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January 18, 2020
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Couple days out, how is everything going for you?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, feeling good last couple days. I've hit with my good friend Thompson. I mean, having a good time.
Obviously the last couple weeks have been pretty emotional. But it's good to be back at the Australian Open, another one. Feels like I've been playing here since I was about 12. I'm not going to take it for granted. I'm really enjoying myself.
Yeah, it's been a lot of fun.
Q. What do you make of your first-round opponent?
NICK KYRGIOS: Sonego is a tough competitor. I played him in Cincinnati last year. It was a tough match. Very capable player. Big serve. Loves to hit his forehand.
I'm not thinking about it too much at the moment. I got a couple more days to prepare, enjoy the vibes around the whole Oz Open. I'm just taking it day by day.
Q. Do you feel a bit different within yourself? You said you played a few years. Do you feel different this time?
NICK KYRGIOS: Not really. I guess I feel home at here. I lived here for two years. I played juniors here from a young age. I'm very familiar with the surroundings.
I just feel very at home. I feel very comfortable. I'm just excited.
Q. Has it been difficult to switch off? You talk about the emotions of the last few weeks. To switch on to full-on tennis now?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I mean, I guess my mind is still not completely on the tennis side of things. Obviously with what's going on, still it's tough. I mean, I'm preparing as best I can. I feel like I'm doing everything I can to get the best out of my performance at the moment.
With the ATP Cup, it was a great start to the year, being with all the boys. I feel like the crowd really got behind us with everything. Yeah, it's been a good, fun couple of weeks. I'm excited to get going here, too.
Q. Do you feel like the Australian crowd is really warming to you even more?
NICK KYRGIOS: Maybe a little. Every time I play here, I'm well-supported. All my practices are pretty full. I think people are excited to see me.
I guess with everything going on, the other stuff outside tennis, maybe that's more what they support rather than my tennis itself.
Everything I'm doing is just because I care, so...
Q. Obviously you'll be on a big court. Are you concerned about the air quality here, how that might affect health of the players?
NICK KYRGIOS: I mean, I guess there's sort of like a layout that they explained to us at the ATP meeting. Everything over 200, they're going to call it off.
I guess it's not up to the players, up to anyone else. If the air quality gets to that point, we can't do much. Got to call it off. Until then, we kind of have to play. Can't really do much.
Q. John McEnroe said in the media he'd love to mentor you, he'd be happy to. What would your thoughts about that be?
NICK KYRGIOS: I think me and Mack, we'll just stick to having some beers together. That's about it (smiling).
Q. A couple of other Australians, Max Purcell, Chris O'Connell. What are you experiences with them? Do you know them well?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I mean, I grew up playing with Ocs. He was a year older than me. We played team events when we were about 10 years old. He's always been a great player. I'm not surprised we're seeing him do well really anywhere. He's got a great game. He's a great athlete.
I wouldn't be surprised if he makes some noise here either.
And Purcell is a young guy who had nothing to lose in quallies. He's made the most of his opportunity. We have a big crop of guys coming through -- not coming through but in main draw, which is exciting. These guys are all capable to play. They're all different personalities, as well, which I think is a lot of fun for Australian tennis.
Q. What did you make of Zverev's comments, or did you hear them?
NICK KYRGIOS: I'm not going to entertain that too much. With everything going on, that's the least of my worries. He's a great player. I'm not quite sure where those comments come from. I'm sure he didn't mean them in a bad way. But if he did, then I'm sorry for whatever I've done to you.
I mean, I'm not going to entertain that too much.
Q. You mentioned everything that's going on outside of tennis. For you personally, with the bushfires, air quality included, how is that affecting you?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, it's tough. The fires, yeah, I mean, if you get down to it, people are losing their families, homes. It's not easy to just completely switch your concentration on the Australian Open - How is your forehand going today? - when you put it in perspective of what is actually going on.
It's not just that. The earthquakes in Puerto Rico. Just things happening at the moment, they're much larger than all of this. At the same time I have to find the balance. I have to go out there and try to get the best out of my game.
But I think when I'm playing, at the moment I'm playing for a lot more than myself. I feel like I'm getting the best out of myself with that. I think a lot of tennis players right now are understanding that. What's happening right now, it's quite sad, so...
Q. Do you feel different this year than you have in the past?
NICK KYRGIOS: I don't know. 2019 was a tough year for me. So many ups and downs. Mentally went through the wars. I feel good. I feel like I'm just trying to spread a lot of positive vibes around. That's all I'm trying to do.
Q. You said you were playing for something that's bigger than yourself. Can you elaborate on that? What do you mean?
NICK KYRGIOS: Really? Can't figure it out? The last couple weeks, can't figure it out?
Q. I can, but...
NICK KYRGIOS: I'm not going to keep going into it. It's an emotional subject.
Q. Obviously a different lead-in with the ATP Cup. How do you reckon it prepares you for the Oz Open?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, for Australians it was perfect. To be able to come in our backyard and play in front of a home crowd, probably the best preparation I think for us. I mean, with the Davis Cup it made it a bit tough, because the off-season was a little shorter.
ATP Cup, I really enjoyed it. I think a lot of players did. For the first time they've had it, I think it was a success. I really thought it was awesome. I think a lot of my teammates loved it, as well.
Just any time you get the chance to play in front of your home crowd, feel the energy like that, it's pretty special.
Q. Have you got any plans to keep the work going, how to sort of keep the good work going?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I mean, I'm going to continue to help as much as I can. But to be honest, I don't really care about the reputation, the media coverage. I just do it because I genuinely want to help.
I feel like people that are choosing to help. If they have the platform to, I feel like there's no option. I think you should just do whatever you can to help.
I don't really care about the praise or anything like that. That's not why I'm doing it.
Q. Had you been aware of the platform you actually got before it came to this crisis?
NICK KYRGIOS: Sorry, what was that?
Q. The platform that you're using right now, were you aware that you did have the platform before, that you could have used it before?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I mean, I know my media platform is quite large. But, I mean, I knew that the Australian summer was going to magnify it even more, yeah.
Q. Are you also aware of how well-received it's been?
NICK KYRGIOS: I mean, how can you badly receive it?
Q. I didn't think it was going to be bad. It's been overwhelming, the positive reactions. How are you with that?
NICK KYRGIOS: Again, I don't really care about the praise or anything. Yeah, I mean, overnight the amount of attention it got, to everyone worldwide helping, it was crazy. I was just happy to see that a lot of people care, so...
Q. Alex, have you heard from him? Will you expect to over the tournament?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I actually had a bit of breakfast with him this morning. Caught up before he had to take off.
It's sad. He's a good kid. He's one of the best players in the world at the moment. We all saw what he can do against Rafa in the ATP Cup. It was an unbelievable match.
I'm just heartbroken for him. I know how much work he puts in. He's probably been thinking about the Oz Open for the last couple months.
For him to have an injury that's quite serious, it's not going to be easy for him to watch the tournament, watch us, other Aussies, potentially do well.
He's our best player at the moment. He's set such a good example for us. He's a great role model. He's probably things that I wasn't when I was No. 1. He works really hard. He does the right things. For him to get injured, miss this tournament, it's tough to see.
Q. Have you looked ahead at your draw?
NICK KYRGIOS: I'm not looking forward at all. Everyone can play. All these guys can produce tennis on the day. I'm not even going to think about throughout the draw right now.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports