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In 2020, Nick Kyrgios was at the top of his game. It was 'one of the darkest periods of his life'.

This post deals with depression and self harm, and may be triggering for some readers.

It was the Australian Open. The year: 2020. And Nick Kyrgios, who at the time had made it to the fourth round before being ousted in four sets by Rafael Nadal, was crumbling behind closed doors.

In Kyrgios' own words, it was the "darkest period" of his life.

Watch the difference between sadness and depression. Post continues after video. 


Video via Mamamia.

Earlier last month, he told fans that it was a difficult time. 

"No one knows what I’ve gone through, all the struggles I’ve overcome," Kyrgios explained in a candid Instagram Q&A.

"I’ve self-harmed, was having dark thoughts about life."

Kyrgios went on to explain that he had struggled due to being separated from his family for long periods of time, admitting the "mental game" of tennis is "ridiculous".

"My relationship with my family wasn’t great a few years ago because I was always away and didn’t have my family around me," he said.

"I was winning, losing, going through relationship problems, dealing with other problems and I was pushing them away because you feel like the world’s against you. I pushed everyone who was close to me away, and I fell out with people and that’s something I’d never want again. I’m going seven months to a year abroad in a new place every week. 

"That’s why tennis is so hard in my opinion. The mental game is ridiculous."

And this week, Kyrgios divulged to fans again about his mental health struggles, sharing a photo from right before the Nadal match where he had marks on his arm. In his detailed post, he shares that they were self-harm wounds.

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"This was me three years ago at the Australian Open," he began. "Most would assume I was doing okay mentally or enjoying my life… it was one of my darkest periods.

"If you look closely, on my right arm you can see my self harm. I was having suicidal thoughts and was literally struggling to get out of bed, let alone play in front of millions. I was lonely, depressed, negative, abusing alcohol, drugs, pushed away family and friends. I felt as if I couldn’t talk or trust anyone."

When reflecting on why this was, Kyrgios was sure of the reason: "This was a result of not opening up and refusing to lean on my loved ones."

"I know that day-to-day life can seem extremely exhausting, impossible at times. I understand that you feel if you open up it may make you feel weak, or scared. I’m telling you right now, it’s OK, you are not alone," he continued. "I’ve been through those times when it seemed as if those positive energetic vibes were never ever going to be reality. Please, don’t feel as if you are alone, if you feel as if you can’t talk to anyone, I’m here, reach out."

Of course, there were other things the public didn't see. For example, the gravity of losing his beloved grandmother in 2015 affected not only his mental health but game as well.

In 2017, he wrote for Players Voice, saying: "We were incredibly close. We spent hours and hours and hours together. We even slept in the same bunk bed." 

"I didn’t get to spend the time with her I wanted to and tennis was the reason for that. It kept me away from her. It’s something that still gnaws away at me. If I’m honest, I’d say I haven’t committed to tennis the way the game needs me to since she died."

He went on to write: "I am not the person professional tennis needs me to be. That’s the truth. There is a constant tug-of-war between the competitor within me wanting to win, win, win and the human in me wanting to live a normal life with my family away from the public glare."

For Kyrgios though, he's come a long way since his previous struggles.

"I’m proud to say I’ve completely turned myself around and have a completely different outlook on everything," he said.

"I don’t take one moment for granted because this life is beautiful."

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, 24-hour support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

Feature Image: Instagram @k1ngkyrg1os.