Kyrgios Reveals Biggest Regret While Inspiring Youngsters
Nick Kyrgios’ biggest regret as a youngster? “I wish I listened to my parents when I was your age,” the Australian confessed to elementary school students at the Miami Open presented by Itau on Tuesday. “That’s my biggest regret.”
Kyrgios participated in a Q&A session with students about overcoming adversity and being a positive force in the community along with Kei Nishikori, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Marin Cilic, Diego Schwartzman, Nicolas Jarry and Petra Kvitova. The World No. 33, whose foundation in Victoria, Australia, serves underprivileged youth, also spoke about the sacrifice required to make it as a pro tennis player.
“When I was 14, my parents told me I could no longer play basketball and still to this day it breaks my heart. It was one of the toughest challenges to give that up [to focus on tennis]. I love basketball.”
Fifty fourth and fifth-grade students from Hollywood Park Elementary School, who are highly active participants in UNICEF’s Kid Power initiative that promotes acts of kindness, got to meet the players. They were joined by 12 tennis team members from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the South Florida school rocked by a mass shooting just over one year ago.
World No. 10 Tsitsipas told the students that overcoming financial hardship was one of the biggest obstacles he overcame early in his career.
“Greece was suffering economically during the period that I grew up, so it was not easy to pursue my dream,” he said. “Those circumstances held me back, but I was lucky that I had people in my family who helped to make my dream possible. It was also difficult for me to not see my family very much when I did begin to travel for my tennis. I was lucky that I had my dad to travel with me, but I missed my mother, my siblings and my grandparents.”
Nishikori spoke about overcoming the hardship of leaving Japan for the United States to train at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
“I moved at a young age and I was really homesick in the beginning. It was a different culture, I didn’t know anyone and I couldn’t speak English,” he said. “But I dedicated myself to practice – from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. – and I found a way to enjoy it."
Cilic told the kids that “we all share a similar story about going through struggles to reach our full potential. I had to move from my family to a bigger city. It made me stronger and more responsible knowing what I wanted to do. There were many tough moments, but my family always supported me. Because of the tough moments, I am a better person and I appreciate the life I now have more. Believe in yourself, work hard and you can achieve your goals.”
Main draw play at the Miami Open presented by Itau, being played for the first year at Hard Rock Stadium, begins Wednesday.