Kyr­gios play­ing for kids’ char­ity

Foun­da­tion a mo­ti­va­tion

The Daily Examiner - - SPORT TENNIS - Leo Schlink Her­ald Sun

THE plight of un­der­priv­i­leged youth will be at the heart of Nick Kyr­gios’ Aus­tralian Open cru­sade when the Can­ber­ran steps into Mel­bourne Park bat­tle tonight.

Reg­u­larly lashed for on-court mis­de­meanours, Kyr­gios is now con­sumed by the wel­fare of dis­ad­van­taged young­sters, cre­at­ing the NK Foun­da­tion.

The 17th seed re­vealed the de­sire to pro­vide fa­cil­i­ties for strug­gling chil­dren has be­come a key mo­ti­va­tor in his ca­reer.

“It’s mas­sive for me to have a foun­da­tion like that,” Kyr­gios said ahead of his clash with Brazil’s Roge­rio Du­tra Silva.

“I’ve been want­ing to do some­thing like this since I was about 19. To have my own place where kids or peo­ple could just come or sort of live or pick a sport they wanted to play.

“Do­ing well at tour­na­ments ob­vi­ously is mas­sive. The cash is a big thing to go into the foun­da­tion.

“Ob­vi­ously they’re (kids) go­ing to be watch­ing and watch­ing me play and that’s go­ing to be mo­ti­va­tion for them, I think, whichever sport they chose.

“To see the per­son whose foun­da­tion is do­ing well, the cul­ture would be awe­some.”

Kyr­gios, with his brother Chris­tos, is de­vel­op­ing a fa­cil­ity in Mel­bourne where youth can play ten­nis, bas­ket­ball, swim and take shel­ter.

Out­wardly more at peace with him­self than ever be­fore, the 22-year-old be­lieves the foun­da­tion has given him le­git­i­mate pur­pose – and a foil to smother com­pet­i­tive pres­sures.

“Bas­ing off one event, I would def­i­nitely say it’s helped me,” he said, re­fer­ring to his spec­tac­u­lar ti­tle surge in Bris­bane this month.

“But it’s go­ing to be a long year. Def­i­nitely in the long run it’s (the foun­da­tion) go­ing to help me.

“I’m not just play­ing for my­self. I’m play­ing for the whole foun­da­tion and ev­ery­one who’s kinda helped me that and who’s sup­ported me.

“I’m play­ing for all of them and I’m sure that’s go­ing to help me on court. My brother is the CEO. He’s do­ing all the stuff with it.

“I’ve def­i­nitely part­nered with a lot of peo­ple to help me with it. And they’ve been so many play­ers and past play­ers that have been sup­port­ive.

“Ten­nis Aus­tralia, the ATP have helped. It’s awe­some.

“A lot of peo­ple have reached out and said what a good ini­tia­tive it is.”

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