Nick Kyrgios’s security blanket is his overshirt

Yes, Nick Kyrgios needs and has a security blanket in my opinion. He wears two shirts when he plays tennis. The over shirt is loose-fitting and has no arms (a vest). He constantly puts his left hand inside the base of the overshirt as seen in the photo. He will even do it when he has a couple of tennis balls in his left hand. He does it in between points perhaps particularly when he has lost the previous point. I am convinced that this is a comfort blanket and, on that basis, I would suggest that his bad behaviour is partly due to his insecurity which is exacerbated by his fear of losing and letting down others.

I believe that Nick Kyrgios is a very insecure person. And there is another observation about him which strikes me. He is constantly walking in a hunched way. His back is bowed and his chest is concave. He leans forward. It looks very uncomfortable as if he is locked in that unhealthy position; very bad posture. This is someone who is hiding and who is in fear in my opinion. Clearly, he is not in fear as an adult but perhaps he is in fear of failing. Perhaps he had a difficult childhood which has resulted in this noticeable behaviour.

Nick Kyrgios's security blanket is his overshirt
Nick Kyrgios’s security blanket is his overshirt. Image: TV.

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It is not something to be ashamed of. I believe that about 30% of adults have a teddy bear when they go to bed at night. We are all flesh and blood. We are all ultimately a bit insecure and fearful. It’s just a matter of how much. As I understand it, security blankets work as a transition from the comfort of being provided by your mother to being independent. It’s a kind of transitional object which you can cling to as if you are clinging to your mother. Although I am unsure of the psychology. In fact, I’m not particularly interested in the psychology except for the fact that it is a sign that the person using a security blanket needs to feel secure and therefore they feel insecure.

Of course, playing a tennis match in front of millions of people on the Centre Court at Wimbledon or on Arthur Ashe court at Flushing Meadow is going to be stressful and depending upon your personality there will be a fear of failure, of not performing to your capabilities and letting down people who admire you. This may be the reason why he constantly grips this over-vest for security. And it’s unusual for a tennis player to wear two tops. In fact, I don’t know of any other tennis player who wears two shirts on a hot day. Therefore, it is possible that this over-vest is significant to Nick Kyrgios. He may be superstitious because he may have had success when wearing it and doesn’t want to discard it in order to recreate more success.

Update: Matthew Syed The Times journalist has written an article (July 6th) about how Kyrgios “self-sabotages due to an unbearable fear of failure”. And he also states that “All too often, Kyrgios remains in the adolescent comfort zone of blaming everyone except himself”. For these reasons he has never been able to fulfil what should be is destiny: winning a Grand Slam event and if not, succeeding more generally. Kyrgios has constantly berated his team at Flushing Meadow. He can’t accept personal failure.

In his last match at Flushing Meadow when beaten by Khachanov (who played amazing tennis) in the fifth set he was screaming at his team across the court during the first game while Khachanov was serving! Impolite at least and stupid to boot. Kyrgios will never fulfil his potential until he controls the grey matter between the ears but despite his great talent, I don’t believe he will master himself as his problems are too deeply embedded in his psyche.

NK security blanket
NK security blanket. Screenshot of the video from Flushing Meadow.

Yesterday it was reported that he has been charged in Australia for assaulting his former girlfriend. Judging by his behaviour in court, this should be unsurprising to anybody who has watched Kyrgios play tennis.

Matthew Syed says that Kyrgios’s self-esteem is bound up with his brilliance and it is intolerable for him to think about falling short after all the hard work. He has to protect his ego from the possibility of failure and to do that he sabotages his own chances so that defeat is never his fault. Apparently, he said on one occasion “It wasn’t me; it was the lack of sleep!” (because he left the pub at 4 in the morning!).

Please share your views in a comment. Have you noticed the hunched back and security blanket behaviour?

Definition of a security blanket: a familiar blanket or other piece of soft fabric held by a young child [or an adult] as a source of comfort.

The Times of Monday 11th 2022 reports that Andy Murray grew concerned about Kyrgios’s mental health during a training session a few years ago. He noticed signs of self-harming and it helped to save Nick Kyrgios’s life. Nick Kyrgios’s mother revealed this to the newspaper.

His mother, Nill Kyrgios, wept in interview with a news media network in Australia hours before Nick made his grand slam debut at Wimbledon. The family admit that he has had a turbulent past and that he went through a period of depression when he tried to drink his way out of it. He had disconnected from his family but now, it is said that he is in a much better place. His mother said “It’s nice to have him back. It’s really nice. I’m happy for him. He is happy and enjoying life and appreciating every little thing”.

All this supports what I have stated above that Nick Kyrgios is a vulnerable person with great talent. And his vulnerability due to his struggles with mental health results in this unfortunate behaviour on court.

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