Naomi Osaka on feeling a connection with Nick Kyrgios: "I've always thought, 'That's my brother from a different universe'"

Naomi Osaka says Nick Kyrgios is her brother from another universe
Naomi Osaka says Nick Kyrgios is her brother from another universe

Naomi Osaka recently claimed that she and Nick Kyrgios are alike, leading the latter to admit that while that may be true, there is a difference between their respective coping mechanisms.

Last week, Osaka sat down for a candid chat with Kyrgios as part of her media company Hana Kuma's YouTube series 'GOOD TROUBLE with Nick Kyrgios. During the interaction, the former World No. 1 disclosed that she always felt an affinity towards tennis' wild child, as she and him both are people of color.

"I've seen you on TV and around the scene and stuff... and I've always thought to myself, like, 'That's like my brother from a different universe,' you know?" Naomi Osaka said on GOOD TROUBLE with Nick Kyrgios. "Because there's not a lot of melanated folks in tennis? So, I just kind of feel an alliance, sometimes?"

Nick Kyrgios also admittedly felt a close association with the 26-year-old. Having said that, the Aussie did illustrate a major difference between the two — how they manage stress.

"Yeah, definitely. Obviously I resonate with some of the things you've done in the sport. I feel like the difference between you and I is you've dealt with that whirlwind a little better than I did. I was, I guess, one of the first 'NextGen' player to come on the scene and have success against these big players," Kyrgios said (7:15).
"And the spotlight consumed me a little bit. Tennis is one of the biggest sports in Australia," he added (7:34). "It took a toll on myself, on my family. We didn't know how to deal with anything, you know. We weren't rich growing up, so. Having some money come through... took us all by storm."

Nick Kyrgios to Naomi Osaka: "You needed to do what I was afraid to do"

Nick Kyrgios and Naomi Osaka at a media event in 2022
Nick Kyrgios and Naomi Osaka at a media event in 2022

Furthermore, Nick Kyrgios praised Naomi Osaka's determination and asserted that it was wise of her to take a break from tennis in late 2021.

"And, I guess, I just didn't deal with it the best," Nick Kyrgios said (7:45). "And I guess you (Naomi Osaka) had, I'm not gonna say, like, you had the 'balls' to do it, but you took the time away from the sport, you needed to do what I was afraid to do."

The 28-year-old, however, still maintained that he was happy with his career regardless of his shortcomings.

"I guess I've had some great achievements, and maybe if I was like you and dealt with my anxiety, depression or my tennis a little better. Maybe, I would've been more successful," he added (7:57). "But I wouldn't change a thing. I look back at my career and it's been so fun, and I feel like I definitely could see myself getting back to a level where I am competing for Grand Slams."

Osaka, meanwhile, has had a respectable season this year, having won eight of her 15 matches on the WTA Tour thus far. Nick Kyrgios, on his part, was out of action for virtually the entire 2023 ATP Tour season due to wrist and knee injuries and fans now await his on-court return.

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