By Nick Kyrgios
It goes without saying, but this year has been crazy. And while tennis has been put on hold, I haven't taken the time for granted at all. Whether it's being close to family and friends or even discovering new passions, it's actually been a rather refreshing break from what I'm used to.
This year of uncertainty has provided me with some much-needed time to pursue things outside of tennis. I started a foundation in Melbourne. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time now. The idea behind it is to provide underprivileged kids with a pathway to getting back on track. They could be addicted to drugs, have some issues going on at home or something completely different altogether but this foundation wants to help those kids.
They deserve it. They deserve to have the opportunity to be active, play sport and enjoy life. Playing tennis non-stop for seven or eight years doesn't leave you with a lot of time to spare - just ask my loved ones. So while I've got this free time, being hands-on and giving back to the community through my foundation is my number one priority.
Now when I'm not working on my foundation or on the court training, there's a little hobby I've got that helps take the edge off after a long day. Like a lot of people, I play a lot of PlayStation in my spare time. So partnering with a company as big as them to help launch the new PlayStation 5 was a dream come true. It's something I've always been passionate about. Growing up, I was a massive gamer and that love for it definitely hasn't decreased as I've gotten older.
I don't want to throw people under the bus here by revealing who I've flogged online, but one thing I will say is that I love gaming with one bloke in particular: Gordon Hayward from the Boston Celtics - he's a top guy.
There's a bunch of big-name NBA players who are huge gamers so I don't mind teaching them a lesson or two now and then. I'm good mates with Giannis Antetokounmpo but I'm yet to convince him to get into video games. It'll come, it'll come.
But on a personal level, gaming has always been fun to me. I think it helps me unwind but also encourages people to connect with others that you wouldn't normally interact with. Especially during these strange times, human interaction is important - and gaming is just one way of doing that.
As part of my role with PlayStation I was given early access to the PS5. No one had it except a select lucky few dotted around the world. And I was one of them. Let let me tell you, it's insane. The new technology surrounding the controller alone is hugely impressive. You literally feel the immersive haptic feedback as you move across different terrains making gaming feel more immersive. And the dynamic adaptive triggers make gameplay even more realistic as you can feel the tension in the controller.
Even when I was playing on my PS4, I often wondered how on earth they'd improve the next console. Like, how was it even possible? But the team at PlayStation has somehow managed it. Honestly, I can't wait for everyone to get one - you won't want to get off it.
I'm a Call of Duty guy myself. That's my game. I've been playing it since I was a teenager, so I've seen it evolve throughout the years. From different consoles to the various releases, it's crazy to see how far it's come and how it's evolved into the powerhouse game it is today. I recently took on UFC featherweight champ Alex Volkanovski in a game of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. I won't go into too much detail on the outcome, but let's just say Alex should stick to being a mixed martial artist. Can't fault his effort. I didn't trash-talk him too much though, I didn't fancy being put in some sort of choke hold.
Looking forward, the Australian summer of tennis is definitely in my sights - but only if it's done properly. If we can take a leaf out of the NBA's book and introduce some kind of bubble or hub then I'll be all for it. With that in place, we should be able to attract some of the big-name international players who will feel a lot safer living in a COVID-free zone. I'm in full training at the moment and I'm ready to go. I miss competing, but at the same time I know that I'll probably never get this sort of free time again to be at home. And while I have it, I want to spend time with my family and friends and work on my foundation.
And, can I also say, I'm really looking forward to coming face to face with a few of my fellow competitors when I do finally return. On and off the court, I've never been afraid of holding people accountable for their actions. When I f*** up, I'll always hold my hands up and apologise. The same can't be said for a couple of the other tennis players (cough cough). They know who they are. When we do finally return to competition, I'm excited to draw one of them. Bring it on. I know I'm ready.
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