Everything changed for Nick Kyrgios in 2014. The then 19-year-old was thrust onto the world stage after his euphoric quarterfinals run at Wimbledon.
An unheard of young Australian stunned the tennis world when he toppled the world number one Rafael Nadal in the fourth round.
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Life as he knew changed in that moment.
In Netflix’s upcoming series, Break Point, cameras dive into Kyrgios’ turbulent early years and reveal the mental toll he endured.
After defeating Nadal he went from being a rather unknown, to as he put it having “people camp outside my house”.
It was then that expectations of being the next big thing in Australian sport were thrown on his head.
The sheer weight of expectation changed the supremely-talented youngster.
“He just became aggressive, he was just so angry … always angry at something,” Kyrgios mum Norlaila said.
He’s more often than not painted as the bad boy and the villain of the tennis world, but with all the constant vitriol, the mental toll outweighs the expectation.
In an emotional conversation with his partner, Kyrgios admits those early years changed his outlook on the game.
“The first four or five years of my career was just so chaotic,” an emotional Kyrgios says to Hatzi.
“When Horse (manager Daniel Horsfall) was on tour with me, when it was basically just him looking after me, he could just see my wellbeing just declining every week. My life was spiralling out of control – drinking every single night. I was like, ‘I can’t keep doing this. I have to be kinder to myself’.
“For my mental health, I could never be one of those players again that plays all year round. I couldn’t do that. I value my family, my close, close friends and Cossie too much to put tennis in front of that any more. I don’t think that’s healthy.
“I don’t really have expectations now in my matches any more. I just want to go out there, have fun, take the pressure off, and then we can try and live a more normal life. It’s much better like this, that’s for sure.”
Kyrgios’ manager and longtime friend Horsfall reveals the jarring lengths he had to go through to track him down.
“I used to have your location on my phone,” Horsfall says.
“On some mornings, I would physically have to go and find where you were. What hotel you were staying at, whose house you were staying at. Before tournaments … before a match.”
Like any parent, Kyrgios’ mum worries about her son … but it was those years following his cinderella run at Wimbledon that she saw him change and left her worrying even more for the wellbeing of him.
“I worry about him every day, every day. Because he’s gone through some really unhappy times,” she says.
“I just want him to always be happy.”
Nowadays he’s a new man. He’ll still have the outbursts during matches and he’ll continue to be the villain in the eyes of many … but Kyrgios is at peace and it’s because of those he has around him.
“I think being just at peace with your life definitely helps,” Kyrgios said. “I think everything around me right now is amazing. You know, I’m fortunate enough to be in a really healthy relationship that’s loving, she supports me, and we just have fun.
“I just got, as I said, physio, my girlfriend, supportive, my manager is my best friend. I feel we are all on same page, have the same goals, I’m training hard. We are just having fun with it.”
The first five episodes of Break Point will be screened from January 13. Episodes 6-10 will follow in June. Further information available at www.netflix.com/breakpoint.