Australian Open tennis 2023 | No extra pressure for Nick Kyrgios despite Ashleigh Barty win

As Ash Barty walked off the court as an Australian Open champion last January, Nick Kyrgios was waiting in the corridors to take to centre court for the men’s doubles final alongside Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Kyrgios said he could see the relief lift off her shoulders.

“I was just watching her win the event, then she walked through the hallways and just, you know, soaked it up with her team,” he told media on Thursday afternoon.

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“I was just watching the relief … I could feel the relief (lift) off her shoulders. 

“(She) worked very hard, and had so much expectation (to) finally get over the line in Australia … I was just smiling and just happy for her.

“I’m not a jealous person to say ‘oh I wish that was me’, but it’s special to see how she embraced her family and everyone that’s been on the journey with her.

“Hopefully one day – any Australian, any man – I’d be happy for them to win.

“None of us are as dominant as Ash Barty … she was just winning matches for fun, barely losing games, so I don’t know if it’s going to be that easy for us.”

A few hours later, the Special Ks were grand slam champions too.

Twelve months later, Kyrgios enters his home grand slam as the No.20 seed – the highest Australian on either singles draw. He is now leading Australia’s charge at Melbourne Park.

He said despite Barty’s victory – and his new role of spearhead of the Australian charge – there was no extra pressure on him to win the title Melbourne Park.

“I’m not gonna put that much pressure on myself … I’m just gonna go out there have fun and whatever happens, happens,” Kyrgios said.

“I know I’m able to go to the final of a grand slam, so I’m not even going to think about winning it … I’m just gonna try do the right things day by day.

“If I tick all the boxes, I’ve got a pretty good chance to win matches. It takes 14 days to win one of these things – it’s not easy.”

He said his strong 2022 – which saw him make his first grand slam final – was a new experience for him even now, as he felt like he’s entering as a genuine contender.

“Usually I’m kind of like a dark horse type thing, but now obviously after the year I’ve had, one of the favourites … so it’s kind of new for me as well.

“This is the first time I’ve genuinely gone into a slam feeling like I’m one of the guys that can take the trophy.

“I don’t know (how) I’m going to be feeling when I get out there. Usually I’ve got nothing to lose and I’m just putting on a show, so I need to try and really find that balance.

“It’s so much fun being out here embracing it, and getting all the support, but at the end of the day you’ve gotta have a (win).”

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