Tennis

‘Drinking every single night’: Kyrgios gets emotional in first look at Netflix series

Key points

  • Netflix will release the documentary Break Point on January 13.
  • The first episode follows Nick Kyrgios around Melbourne Park last year.
  • Kyrgios reveals the depth of his mental health struggles.

Netflix will launch its tennis documentary, Break Point, on Friday, with the first episode providing a rare insight into the life of the sport’s most controversial player, Nick Kyrgios.

Netflix has provided The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age with a sneak peek at the behind-the-scenes, five-part series, which highlights the demons Kyrgios has battled for most of his career.

Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios during the filming of Break Point.Credit:Netflix

The first episode, which will be shown in Australia on January 13, follows Kyrgios around Melbourne during last year’s Australian Open at a time when many people, including Kyrgios, wondered if it would be his last grand slam on home soil.

His manager and close friend, Daniel Horsfall, reveals he used to have a tracking application to help find Kyrgios after long, boozy nights out, sometimes on the eve of grand slam matches.

“I used to have your location on my phone,” Horsfall says in a conversation with Kyrgios that was filmed for the opening episode.

“On some mornings, I would physically have to go and find where you were. What hotel you were staying at, whose house you were staying at. Before tournaments … before a match.”

‘My life was spiralling out of control. Drinking every single night.’

Kyrgios has spoken publicly about his mental health battle throughout his career. His mother, Nill, told the Herald and Age during Wimbledon last year that Andy Murray’s intervention helped save her son’s life.

She said the Scot noticed evidence of self-harm on Kyrgios’ body and told the Canberran’s former manager, John Morris.

In the Netflix documentary, Kyrgios is filmed in a deep conversation with his girlfriend, Costeen Hatzi, divulging some of his struggles before she entered his life.

“The first four or five years of my career was just so chaotic,” an emotional Kyrgios tells his partner.

Behind the scenes with Nick Kyrgios in the upcoming Netflix documentary.Credit:Netflix

“When Horse [Horsfall] was on tour with me, when it was basically just him looking after me, he could just see my wellbeing just declining every week. My life was spiralling out of control – drinking every single night. I was like, ‘I can’t keep doing this. I have to be kinder to myself’.

“For my mental health, I could never be one of those players again that plays all year round. I couldn’t do that. I value my family, my close, close friends and Cossie too much to put tennis in front of that any more. I don’t think that’s healthy.

“I don’t really have expectations now in my matches any more. I just want to go out there, have fun, take the pressure off, and then we can try and live a more normal life. It’s much better like this, that’s for sure.”

Plenty of other players, past and present, provide their views about the 27-year-old world No.22.

Tsitsipas gave Kyrgios short shrift at the net after his defeat at Wimbledon last year.Credit:Getty Images

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who has been in Sydney with the Greek team for the United Cup, has had a love-hate relationship with Kyrgios over the years.

“He’s not a bad guy,” Tsitsipas says in Break Point. “He just becomes the devil when he enters the court.”

Kyrgios indicated he agreed with the man he beat at Wimbledon in one of the most entertaining matches of last year.

“In the heat of the battle, I’m two different people,” Kyrgios says in the documentary.

“Sometimes I do cross the line. That’s just my passion, that’s just my emotion. Millions of people watching you and you’re not playing your best. Would you not be frustrated and angry? I have to let it out, out there.”

American former star Andy Roddick, who was also prone to outbursts during a decorated career, is interviewed extensively throughout the documentary.

“He’s like a part-time tennis player,” Roddick says of Kyrgios. “He doesn’t play that often. He takes months off at a time. It’s like a hobby.”

Kyrgios’ breakthrough on the world tour came as a 19-year-old at Wimbledon. His career hasn’t followed the trajectory many believed it would as he has struggled with life in the spotlight.

Nick Kyrgios during last year’s Wimbledon final.Credit:Getty

“After that, he was painted as this bad boy. He was this villain,” Horsfall said.

“Every article, every tabloid, every person just wanted to have their 2¢ and tell him what a shit bloke he was.”

The documentary reveals that no criticism stung more than that of Australian swimming champion Dawn Fraser in 2015, when she told Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic to “go back to where their fathers or their parents came from”.

Later in the year, Netflix will drop the second part of its series, which features Kyrgios’ incredible run to the Wimbledon final last year.

For now, his attention turns to the Australian Open.

“It’s always good to be back,” Kyrgios says to an Australian Open staff member on his way into the venue last year. “I don’t know if it’s going to be my last time. Nothing good lasts forever, yeah.”

Watch the United Cup live and free on the 9Network – Channel 9 and 9Gem. Every match will be available live on 9Now.

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