Kyrgios 'lost motivation' since his grandfather's death, blames lack of practice for Paris exit

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  • 'Underdone': Nick Kyrgios.

    Nick Kyrgios is still suffering from loss of motivation since his grandfather’s passing in April and admits he must hit the practice courts if he plans on getting back on track for the grass season.

    The 18th-seeded Australian was knocked out of the French Open second round on Thursday by Kevin Anderson 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 after leading by a set and break earlier in the contest. It is his second consecutive round two exit at a Grand Slam this season.

    “I thought he played pretty well. He was really aggressive off returns. I mean, it’s the type of match where I’m not going to get much rhythm. I was good for a set and a half,” said Kyrgios after the match.

    “But I haven’t really put together any good training in the last couple weeks. Obviously, just trying to manage some niggles.

    “And, obviously, I haven’t really structured any good training in the last five weeks. So I don’t think I was match-ready to play best of five sets, but he played well today. So he was too good.”

    Kyrgios dealt with a hip problem in the build-up to Roland Garros and he also felt a pop in his shoulder during Thursday’s match.

    But besides his physical issues, the 22-year-old concedes that he hasn’t been in the right headspace to train hard since the death of his grandfather five weeks ago.

    Kyrgios, who had been coach-less for the past three years, started working with Sebastien Grosjean, who has been with him in Paris this week. Having been alone for so long, has he been able to make use of the Frenchman, especially after a loss like this one, or is it tricky for Kyrgios to let someone in so early in their partnership?

    “He was just chatting to me in the locker room. But, I mean, he hasn’t really been working with me that much. It’s not to the point where, you know, we’re doing every training session together and he knows me great,” explained Kyrgios.

    “Obviously, he just says the right things after that kind of loss. He knows that things have been difficult for me. But he knows firsthand that I haven’t put in enough work to have gone deep here. The whole team knows it.

    “You know, and the surprising thing is, I was in a winning position today and I still could have won. It doesn’t even matter how underdone I was. I still could have won. He knows – we both know that I’ve just got to practice. You know, during Indian Wells and Miami time, I was practicing a lot.

    “Yeah, I mean, after my grandpa passing, I just lost a lot of motivation to do anything, really.”

    During his match against Anderson, Kyrgios hit 16 winners but lost his serve six times. He was unable to convert any of the six break point opportunities he had in the fourth set and he let his frustration get to him at some point, going on a racquet-smashing frenzy while sitting at his bench.

    A young fan sat behind him looked to be particularly amused by it.

    “I don’t know if that’s the best role model you want,” admitted Kyrgios. “But, I mean, I’m not trying to show anybody really my frustration. I just do it for myself. I’ve been doing it my whole career, really. I think, yeah, it’s just a habit now.”

    Kyrgios is still in action in doubles, alongside his compatriot Jordan Thompson, and will hold off making plans for the grass season until he finishes his campaign in Paris.

    “Tomorrow I’m not playing for myself. I’m playing for Thomo as well. And he’s the type of guy that will try his best for every single match. So tomorrow I know that I’m going to have to just put my singles out of the way and get back out there and compete. And I think that’s a positive, just getting straight back out there and trying to get better, I guess,” added Kyrgios.

    He feels there’s enough time for him though to get ready for Wimbledon which is just over four weeks away.