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Kyrgios: I Didn't Really Miss The Game At All

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Unless you're Nick Kyrgios who concedes he didn't miss tennis all that much during his nearly one-year sabbatical from the sport.

The 47th-ranked Aussie has not played a match since retiring from his Acapulco opening-rounder vs. Ugo Humbert last February. Kyrgios, will make his comeback at next week's Murray River Open, the Melbourne Park tune-up tournament for the Australian Open.

More: AO Will Allow 30,000 Fans Per Day

Time off from tennis gave Kyrgios the opportunity to feed his competitive urges pushing buttons.

"I'm not going to lie. I didn't miss the game that much," Kyrgios told the media in his press conference. "I'm a competitor. I compete with everything I do.

"I was playing computer games, all that kind of stuff, getting my little competitive edge there. I didn't really miss the game at all. It was a bit of a task to get out there, get in the routine of things. Wake up and say, Look, we got the Australian Open around the corner, let's put some work in. It wasn't so easy."

Kyrgios claims he put his Yonex racquets in the closet and did not pick them up for the first four or five months of quarantine.

"I actually didn't touch a tennis racquet for the first four or five months of quarantine," Kyrgios said. "I wanted to get completely away from it. It was actually tough to start getting back into it."

Tennis Express

No. 13-seeded Kyrgios, who is scheduled to face Alexandre Muller in his Melbourne opener, could square off against a familiar face, friend and sometime sparring partner Bernard Tomic, in round two if both prevail in their openers. Kyrgios said he's pumped to play in front of fans again at the Australian Open.

"It's the Australian Open. I'm extremely blessed to be here again," Kyrgios said. "I'm not sure how many of these I played now. I definitely feel like I'm a veteran of the tour now.

"Every time you get a opportunity to play a Grand Slam... everyone has done an amazing job to get it going, I feel like we're keeping it safe. I'm just happy to be around it again. I am excited to get out there and play."

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve