The twinkle in Nick Kyrgios' eyes said it all even though a mask hid his smile. The tennis firebrand is back and he's coming for the world, oozing happiness before boarding his flight for a comeback tour.
Fully vaccinated and mentally refreshed, Kyrgios declared he was ready to return to the circuit and jump in the deep end at Wimbledon even though he admits he doesn't know what to expect after 18 months at home.
Kyrgios' extended break in Canberra is over, arriving at the airport on Wednesday night with his family as he prepares to resume what has become a must-watch sporting career on the grandest stage of all next week.
He'll have just a handful of days to prepare for a Wimbledon assault and he has been hampered by injuries, but he says he's returning to one of his favourite tournaments in the best mental state of his career.
Kyrgios has battled injuries for the past two years despite his limited time on the court. He revealed he broke his foot last year, played through the pain of a torn meniscus at the Australian Open in February and struggled with pinched nerves in his neck this month.
"I'm certainly not 100 per cent, but I'm ready to give it a go. I wouldn't be going if I didn't feel I could make an impact," Kyrgios told The Canberra Times.
"This is going to be like a vacation ... it sounds ridiculous, but it's a change of scenery for me. Why not go out there and just enjoy it for the rest of the year.
"I don't know what's going to happen. I could get through one set at Wimbledon and my neck might pinch up ... but at least I've given it a go. Who knows I might make the fourth round or quarter-finals, that's the sort of career I've had. I'm just giving it a go."
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Kyrgios will burst back on to the tennis tour at the same tournament which launched his career seven years ago, when he shocked the world by beating Rafael Nadal as a teenager.
But he's returning to a vastly different stage to the one he left before the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world last year.
The public perception has been completely transformed, largely thanks to his smack down of tennis players - notably Novak Djokovic - flouting coronavirus rules and his fundraising efforts for Australians affected by the bushfire.
He's still the same fast-talking and fiercely competitive tennis player who divides opinion when passion explodes on the court, but he has mellowed in other ways.
"My perspective was always pretty good about tennis, but now I just don't sweat anything when it comes to tennis," Kyrgios said.
"I win or lose a match and I'm not bothered. I don't care what people say or expectation, it doesn't bother me any more.
"Even if I took five years off there would be expectation ... I watched the Wimbledon ad and my face was on it. I haven't even played in two years.
"I know I'm in the deep end, but I'm better equipped for it. I'm just going to go out there and play."
Playing just four tournaments since the start of 2020 has given Kyrgios the time away from the sport he admits he has loathed.
Kyrgios has had his two AstraZeneca doses to protect him against COVID-19 and said he was comfortable flying abroad despite not knowing when he and partner Chiara will return.
His stint abroad will include Wimbledon, a potential Olympic Games opportunity, the US hardcourt season, including the US Open, and the Laver Cup.
"I just became happier. That's it. Nothing bothers me anymore," Kyrgios said.
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