Nick Kyrgios lifts lid on ‘crucial time’ for career after Australian Open win

Australian Open: Kokkinakis and Kyrgios speak after win

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Nick Kyrgios has admitted that he is entering a “crucial” period of his career ahead of Indian Wells. The 26-year-old is fresh off the back of his maiden Grand Slam title win alongside Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Australian Open and the pair are reuniting at the BNP Paribas Open.

Kyrgios has played just one tournament since September – the Australian Open.

He ended his 2021 season early with a knee injury and tested positive for Covid at the start of the year, leaving him in a race to recover in time for the season-opening Grand Slam.

He made a triumphant return against Britain’s Liam Broady on his favourite court, the John Cain Arena, before falling to current world No 1 Daniil Medvedev in the second round.

But it was a different story for the Aussie in the doubles, as he partnered compatriot and long-time friend Thanasi Kokkinakis to win the title in Melbourne, beating the world No 1 pair en route to become the first wildcards to win the men’s doubles title in the Open Era.

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Kyrgios has not played since becoming a Grand Slam champion, withdrawing from tournaments in Dallas and Delray Beach, but is back in action in Indian Wells after receiving a wildcard into the singles draw with his ranking down at No 132 in the world.

Before jetting off to the Californian desert, the Australian Open men’s doubles champion gave an interview to his home country’s Channel Nine Today Show and admitted he had a big few months ahead.

“The novelty of it I guess had kind of worn off,” he said of his triumph with Kokkinakis.

“I tried to get into a bit of normality straightaway, I took the first flight out of Melbourne and started working out again, getting into a routine.”

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The six-time singles title winner said after his Australian Open win that he would likely be skipping the clay-court season this year, but has already been confirmed for grass events including the Mallorca Championships.

With Indian Wells, likely the Miami Open and the grass-court swing now in his sights, Kyrgios admitted it was an important time for his playing career.

“I’ve got a big couple of months on the road coming up and very crucial for my career as well,” he added.

The former world No 13 also elaborated more on becoming a Grand Slam champion, saying: “It’s something you’re working for your whole career. I definitely wanted a singles one first but I’m not going to complain and doing it with Thanasi was an amazing, amazing accomplishment.

“I’ve been my biggest believer my whole career. I’ve dealt with a lot of negativity, a lot of criticism but I’ve got a great team around me now, my beautiful girlfriend.”

In his first match in Indian Wells, Kyrgios faces Sebastian Baez, the young Argentine who has climbed to a career-high world No 60 after reaching his first final in Santiago last month.

He hasn’t played the BNP Paribas Open since 2019, when he was the 31st seed and received a bye to the second round before falling to Philipp Kohlschreiber.

He and Kokkinakis have also received a wildcard into the men’s doubles draw, where they take on Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo in the first round.

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