Nick Kyrgios on coming of age: ‘I just go out there and play and have fun. Life is good’

Nick Kyrgios delighted after victory

Nick Kyrgios kicked off his BNP Paribas Open campaign with an impressive win over Sebastian Baez and admitted afterwards that he is now “comfortable in his own skin”.

After missing several months of action over the past two years due to Covid-19 and injury, Kyrgios is settling to life on Tour again and he is enjoying himself.

The Australian rolled past Argentine qualifier Baez, winning 6-4, 6-0 in one hour and 12 minutes.

“I’m just excited to be back at this tournament. It has been a couple years because of the (coronavirus) pandemic and taking time off to get my mind and body right,” he said after missing the 2021 edition that was pushed back to September.

“My body feels as good as it has ever felt. I feel like I’m moving and playing really well. It’s good to be back.”

The 2022 season has been a brilliant one so far for Kyrgios as he won the Australian Open men’s doubles title alongside compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis.

And while their antics were not everyone cup of tea, the duo were happy to do things their own way.

Another reason for Kyrgios’ change in fortune is his girlfriend Costeen Hatzi, who attended Thursday’s post-match press conference.

Asked about his improved mindset, he pointed to Hatzi and replied: “I was really struggling. I wasn’t happy,” he said.

“The tennis world wanted me to be a certain player, and I was trying to be something that I wasn’t for so many years. It put me in a dark place. I was letting people down, I fell out with my family. It was tough.

“One day I looked in the mirror and said that this isn’t the type of person that I’m trying to be. And now I’m a completely different person. I’m comfortable in my own skin, I’m not trying to please anyone. I’m not trying to be anyone else.

“I’m Nick Kyrgios and I just go out there and play and have fun and if I win, I win and if I lose, I lose.

“Life is good.”

Kyrgios will face 32nd seed Federico Delbonis in the second round while the winner of that match is projected to meet eighth seed Casper Ruud from Norway in the third round.