Kyrgios prefers basketball to tennis: "I don’t love the sport"

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The Aussie says he was pushed by his parents and prefers basketball to the sport he plays as a pro. (AP)

Nick Kyrgios, who recently stopped working with coach Todd Markham, is making more waves: He has suggested in an interview that he would rather be playing basketball than tennis.

"I don’t really like the sport of tennis that much. I don’t love it. It was crazy when I was 14. I was all for basketball and I made the decision to play tennis. I got pushed by my parents and to this day I can still say I don’t love the sport," he told British press (story from The Independent).

"It’s good when you’re out there on a tennis court. There’s nowhere to hide. It’s all you, tactically, physically, mentally. But I just love basketball, I love the sport. I always have. I try when I’m on the road with tennis not to watch too many basketball videos and stuff like that, to keep me focused," he added.

The 20-year-old still entertains notions of a basketball career. "Every time when I’m playing now I still think I can for some odd reason, even though I’m playing a completely different sport," he said. But he's not pursuing the idea seriously.

When on the tennis court, though, he likes to play to the spectators. "Some players out there don’t really interact with the crowd, they’re really serious, but I think it’s part of my personality as well," said Krygios. "I go out there and I like to entertain. I like to put on a bit of a show."

Kyrgios had his breakthrough last year at Wimbledon, where he defeated Rafael Nadal to reach the quarterfinals, and will now return to the tournament as the No. 26 seed. He withdrew from Nottingham following a defeat to Stanislas Wawrinka at Queen's Club, saying he was taking a break before Wimbledon to mentally refresh himself.

Kyrgios also discussed his relationship with the Big Four, saying he admires Roger Federer more than any other player and has "a pretty good relationship" with him.

"Week in, week out, he’s such a great role model on and off the court. He’s always doing things around tournaments, trying to help out, trying to promote it. He’s doing everything. I played an unbelievable match against him in Madrid," Kyrgios said. "Then he shows up again the next week and wins."

Andy Murray has defeated Kyrgios twice in a row at the majors, but the Australian isn't holding it against him. Murray is the one he is most friendly with. "He’s a guy I feel like I can talk to if I need any help, Kyrgios said.

On the contrary, Novak Djokovic appears to be the one player Kyrgios would least like to meet on court. "Novak’s probably the one guy that scares me a little bit," Kyrgios said. "I don’t think he has a weakness in his game. He’s solid on both wings, serves great, great returns, good athlete."

As for Nadal, Kyrgios called him mentally the best player on tour, though saying, "Me and Rafa don’t talk too much." But he would like to change that, adding, “We probably don’t have the greatest relationship, like me and Roger do. But I’m more than open to having lunch with the guy or something like that."

Though he is happy to compete against them on court, the youngster is learning from them off it. "When I walk out against those guys I’m not too nervous because it’s just another tennis match. It’s what you train for. But walking around these guys, I think that’s where you sit back and just take notice about what they’re doing."

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