Nick Kyrgios is back in Indian Wells. And he’s feeling good.
“I’m just comfortable in my own skin,” said the Australian wild card after his impressive 6-4, 6-0 win over World No. 60 Sebastian Baez in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday. “Mentally I feel the best I’ve probably ever felt, to be honest.”
The Baez clash was Kyrgios’ first match at Indian Wells since 2019, and the 26-year-old is also enjoying improved physical health as he seeks a strong run at the first ATP Masters 1000 event of the year.
“Physically I do not feel hindered anymore [with] my movement,” said Kyrgios at his post-match press conference. “Tonight, I was running for drop shots, [moving] side to side, I could slide again with no pain, on my serve I can land with no pain. I was able to play before [with the injury] but there was something in my mind that I was feeling. It was definitely weighing my game down.
“Physically I feel good, I haven’t felt my left knee feel that good in a while.”
The Australian’s best performance in Indian Wells was a quarter-final run in 2017 and he now faces Argentine Federico Delbonis in the second round. Kyrgios is also seeking doubles success this week, as he and Thanasi Kokkinakis look to back up their victory at the Australian Open in January. That experience is also feeding Kyrgios’ good vibes.
“Me and Thanasi, we grew up together since we were like eight years old, so it’s pretty crazy,” said Kyrgios. “I watched the highlights; I still get goosebumps thinking about it.
“We stepped up at different moments. When one of us wasn’t playing well, the other stepped up, and who knows what this year holds for the doubles. I feel confident on court now, singles and doubles, I feel like I’m returning the best I ever have, and Thanasi is playing well so we’ll see. We could lose 6-0, 6-0, but we could win the title too. Who knows?”
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With two chances of lifting a trophy in Indian Wells, things are looking up for Kyrgios. But the Australian is not getting carried away.
“I’m not thinking forward,” said Kyrgios. “I take it day by day, that’s my process. I wake up, I try and be positive, I try and be better every day. As for goals, for me it’s hard sometimes just to wake up in a positive mindset. That’s a win for me. I’m not saying I want to win Indian Wells or trying to make the semi-finals again in Miami…if I do that, it’s great, but I have those normal human issues that I’m trying to overcome every day.
“I’m seeming to find that balance at the moment, and I’m happy.”