‘Sick of it’: Kyrgios’s honest admission
A SPIDER bite has seriously hampered Nick Kyrgios' preparation for the Australian summer but that is not the only thing bugging the 23-year-old.
Eighth seed Kyrgios admitted he will be lacking touch when he launches his Brisbane International title defence this week after being hospitalised over Christmas nursing the bite on his foot.
But the Australian No. 2 appeared more irritated by time spent away from home, saying he would be seriously cutting back his 2019 schedule after tennis became a mental slog this year.
Kyrgios was handed a tough start to his Brisbane title defence after being drawn to face American Ryan Harrison in the first round - a rematch of the 2018 final.
And the world No. 35 didn't exactly sound confident of his chances after being restricted by his swollen foot.
"It has definitely impacted my preparation. I haven't stepped on court for the last couple of days but it's getting better," he said.
"I will be rusty to be honest. I wouldn't be surprised if I go out there and hit 30 unforced errors.
"I didn't take it (bite) seriously. I just felt an irritation on my foot the day before Christmas.
"I woke up Christmas Day and my foot was really swollen. I have been in hospital the last couple of days getting antibiotics but I think I will be OK."
However, Kyrgios reckoned he hadn't even thought about tennis let alone his Brisbane defence after enjoying his off season in his hometown of Canberra before the spider struck.
"I haven't touched a racquet for a month. Tennis is the last thing I want to do (in the off-season)," he said.
"I haven't really been on court that much. I'm going to go out there today and maybe hit for 10, 15 minutes, see how the foot feels. I haven't really been thinking about it too much.
"I feel like the off-season for me is not about getting on court and trying to improve or get better. I want to completely step away from the game and like really just enjoy my time at home.
"I play enough tennis during the year, I'm sick of bit by the time I get home. So the last thing I want to do is go out there and hit more balls."
'Kyrgios endured a frustrating 2018 in which his ranking slipped from world No. 21, cutting his season short in October with a recurring elbow complaint. But Kyrgios claimed his problems were more mental after spending almost half the year away from home - something he said he would never do again.
"Being home solved a lot of my problems. It was more mental than anything," he said.
"I love just being in Canberra and being with my family, being with my friends. It was tough, it was more just mentally. I think just being away from home was the toughest bit.
"I was away from home for five-and-a-half months. I don't ever want to do that again.
"When I play tennis I enjoy it but I have no goals (for 2019). I will have a very light schedule this year."
How light? "I'm not sure the exact number (of tournaments) but if I was to win the Australian Open or something, I probably wouldn't play for the rest of the year," he smiled, before adding on Twitter he was just "trolling".
Kyrgios is drawn to meet second seed Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals but has avoided the same side of the draw as Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and seventh- seeded Australian Alex de Minaur.
De Minaur plays Australian wildcard Alexei Popyrin in the first round and is drawn to meet Nadal in the quarter-finals.