Kyrgios Aces Charity Work
Despite being just 22 years old, Nick Kyrgios is proving that it is never too early to begin charity work. Earlier this year, Kyrgios announced his support for the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, upping what was originally $10 per ace the rest of the season after the tragedy to $50 per ace. It was not the first time that Kyrgios had donated to charity, as he also pledged $50 per ace he hit to the Elena Baltacha Foundation in 2015 as of 7 October.
The Australian has launched the NK Foundation, which strives to “increase access to, and provide sport facilities to underprivileged and disadvantaged youths”. Kyrgios is currently planning a facility of his own to allow children those opportunities. He donated $100,000 of his appearance fee from a recent exhibition against Juan Martin del Potro in Argentina straight to his NK Foundation. Kyrgios also recently wrote in the Players Voice about how he has found his purpose in charity:
"A couple of years ago I had a vision: to build a facility for disadvantaged and underprivileged kids where they could hang out, be safe and feel like they were part of a family. There’d be tennis courts and basketball courts and a gym and an oval to kick the footy. There’d be things to eat and beds to sleep in.
A few months ago, I discussed this with my Mum, Norlaila, and my Brother, Christos. It’s all I’ve been thinking about outside of tennis since then. When I’m not playing, training or traveling, I’m working on this.
We are currently in the process of scoping out land in Melbourne and looking for organisations and businesses to partner with us. This dream is going to become a reality.
For the first time, I feel like there is a reason for me to be doing what I’m doing. Tennis is a great life – we’re well paid and the perks are pretty good – but it can feel empty if you’re just doing it for the money.
I know what it’s all for now. You’ve probably heard me say a few times over the years that I don’t want tennis badly enough. But when I’m working on the NK Foundation and our Melbourne facility, I cast my mind forward to all the disadvantaged kids I’ll be helping. I’m playing for them now.
I love kids. I get more happiness from helping kids out and watching them succeed than I do from my own wins on the tennis tour. It’s always been that way.
I remember Piotr with happiness and sadness. He was a little guy with terminal brain cancer. The We The People organisation put us in touch.
I had a hit-up with Piotr instead of a practice session before my match at the Australian Open this year.
Piotr said it was one of the best days of his life but, honestly, I’m not sure which of us had the better day! It was awesome.
Piotr passed away a few months later. I will never forget him.
FROM THE HEART
If my vision is realised, it’s my hope that I’ll be remembered for this more than anything I have done or will do on the tennis court.
I’m going to be hands-on whenever I’m home. I’ll spend a few days catching up with everyone in Canberra and then I’ll drive to Melbourne to get stuck in at the facility.
I’ll run tennis camps, shoot hoops, cook, clean-up… whatever is needed.
I don’t reckon there can be anything better in life than giving kids a chance when they otherwise wouldn’t have had one.
Everything should be well under way by the time the Australian Open comes around. There are more meetings planned for this week and we’re in negotiations to gauge whether local councils and the Victorian state government would like to provide support or grants.
We’ll know more about the timeframes when we determine whether we’re building everything from scratch or taking over an existing facility and upgrading it in line with my vision.
Some of the factors we’re considering when selecting the land include: a lower socio-economic area to be closest to those who need us, proximity to transport lines so kids can get there and more.
We’re already well down the track of planning a fundraising event with Tennis Australia early in the New Year. We’re also speaking to commercial partners.
We’re doing this in Melbourne because it’s the sporting capital of Australia. It’s a big population and it has a bit more going on than where I’m from. Sorry, Canberra! You know I love you…
I’ve been lucky enough to travel around the world and I want this facility to be unlike any of those I’ve seen elsewhere.
This isn’t a replica of something I’ve seen elsewhere.
This is from me and my family. And it’s from the heart."
Read more of Kyrgios' story in the Players Voice.