Tennis bad boy Nick Kyrgios says his controversy-filled 2015 season has helped him mature but insists he won’t lose the intensity that’s led to his frequent brushes with officialdom.
The 20-year-old Canberran, ranked 30th in the world, is regarded as one of the best young players in the game but made the headlines for all the wrong reasons this year, none more so than when he earned a suspended ban for making a sexual comment about the girlfriend of world No.4 Stan Wawrinka.
Tipped by many experts as a future world No.1, Kyrgios picked up his second code violation in two matches in October, earning an $US1,500 fine as he lost to Kei Nishikori at the Shanghai Masters tournament.
The volatile Australian had angrily reacted with vulgar language after being warned for smashing away a loose ball which nearly hit a line judge.
If he totals more than $US5,000 in fines before February 24 next year, Kyrgios will have to serve the suspended ban imposed in August for his comments about Wawrinka’s girlfriend.
But despite those dramas, Kyrgios enjoyed a decent year that saw him reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open where he lost to world No.2 Andy Murray, the fourth round in Wimbledon and the third round of the French Open where he also lost to Murray.
And although he realises the error of his ways, Kyrgios believes he’s still on the right path for success.
“I’m looking to go really far in a Grand Slam and then almost win one in the next year or two,” the right-hander told reporters at the start of the Philippine leg of the International Premier Tennis League tournament.
“I had a pretty up and down year, results-wise and then obviously on the court there was some stuff.
“But you know, overall I think it was pretty successful.”
“I think I’ve matured a lot this year and I’ve learned a lot and I definitely feel that I’ve grown as a person and as a tennis player,” he added.
Asked if this meant he would be less of an angry young man next year, he said:
“I don’t think I’m actually very angry at all. I’m actually a calm sort of guy off the court.”
“But on the court I’m a competitor. I want to win. At the end of the day that’s all I want to do.”
Kyrgios said the edginess was a positive element of his game.
“I’ll do everything I can, so I think for my game it’s good. It brings energy and excitement, and I think that’s very important.”