After US Open loss, Kyrgios admits he lacks dedication

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Australia's 14th-seeded Nick Kyrgios crashes out in the first round of the US Open with a right shoulder injury then beats himself up verbally for lacking dedication.
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AFP

Nick Kyrgios of Australia receives treatment while playing against John Millman of Australia in the US Open first round at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, on August 30, 2017.

A post-loss news conference with Nick Kyrgios often feels more like a therapy session, and Wednesday at the US Open was no exception.

There was a lot to unpack afterward.

The 14th-seeded Kyrgios lamented the injured right shoulder that limited his effectiveness from the third set on during a 3-6, 6-1, 4-6, 1-6 exit against another Australian, 235th-ranked John Millman. Kyrgios called the series of health issues that have hampered him all year "diabolical". He stated that he doesn't care enough about working hard and, therefore, his coach should find someone else to work with.

And he closed by covering his face while saying, "I keep letting people down."

Kyrgios is a supremely talented and temperamental 22-year-old who has reached two Grand Slam quarterfinals and just this month beat 15-time major champion Rafael Nadal en route to the final of the Cincinnati Masters. He is also someone who gets in trouble for his on-court actions, such as lobbing insults at his opponent or being accused of not giving his best effort.

When Kyrgios was asked on Wednesday whether he plans to continue being coached by former French player Sebastien Grosjean, the reply was rather startling — or rather, would have been, coming from any other professional athlete.

"I don't know, honestly. I'm not good enough for him," Kyrgios responded. "You know, he's very dedicated. He's an unbelievable coach. You know, he probably deserves a player that is probably more dedicated to the game than I am. He deserves a better athlete than me."

When a reporter returned to that topic, asking Kyrgios to explain what he meant, he said: "I'm not dedicated to the game at all."

"I mean, you know what I mean: There are players out there that are more dedicated, that want to get better, that strive to get better every day. The 'one-percenters.' I'm not that guy."

Asked whether he envisions ever being "that guy", Kyrgios answered: "I really don't know. Probably not. Honestly not."

Impressive run

He then referenced his impressive run in Cincinnati and described his routine there.

"I was playing basketball ... every day for two hours. Like, I played an hour of basketball before I played (2013 French Open runner-up) David Ferrer in the semifinal," he said. "I was ... getting a milk shake every day. I was less dedicated. And this week I was dedicated — and my shoulder starts hurting."

Against Millman, Kyrgios' shoulder was massaged by a trainer during changeovers in the third set. During that set, Kyrgios also had an argument with chair umpire Carlos Ramos after being warned for using bad language.

Kyrgios pleaded that he hadn't said anything improper, but Ramos said a linesperson had reported him.

"For obvious reasons," Ramos said, "I cannot repeat what he said you said."

As for his body, Kyrgios stopped playing during Wimbledon because of a hip injury — part of a three-match run in which he retired each time.

"I have had a diabolical year at these Slams. It doesn't surprise me. It's just the story of my career, really. I will have good weeks; I'll have bad weeks," he said. "It's just a roller-coaster."

Nothing that really depresses Kyrgios, though, Reuters reports.

"It's not the end of the world. I will get over it in probably half an hour. I will get food and watch the matches. It is what it is," he said.

There is one thing, however, that Kyrgios manages to get seriously involved in: the Davis Cup.

"I have put a lot of effort into Davis Cup this year. I obviously made myself available for every tie," he said.

"You know, really bought in, really gave everything, we are doing so well. It is my goal to win the Davis Cup, so we'll see."

Australia takes on Belgium in Brussels form September 15-17.

"Well, I've got time up my sleeve now," said Kyrgios.


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