Brisbane - Nick Kyrgios is relishing being in the
"best" mental shape of his career and credited the camaraderie of
Australia's Davis Cup team for his ominous form during the US hard-court swing.
The world number 16 pushed Roger Federer to the wall in a
classic Miami Open semi-final on Friday and beat world No 2 Novak Djokovic
twice in succession in the past month.
The emotional 21-year-old now carries Australia's hopes of
reaching the Davis Cup semi-finals when the hosts play the United States in
Brisbane this weekend.
Having long felt ambivalent toward the sport and admitted to
struggling for motivation, Kyrgios has brought a new intensity to training and
a stronger focus on court.
"I think my level's always been there but I think where
I'm at mentally at the moment, I'm just competing for every point and playing
hard and I haven't really had that mind-set before," Kyrgios told
reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday.
"I'm feeling motivated and I want to get out there
more. I want to compete and I want to play.
"I'm probably in the best place I've ever been
It was little more than two months ago that Kyrgios bowed
out of the Australian Open in acrimony, jeered by home spectators after giving
up a two-set lead in defeat to Italian Andreas Seppi.
But weeks later, he returned to play in the Davis Cup in the
first round tie in Melbourne, playing a pivotal role in the 4-1 defeat of Czech
Kyrgios's commitment to the team tournament has not always
been so wholehearted.
He was reported to have said, "I don't want to be
here" during a singles rubber defeat during the 2015 quarterfinal against
Kazakhstan in Darwin and withdrew from last year's first round tie against the
United States in Melbourne, citing "illness".
That withdrawal prompted criticism from teammate Bernard
Tomic, who publicly upbraided him for the decision to pull-out.
Kyrgios returned to the fold for the World Group play-off
win over Slovakia and has been a fixture since, while Australia's No 2 Tomic
has opted out.
Kyrgios said the win over Czech Republic had worked wonders
for his motivation.
"I think the last Davis Cup tie helped me a lot. Ever
since then I've been in a good mental space," he said.
"I prefer the team environment, I love being around
these guys, I love training with them and I love being on the sidelines
watching them compete.
"I've been wanting to play and they've all been
supporting me. It's good to know these guys have my back and I think it's just
"I feel like I'm playing well and I've got a really
good opportunity now to battle against the USA."