If ever a sportsperson was tailor-made for ‘fly on the wall’ reality television, it is Nick Kyrgios.
His emotions are exposed on the court as he remonstrates with himself, his support crew, umpires and opponents.
He looks good on-court, he’s theatrical and he’s captivating.
He is perfect for reality television.
This is why Netflix had him front and centre in the first episode of the series Break Point.
From my perspective, it was reasonably benign. We watched Kyrgios do rather mundane things: warm up, spend time with his girlfriend, family, etcetera. You get the picture.
The upcoming episodes are far more intrusive.
We gain a greater insight into his mental health, and in many respects, it provides a perspective into his on-court behaviour.
Kyrgios has in the past opened up about his fragile mental health, including an Instagram post last February in which he described how he struggled to get out of bed, let alone play in front of millions.
In the second series of Break Point, Kyrgios goes further than he has done so before in describing the depths of his mental health issues.
Kyrgios reveals that he contemplated suicide after going down to Rafael Nadal in four sets in the second round of Wimbledon in 2019.
He describes how he ended up in a London hospital psychiatric ward as he battled his demons.
The upcoming episodes of the Netflix series follow his path to the 2022 Wimbledon where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
It also provides Kyrgios with a platform to describe what he was going through three years prior as he emerged from the darkness.
Says Kyrgios, “I was drinking, abusing drugs, lost my relationship with my family, pushed all my close friends away. You could tell I was hurting. My whole arm was covered in scars. That’s why I actually got my arm sleeve, to cover it all. That pressure, having that all-eyes-on-you expectation. I couldn’t deal with it. I hated the kind of person I was.”
That was how he was feeling in 2019.
Last year he explained on social media how he now had a different outlook on everything and that he doesn’t take a single moment for granted.
If nothing else, the Netflix series provides an insight into the pressure elite sportspeople are under these days.
The proliferation of social media has been to the detriment of the mental health of athletes, particularly those who are already vulnerable.
Kyrgios has brought the previously taboo subject of mental health to a public arena and for that he should be applauded.
If he is now comfortable talking about it and if it helps others going through similar struggles, it should be viewed as a positive.
But when it borders on voyeurism, that’s when it could be a problem.