By Giri Nathan
The last time we saw Nick Kyrgios he was, appropriately, going out in a five-set blaze. Dominic Thiem muscled his way back from a two-set deficit, and the Australian was ejected from his home slam, after stretches of immaculate play and at least one distressingly maculate tweener attempt. No one could deny that it fulfilled the NK promise of pure entertainment. So when’s the next episode? “I take it day by day,” he told me in January. “I just want to go out there and play. If I want to play, I’ll play. If I don’t want to play, I won’t play. And my mental health and everything else—if I’m if I’m happy, then everything else will follow. I’ll start playing good tennis. I’m to the point in my career where I’m not going to just play to keep ranking points, I don’t really care about that at all. If I can just play and stay happy, that’s it.”
He’s ruled out the rest of the clay season, and while his camp tells us that he is loosely targeting the grass for his return, it’s not yet possible to pin down when and where we’ll see Kyrgios again on a tennis court. All we know is that he can be found all over issue No. 16 of Racquet, along with our interview about his restorative year away from the job, his relative wisdom during the pandemic, his uneasy position as both a frequent debaser and top marketer of tennis, the origins of a tennis player’s selfishness, and what he wishes his sport could learn from basketball.
And then there are the photos. Australia, which has seen some of the strictest lockdowns in the world, has had enough trouble even getting its own citizens back into the country. So while there was no way I was getting there, no matter how noble my quest—a game of H.O.R.S.E. in an empty lot with a widely maligned tennis player—the Melbourne-based
Now grab a copy for the complete experience. Or at least to more accurately critique Nick’s jumpshot.