Nick Kyrgios on his mental health struggles and tour ‘b*******’ after Naomi Osaka comments

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Nick Kyrgios has opened up about his own mental health struggles after recent comments from Naomi Osaka. The Australian said he felt “outcast” when he spoke about his own mental illness before the Japanese star did the same. Now 26 years old, he believed the tennis world failed to accept different personalities when he first came onto the scene.

Now ranked 77 in the world, Kyrgios touched on the “hate” he received for having a personality that differed from the likes of Roger Federer.

“Look, deep down I know that I’m great for the sport. Like, you need personalities like that,” he said.

“I feel like maybe at the start of someone’s career it comes down to – like, I feel like I’m just resilient.

“If someone is not as resilient as me mentally, the amount of hate I got, the amount of racism I got, the amount of bullshit that I got from the tour, from fans, from everything.”

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Recently, four-time Grand Slam champion and world number two Naomi Osaka has been open about her struggles with mental health.

The 23-year-old received overwhelming support after the Grand Slams threatened her with sanctions, including suspension, when she said she would not be doing press at the French Open.

She later pulled out of the tournament and withdrew from Wimbledon, but has opened up the conversation surrounding mental health in sports.

More recently, Simone Biles withdrew from multiple Olympic events citing a lack of connection between her mind and body.

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While mental health struggles have become more recognised in the sporting world, Kyrgios feels he didn’t receive the same treatment when he spoke out.

He said: “I did fall into places like Naomi Osaka are now speaking about mental illness where I was going through, in my personal opinion, 20 times as bad.

“All they receive is good press. They don’t really receive hateful messages. They don’t really receive ridiculously historic fines for hitting balls out of the stadium or getting a code violation.

“I was dealing with, like, not even close to the amount of stuff that was going on.”

The often-controversial Aussie said he should have been treated like his own person, rather than any other player with a different personality.

Speaking ahead of the tournament in Washington, where he is defending champion, he said he was driven to a dark place early in his career while being blasted in the Australian media.

“That’s what I think. Instead of out-casting and almost crucifying a personality, you say, Okay, this guy is different, let’s act a certain way, let’s not treat him like a Roger Federer or like a Marin Cilic. He’s his own person,” the six-time title winner said.

“I’m just saying this sport could have driven me into a place of dark, which it did for a bit, how mentally tough it was for [me at] 18, being one of the most well-known players in Australia, getting absolutely hammered with the media. It’s not so easy.

“Now I’m 26, I’m old enough. I know it’s all bullshit. I feel like tennis really struggled embracing personalities earlier on in my career.”

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