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Nick Kyrgios is floored after winning the Citi Open at Washington’s Rock Creek Park Tennis Centre. Photo: EPA-EFE

Nick Kyrgios stunned by ‘incredible transformation’ as 3-year title drought ends

  • Australian says he had been in ‘some really dark places’ but that his motivation ‘is a lot higher than it used to be’
  • Defeat of Yoshito Nishioka at Citi Open brought Kyrgios a first singles title since 2019 – before he returned to court to claim his third doubles title of year
Nick Kyrgios said he was stunned at his “incredible transformation” over the past year after he ended a three-year singles title drought with a dominant victory over Yoshito Nishioka at the Citi Open.

The Australian launched a dozen aces on the way to a 6-4 6-3 win over his Japanese opponent on Sunday to claim his first singles title since winning the same hard-court tournament in Washington in 2019.

Kyrgios, who finished runner-up at Wimbledon last month, seemed overcome with emotion as he slumped to his back on the court after sealing the win for his seventh career singles title.

“To see where I was at last year to now, it’s just an incredible transformation,” he said, adding that he had been in “some really dark places”.

Nick Kyrgios (right) and Yoshihito Nishioka collect their prizes after the former’s victory in the final in Washington. Photo: EPA-EFE

“There are so many people who have helped me get there, but myself, I’ve shown some serious strength to just continue and persevere and get through all those times and be able to still perform and win tournaments like this one.”

Well known for his on-court antics and outbursts, Kyrgios opened up on his mental health struggles earlier this year, saying he had suicidal thoughts and the time around the 2019 Australian Open was one of his “darkest periods”.

He said last year he was unsure how long he would continue playing professional tennis but he has shown a new level of consistency this season.

Kyrgios did not drop serve in Washington and has won 11 of his past 12 matches, losing only to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.

He also picked up a third doubles title of the year, returning to the court with Jack Sock later on Sunday to defeat Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek 7-5 6-4. Kyrgios won the Australian Open and Atlanta doubles titles with countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis.

“Before the Australian Open, I decided that I really wanted to put in a good training block, and then things just started falling into place,” said Kyrgios, whose ranking rose to 37th.

“I had a great Australian Open. I felt like [in] the tournaments after the Australian Open I was kind of reinventing myself a little bit on the court.

“I feel like my motivation is a lot higher than it used to be … I don’t know. I just feel like there is a small window and I should capitalise on it.”