NIck Kyrgkios momentarily basked in the love of the New York crowd as he followed Serena Williams onto court on opening day at the US Open.
But despite posting an emotional 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) first-round win over great tennis mate Thanasi Kokkinakis, the 27-year-old Aussie was yearning more than ever for home.
“I’m exhausted. 99 per cent of the tennis Tour doesn’t understand what it’s like to go on the road this long,” the No. 25 Wimbledon finalist said.
“There are other Australians that have been on the road five, six months. I’m closing in on four months.
“It’s brutal. There’s babies being born in my family, mum is sick, dad is not well. I have to continue to travel. Because we’re from Australia, we don’t have any choice.”
Kyrgios said he could take either an early loss here or a deep run – each has its positives.
“I have no choice but to wake up and try to put in my best performance. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying, like, it’s hard.
“People don’t understand everything that I’ve got going on at the moment.
“I miss home a lot. So does my (travelling) girlfriend. She misses her family. Newborn baby in that family, too.
“We have to continue to travel and play because we don’t have the luxury of going home every week if we want to.
“It’s just another challenge that I have to deal with. Last stop here before home, so… Let’s see what we can do here.”