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February 12, 2021

Nick Kyrgios

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

D. THIEM/N. Kyrgios

4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Bad luck, but you must be very proud of the way you competed and played tonight.

NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, definitely. Again, it was an amazing atmosphere. I thought I was able -- obviously with the announcement today about lockdown, I -- (audio difficulties). The energy out there was special.

But, I mean, I'm still proud of myself. You know, I took 13 months away from the game, and to produce that level and go toe to toe with one of the best players in the world, I'm pretty proud. I left it all out there. I actually physically felt pretty good. I'm sore now.

He's a hell of a player. He's so disciplined. He's so composed. His level doesn't drop. It is what it is.

Couple points in it. I'm not disappointed at all. I'm super proud of everything I've done the last couple of months to get ready for it. And, you know, good luck to him. I hope he does well, because he's a hell of a player.

Q. Those final three sets didn't seem to be that much about you dropping your level too much. Was that him just going to another level?


Q. Can you talk us through how it felt, his level?

NICK KYRGIOS: I mean, yeah, if I take one of those breakpoints in the third set early I think the match is over in an hour and 45 minutes. I could definitely feel he was going away towards the end of the second.

He was a bit rattled, and I played a heck of a first game in the third set. I just missed a couple of balls by really nothing, you know.

Maybe if I played more last year, maybe if I trained more, I make those balls, I'm not too sure. But in that moment I didn't make it, and then he just steadied the ship a little bit. He broke me early in the third.

I felt like my serving kind of went away a little bit. I think that's a body thing. I just don't feel as if -- the load isn't there yet quite to be serving that many -- like over three days, I played 10 sets of tennis, almost seven hours of tennis. So it's pretty remarkable that my body is actually the way it is at the moment. I'm super proud of it.

But, yeah, he played well. I mean, he's the third-best player in the world for a reason, and I'm right there and I believe in myself. I knew that today I had an absolute fighting chance. I walked in that match expecting to win. That's how I always go into a match. But he steadied the ship well and that's why he's great.

Q. Any idea how much you'll play the rest of the year?

NICK KYRGIOS: I don't know, man. I can change like the wind. I'm not too sure, depending on what happens with COVID in Australia, you know. I'm assuming we will probably settle it pretty quickly. But I don't know how I'll have to quarantine overseas in tournaments.

For me personally, man, I'm used to playing in front of packed stadiums. I'm not gonna force myself around the world when the time is not right where I have to quarantine for a week and then play. I don't know. I'm not too sure what lies head.

Now I'm focusing on doubles tomorrow. I'm going to have some fun with Thanasi. Unfortunately, there's obviously going to be no crowd, but I'm not thinking that far ahead.

Q. You had a lot of fan support in the stadium tonight. Does that help you when you think of the next five days, if an Aussie plays is he going to suffer from not having that same kind of support?

NICK KYRGIOS: I think Thiem actually, you know, drew some energy from everyone kind of against him almost. He's played on the biggest stages in the world, so I don't think he was rattled at all. One thing I noticed about him maybe two sets to love down, he was always positive, he didn't show any negative emotion. He knew there was a long way to go in that match. Yeah, the sport is not the same without the crowd, you know.

For me, these matches felt full because, I mean, like the stadium was awesome, energy was awesome. You look at Djokovic's match now and there's barely no crowd.

I don't know how other players feel about it, but that's just the way it is. We can't complain. We're blessed to just be playing at the moment.

Q. Now that you have come back and had that experience tonight and the last match, having spent so long away from the game, did you sort of forget what it felt like to be out there, like, in that arena against the best in the world, testing yourself against the best in the world? Does that make you want to go out and maybe do seven days of quarantine to play in another stadium like that? Will that spur you on, the experience over the last 48 hours?

NICK KYRGIOS: I don't know. I mean, I've played a lot of big matches on a lot of big stages, and a match like that, I honestly felt like I was sitting in this chair last year a week ago. It doesn't feel like I've been away for a year. As I said, I haven't missed the sport at all. I don't miss much about it.

Like, obviously atmospheres like that are special and not many people get to play like that. I embrace it every time I'm out there. Like, I'm down a break in the fifth set and the crowd's going nuts, I'm smiling, I'm enjoying it. I'm to the point of my career where if I lose, man, I'll just cup it on the chin. I don't complain.

