Nick Kyrgios says he is enjoying himself on court again, and that has shown in his recent play.
The 21-year-old Australian got his second straight win against No. 2 Novak Djokovic to reach the quarterfinals in Indian Wells, and also reached the semifinals of Acapulco and Marseille coming into the event. Girlfriend Ajla Tomljanovic, who had been sidelined for more than a year, also returned to competition in Acapulco.
"I think it's starting in practice, I guess, " he said. "Every time I go on the practice court, I try and be positive, try and have fun, not being too hard on myself.
"Some of that's obviously having my girlfriend back on tour. It's going to be awesome ... seeing her every couple of weeks. I'm just trying to stay happy and just try and enjoy my tennis a little bit."
Kyrgios described his lack of motivation as 2016 finished, when he was also suspended by the tour for lack of effort during a second-round encounter in Shanghai.
"I was beating myself down, and I wasn't in a good place,” he admitted. "Didn't want to practice, didn't want to really do anything. I had a physical trainer for a little bit, but it was tough because my team was motivated, but I wasn't motivated."
That deepened when he dropped a two-set lead to Andreas Seppi at the Australian Open.
"Obviously, it felt like the whole of Australia was against me," he said, adding that he had taken the most criticism despite a poor showing by Australians. "I copped it all, I felt."
But a Davis Cup call produced a turnaround, recalled Kyrgios.
“I went and spent a week with my girlfriend,” he said, “and then [Lleyton Hewitt] called me up, and then he really wanted me to play Davis Cup. And that was the best thing I could have done—come back and be with the boys—and I found some enjoyment practicing again. Something switched, and now I'm really enjoying it again."
Kyrgios plays Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.
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