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Nick Kyrgios was champion again, three years later: “I’ve been in dark places and many helped me out”

Always controversial. He gets along pretty bad with umpires. He yells on the pitch. Gesture. He complains at press conferences about the treatment he receives from the media, especially when they criticize him for taking out from below. “They don’t do the same when other players do that.” Sometimes, with ridiculous situations, like in the last Wimbledon, when he began to eat a sushi meal in the middle of contact with the media after a game and almost without looking up. Australian Nick Kyrgios is a very particular character on the ATP Tour and he is not going to change at 27 years old.

Kyrgios and his girlfriend, Costen, in the press room

Just over a month ago he experienced a spectacular Grand Slam: She was a Wimbledon finalist. A special contest, which did not award points this time (due to the decision of the ATP Tour to ban Russian and Belarusian tennis players due to the invasion of Ukraine), but which will never lose the glory that triumphing in the All England implies. The victory was not his: it was in the hands of the Serbian Novak Djokovic (his 21st Grand Slam title), with whom he had a public confrontation for years. But they ended the jokes on the central court of the Cathedral after the decisive match, remembering the previous messages on social networks and even agreeing to have a meal together. Both spoke with humor of the new “Bromance” from the world of tennis.

Kyrgios took his well-deserved vacation in the Bahamas with his current partner, the beautiful influencer Costteen Hatzi, 21, from Brisbane. Considered as the “Victoria Beckham of tennis”, due to her permanent presentations of clothing brands, she is a graduate in psychology and likes to show off on social networks. She is not exactly a low profile character. But few around her would dare to say that she harms an irascible character like Kyrgios: on the contrary, they affirm that in Costen she finds support, ears that understand her needs in times of loneliness and questions. That his head changed after his traumatic and delicate relationship with the Italian Chiara Passari, who accused him of aggression. Another seems to be the life he lives with Costteen: they enjoy going out for a walk together during tournaments, going shopping at department stores, sharing romantic meals. Together they enjoyed that moment of relaxation by the sea in Nassau, a dream place. To recharge energies.

Kyrgios asks a spectator for advice: a repeated recipe in Washington
Kyrgios asks a spectator for advice: a repeated recipe in WashingtonCarolyn Kaster – AP

And he came back refreshed. It had been three years since he won an ATP title. Too long for a talent like him. Curiously, it had been at the Citi Open, in Washington, an ATP 500 on hard courts, which serves as preparation for the US Open, the last Grand Slam of the season. And what a coincidence, that time Kyrgios starred in a peculiar moment that he repeated this time: consulting an amateur about where to execute his service at the next point. That time in a match against the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas; now, in front of Marcos Girón. As a kind of momentary coach.

Kabbalah or not, Kyrgios was champion in Washington again. It was title number 7 for him, all on cement. And he did it without giving up serve all week, which clearly speaks of his level. He served 64 times in his six matches and all the games were his. In the final, “the eccentric”, as some on the circuit call him, with a total of 12 aces, defeated the Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka (96th in the world) by 6-4 and 6-3, in 1h21m. A triumph that will allow him to climb more than 20 positions in the world ranking, to get into the top 40 from this Monday. It will be the 37th, to be precise. Still far from the 13th place that he came to occupy at the end of 2016. But also far from the 95th with which he closed the season in 2021. The stage of the dark, according to his own consideration.

Kyrgios recharged: he didn't lose serve all week in Washington
Kyrgios recharged: he didn’t lose serve all week in Washington

During the match, Kyrgios gave away some of his magic. As on the occasion of his previous victory over the French local Tiafoe. A wonder that he continued to talk about every day at the club. Now, Kyrgios has beaten Nishioka again: it is the fourth time in as many clashes. He joked with him at the awards ceremony and the Japanese celebrated the joke with a laugh: “I hope you don’t retire after this.”

A crazy point against Tiafoe

Until he had to look inside and, always without a filter, sincere, Kyrgios told the public: “I have been in dark places, many people have helped me out. I am showing a strength that gives me the chance to win tournaments like this”, he pointed. “I want to thank the chair umpires, who I always have problems with, but we’ve gotten along well this week,” she added with a smile.

“It’s just very emotional for me. To see where I was from last year to now is just an incredible transformation. I left with a lot of energy. I knew I had experience on my side today. I love this court, I’ve played a lot of good matches here, so I’m very happy with myself”, continued Kyrgios.

“Like I said, I’ve been to some very dark places. Just being able to flip it… There are many people who have helped me get there, but I myself have shown great strength to continue and persevere and overcome all those moments and be able to continue performing and win tournaments like this one”.

Champion kiss: Kyrgios and Costen
Champion kiss: Kyrgios and Costen

On his way to the title, Kyrgios shrugged off world number 53 American Marcos Giron and 14th seed Tommy Paul. He then beat fourth-seeded Riley Opelka and tenth-seeded Frances Tiafoe on the same day before defeating Mikael Ymer in the semi-final.

Including his runner-up finish at Wimbledon, Kyrgios has reached at least the semi-finals in five of his last six tournaments.

And after winning his second doubles title with compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis last week in Atlanta, Kyrgios repeated in Washington together with the American Jack Sock: they beat Croatian Ivan Dodig and American Austin Krajicek in the final 7-5, 6-4.

A paradisiacal place after the runner-up at Wimbledon for Nick and Costleen
A paradisiacal place after the runner-up at Wimbledon for Nick and Costleen

Kyrgios’ doubles win also follows his Australian Open triumph with compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis in January. This week, Kyrgios is scheduled to play at the Masters 1000 in Montreal (he will debut against Argentina’s Sebastian Báez), before the start of the US Open on August 29.

Kyrgios’ victory point

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