He played too good. I'll be positive, I'll move on to tomorrow, and then there's more blessings in front of me. It's just a tennis match.

Again, I'm not going to force myself to go to these places and quarantine for a week and then play with no crowd. That's just not me. I just don't think it's right. I'm not gonna force myself to play.

Q. You're obviously not long separated from the match finishing, have you had a chance at all, can you take a chance now to look back at this week and what you've achieved? You talked about only a couple nights ago it was a memorable victory against Humbert. What have you learned about yourself this week?

NICK KYRGIOS: That I have a big heart. I'm pretty proud of myself just to have -- was going through a lot during the year, and I was pretty proud the way I prepared. I was really, really, really happy with the way I played.

I mean, my perspective -- look, I lost that match. As soon as I lost, I wasn't upset. I was smiling, I was happy for him. He's put in a lot of work, the body of work, the foundation he's put in. He's rewarded for it. I'm happy for it.

I'm not a jealous or envious person. So I lose, I'll live on tomorrow. That's just how I look at it. I don't look at this week as an achievement or anything. I had a lot of good memories. It is what it is.

Q. A few nights ago you were saying I'll go look at all the negative press about me, et cetera, et cetera. Feels like tonight is different. You don't have those same thoughts?

NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I feel as if I was definitely a heavy underdog in tonight's match. I feel like the setup was a little different. Even though Humbert was seeded, I still felt as if there was a lot of -- you know, I have a feeling the bookies probably had me as a favorite.

But tonight I was massive underdog. You're talking about a guy who won the US Open, played all year during COVID, probably in the best shape of his life, and I just took 13 months off.

I left it all out there. I put myself in a position to win. That wasn't the case against Humbert. My back was against the wall the entire time. I was up two sets to love tonight, and he came back and he won. I'm not upset. I've lost from two sets to love before. I've been here before, and it's all right.

Q. You spoke about how proud you are of the performance you had tonight. What questions did you have about yourself before this match and going up against a guy of his caliber? And how did you answer them for yourself?

NICK KYRGIOS: Well, first of all, he's only human. So I knew that if I went out there and played my game and executed, it was always going to be tough. It's tough for anyone.

But I knew it was going to be a big ask for me to put away three sets against a player like him. He's a heck of a player, he's very composed, he's so disciplined.

I prepared the way I prepared for any match, Grand Slam or not. I woke up, had a coffee, had some food and just relaxed. I try and keep low key as much as I can. I try not to look at too much social media or anything like that. I just go about my day, and I just go out there and play on instinct. I don't have a coach. I back myself, and I tried to bring the best I could with what I have at the moment.

You know, I'm not probably in the best physical shape I have been in. I'm probably not playing the best tennis I'm playing. But I tried to bring what I had and it wasn't enough. I fell short. I'm all right with that.

Q. You said in your last match that some dark thoughts came in your mind while you're on court. Were you able to keep those out of your mind today?

NICK KYRGIOS: Definitely. I'm probably going to obviously two sets to love, blowing it or whatever, but I know that I absolutely left it all out there. I'm not taking any shame in losing to five sets to the Australian Open finalist and the US Open champion.

No, I know I've got a great support team around me. My best friend is there after I lose a match saying, Good job. My girlfriend flew in to watch me play. I'm extremely lucky.

You know, I'm not upset at all. I'm actually not disappointed that I lost. I'm not upset. I'm gonna come with my head held high tomorrow, play some doubles, see what else, see what tennis I'll play this year. If I can continue to perform like that, I'm sure that the results will follow.

Q. On the schedule, obviously all the restrictions around the world, a bit uncertain next few months and then the clay after that. Do you think it might make sense for you to sort of target the summer like the grass leading into Wimbledon as a potential comeback after this?

NICK KYRGIOS: I don't even know -- I don't even know what tournaments there are after this, like, I have paid no attention to what I'm playing afterwards, really.

I'll look at it when it comes around. I'm not gonna even think about anything at the moment, like, especially just coming off the court, the last thing I'm gonna do is think about where I'm gonna play next.

You know, I'm gonna enjoy the next week just living, you know, just enjoying time. We're in lockdown after tonight, so I'm not thinking about it.

As I said, I don't particularly care, either. When I play, I'll play. When I'm ready to play, I'll play.

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