying to dropshot. Eventually I would have to win the point three times to win a point.

That's just the champion he is, the player he is. He makes you play the extra ball. I thought he played well, considering how slow it was. I mean, he served really well, I thought. Hit his backhand slice really well.

I mean, he played well. He just played the bigger points well, better than I did.

Q. In terms of progress this summer, do you feel like you've made significant progress?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I feel like I've made progress as a human. A tennis player, I don't really care about as much. But yeah, I mean, I feel good. Obviously today was horrendous, like the news. But I want to keep going in this direction, for sure.

Q. On that theme, where are you playing next? Do you think you'll be able to carry forward the kind of games that you've made in the last few weeks?
NICK KYRGIOS: I'm scheduled to play New York, then Delray, and Acapulco. I don't even want to think about that. As I said, I have the fifth seeds in mixed doubles tomorrow, so that's all I'm thinking about right now.

Q. How do you rate your tennis at the moment compared to when you made the quarters back in 2015?
NICK KYRGIOS: I mean, I think I'm playing better tennis than I was. You look at my draw back then to the opponents I played this time around, probably a lot tougher this time around.

But, I mean, looking how far I've come, I guess there were only 15 players better than me in the draw. That was for Zverev, but that was a joke (laughter).

No, I mean, feel like I'm playing good tennis. As I said tonight, I was a couple points away from winning. But that's how it goes sometimes.

Q. Rafa was very complimentary about you courtside, similar when he came in here, saying if you keep that level, you can contend in any tournament. How does that make you feel when he speaks positively about you?
NICK KYRGIOS: I mean, I appreciate it, one. But I already know that. I've known that for the last four years. But the trouble for me is being able to actually just produce the same attitude over and over again.

I mean, hopefully I can keep doing it. I'm just taking it day by day, trying to be positive, just bring positive vibes.

Q. Have you learnt anything about yourself the past couple of weeks?
NICK KYRGIOS: I've been like this for a long time. It's just you guys probably learnt some new things about me. I haven't changed much, to be honest.

Q. How much do you think having that bigger picture with the bushfires, everything going on in Australia, has that given you a greater perspective as a player and as a person to fuel into your game?
NICK KYRGIOS: I always had pretty good perspective. If anything, it did fuel me and made me play harder. They're still going, everything is still going.

Yeah, I mean, the last month for me has been pretty hectic, been pretty emotional. I'm pretty tired. I want to try to continue to help where I can. I mean, yeah.

Q. Same scoreline as the Wimbledon match. How similar or different did it feel out there as a battle?
NICK KYRGIOS: I felt a lot closer this time, especially in the 5-All game in the third set where I was at deuce a couple times. He played some unbelievable points.

I felt like if I got that third set, I would have really, really been on top of him. I was kind of feeling the match turn a little bit. If I break in that game, I thought I was going to raise my intensity, my energy.

I definitely felt a lot closer this time around. The one at Wimbledon, I felt like I wasn't playing as good, I don't think. So slow today, though. Geez...

Q. You had such a massive battle two nights ago. Were you concerned about being able to back it up? You felt fresh coming in today?
NICK KYRGIOS: I felt good. Did the right things yesterday. I felt good today. I actually felt fresh. I was ready to go five if it needed to get there.

I feel good.

Q. Are there any plans to work or keep in touch with Lleyton going forward, to have any sort of contact with any sort of mentor?
NICK KYRGIOS: Well, yeah, he's the Davis Cup coach, so I'm going to have to text him every now and then.

Q. Ash Barty plays tomorrow. If she gets through, do you think she can cope with the expectation placed upon her?
NICK KYRGIOS: 100%. She's a Grand Slam champion. She's been dealing with expectation for as long as I've known. She was killing it in juniors, then she stepped away from the game to sort her life out, her mind out. Then she came back and she's killing it.

I mean, I think she's probably the favorite at this stage to win the slam the way she's playing. I want her to win it. I think it's awesome we have an Aussie doing that well. I mean, she'll do fine. Just don't put too much expectation on her.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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