A ‘devastated’ Nick Kyrgios has delivered one of the most emotional press conferences of his career in the wake of his gutting defeat to Karen Khachanov at the US Open.
Kyrgios refused to blame a knee niggle in the first set for his loss, saying he ‘felt great physically’ by the later stages of the five-set battle with the composed Russian.
But the Australian, fresh off the back of a Wimbledon final, said: “I honestly feel like shit. I feel like I’ve let so many people down,” adding he was “mentally devastated” by the defeat.
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Kyrgios said: “Just came out flat, physically didn’t feeling great. Then I ended up feeling great towards the end of the match.
“I’m obviously devastated. But all credit to Karen. He’s a fighter, he’s a warrior. I thought he served really good today. Honestly probably the best server I’ve played this tournament, to be honest, the way he was hitting his spots under pressure. He just played the big points well. There wasn’t really anything in it.
“I’m just devastated, obviously. I just feel like it was either winning it all, or nothing at all to be honest. I feel like I’ve just failed at this event right now. That’s what it feels like.”
Having never enjoyed the weekly grind of life on the ATP Tour, Kyrgios’ all-or-nothing approach to success at the majors has never been clearer.
Asked if he would play another tournament this season, Kyrgios emphatically answered: “Honestly I don’t even really care about any other tournament. Like, I feel like at the Grand Slams, now having success at a Grand Slam it’s just like no other tournament really matters. It’s like you get better, you get worse, and at a Grand Slam none of it matters. You either win or lose.
“People don’t care if you got better on the day, or you lost (in) four (or) in the fifth, or you played one of the best matches of the tournament – you lost.
“That’s all people remember at a Grand Slam, whether you win or you lose.
“I think pretty much every other tournament during the year is a waste of time. You just front up, show up at a Grand Slam. It’s what you’re remembered by.”
Asked if defeats hurt more now that he knows he is capable of going deep in big tournaments, Kyrgios’ response was pained.
“Yeah, I mean. Yeah, they do. I honestly feel like shit. I feel like I’ve let so many people down. I just feel like I play in Tokyo and stuff. But these four tournaments are the only ones that are ever gonna matter. And it’s just like you’ve gotta start it all again, and I have to wait to the Australian Open.
“It’s just devastating. It’s heartbreaking. Not just for me but for everyone I know who wants me to win.”
Kyrgios appeared in serious discomfort early in the match, struggling with movement and energy as he lost the first set. But he steadfastly refused to blame the defeat on the injury.
“Just (the) knee is sore,” he said. “Obviously I’ve been playing a lot of tennis the last couple of months.
“Just came out, the core was a little bit – I just split-stepped and just tweaked it a little bit.
“It ended up feeling fine, got some deep heat on it. Everyone is probably carrying a bit of a niggle right now. Nothing major. I didn’t end up feeling it towards the third, fourth, and fifth (sets). I felt great physically. At the end of the match I honestly felt fine. Just mentally distraught.”
In a short press conference, a visibly upset Kyrgios was in no mood to discuss a crowd that was repeatedly warned by the umpire for their excessive interruptions.
Asked if anything should be done to better control crowds, Kyrgios soon shut the reporter down: “I don’t care about that right now. I just don’t care.”