They say that behind every great man there is a great woman – and here’s proof that Costeen Hatzi was the catalyst for Nick Kyrgios’ stunning tennis revival.
At the start of this year, Kyrgios was all but on the scrap heap, following the same path as compatriot Bernard Tomic.
He had become known as a frustrating waste of potential, a fan and officially abusive eyesore on the sport, and a self-proclaimed young man who cared more about partying than representing his country.
Kyrgios celebrates with his girlfriend Costeen Hatzi after beating Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan to capture the Citi Open ATP title in Washington this year
Now a Wimbledon finalist, Kyrgios has beaten world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev to reach the quarter-finals of the US Open and is riding a wave of success that has propelled him back into the company of the game’s elite.
The exact anniversary the couple started dating isn’t 100 percent clear, but it’s a safe bet it falls around November 18, 2021.
They are believed to have met on an evening and Kyrgios posted an Instagram picture from the occasion with the comment “I think that’s when it happened” followed by a series of shock, love and heart emojis.
The Instagram post confirming that Kyrgios and Hatzi were a couple after one night out
Since then, Kyrgios has a 31-9 singles record, an ATP title, a Grand Slam final and $3,561,208 in prize money under his belt.
Combine that with a 19-5 record, three titles – including the men’s doubles crown at the Australian Open – and it’s clear Kyrgios is enjoying his tennis again.
He has openly praised Hatzi for his turnaround, with his partner being able to help him unwind after tennis matches and avoid the party scene that had so often thrown him off track in the past.
Kyrgios poses with the trophy after defeating Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan in the final of the Citi Open tennis tournament in Washington
Prior to the pair meeting, Kyrgios had a long history of untapped potential. He was first accused of fighting Richard Gasquet at Wimbledon in 2015 and it became a trend that would continue to plague his career.
In 2016, the ATP threw him the book. Kyrgios was found to have fought Alexander Zverev at the Shanghai Masters and was fined over $45,000 and banned from participating for eight weeks.
When the Australian returned to the Shanghai Masters next year, he took things to another level. After receiving a point penalty in the first set tiebreak against American Steve Johnson, he told the chair umpire he would end the match if he lost the set.
Kyrgios lost the tiebreak and the set and made good on his word by ending the match that cost him his $21,085 prize money and an additional $10,000 fine for unsportsmanlike conduct.
While the Australian arsonist had earned a reputation for quitting when it mattered, he was disqualified for the first time in 2019. He played against Casper Ruud at the Italian Open and got angry, manhandling a fan and throwing rackets, bottles and even chairs onto the court before storming off in anger.
That same year, at the Cincinnati Masters, Kyrgios was fined a staggering $113,000 for calling the chair umpire a “damn tool” and the ATP a “corrupt”. At this point the wheels were really off.
After peaking at 13 in the world rankings in 2016, Kyrgios plummeted to just 137 in February this year.
Kyrgios famously refused to play in the French Open or any clay-court season because “it doesn’t appeal to me anymore”.
“Early on in my career, when I didn’t really have a choice, I just milled and milled and milled [on the red dirt]. At this point in my career, I’m not going to have 30-ball rallies against Diego Schwartzman,” he added.
But then everything started to change.
In March, he reached the quarterfinals at the Indian Wells Masters before reaching the round of 16 at the Miami Open. He was a semi-finalist at the US Clay Court Championships, Stuttgart Open and Halle Open before reaching the round of 16 at the Mallorca Open.
By the time Wimbledon rolled around, Kyrgios had risen to world No. 40 before beginning his run to giant murder into the final, where he was eventually stopped by champion Novak Djokovic.
Kyrgios and Hatzi are enjoying a holiday in the Bahamas after their success at Wimbledon
His ranking would have risen even higher if ATP hadn’t stripped Wimbledon of ranking points for banning all Russian and Belarusian players due to the conflict in Ukraine.
“I have the best girlfriend in the world. I just have so many people around me, they just support me,” he said during Wimbledon.
“It’s a big part of my growth. Obviously obsessing over my girlfriend helps, but I can just let that go and enjoy my dinner and wake up the next day and separate tennis and life.
After defeating world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round of the US Open, Kyrgios now has a golden opportunity to win his first even major tournament and potentially break into the world top 10 for the first time ever.
Nick Kyrgio’s US Open Championships girlfriend Costeen Hatzi looks on with pride
Again he credits his girlfriend.
“It was a great game, Daniil is the defending champion and he would have had a lot of pressure on his shoulders,” he said.
“But the way I’ve played over the past few months has been fantastic.
“I just work hard every day to make every training session count. I probably would have been outside every night before to fall asleep.
“I have a great friend who helps me. My team, my physiotherapist, my whole team.
“I’m really happy and I hope to continue. I want to go all the way, hopefully it’s possible.’
With Costeen by his side and the lure of late-night parties out of his head, it would take a brave player to bet against him doing it.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-11180441/The-numbers-prove-Costeen-Hatzi-key-Nick-Kyrgios-stunning-career-turnaround.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 The numbers prove Costeen Hatzi is key to Nick Kyrgios’ stunning career turnaround