Kyrgios ready for French Open
Rising Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios believes he's ready to compete alongside the big guns of world tennis at the French Open.
Rising Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios believes he’s ready to compete alongside the big guns of world tennis at the French Open.
But mixing with them every day in the locker rooms is another matter.
Kyrgios, 18, will make his grand slam debut at Roland Garros after the injury withdrawal of countryman John Millman allowed him a late wildcard call-up.
After slashing his ranking by more than 600 places since winning the Australian Open junior title in January, Kyrgios is confident he won’t just be making up the numbers at the claycourt event.
But in a bid to stay grounded and focused, he wants to avoid bumping into the likes of his idol Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on a daily basis.
“I’ve made the choice not to go into the big guys’ locker room, just to stay in the (secondary) one,” Kyrgios said ahead of his opening round clash with tough veteran Radek Stepanek on Monday.
“There’s more space in there now, no-one’s in there.
“Also I think maybe seeing those guys all the time will probably get me thinking about things I don’t really need to be focusing on, so I’ll just keep quiet back at the other locker rooms.”
Some brushes with the big boys are inevitable at a Grand Slam and Kyrgios had no regrets at landing a chance practice hit with world No.1 Novak Djokovic on centre court earlier this week.
“I just put down my name looking for anyone (to practice with) and I checked an hour later and saw his name there and I was just like, ‘alright’,” Kyrgios said.
“Half an hour beforehand I had the headphones on, I was pretty nervous actually, but it ended up being a great hit. It was his birthday as well so it was a pretty good present for him,” he joked.
The youngest player in the draw could be forgiven for just wanting to make the most of the experience in Paris.
But Kyrgios, coached by Simon Rae, won’t be holding back against Stepanek.
“He’s obviously a great player but I’m going to go out there and give everything and I’m probably going to expect myself to do really well,” said Kyrgios, who won a Futures event in China last month.
“I’m going to be confident and I’ve been playing some really good tennis leading into the French Open.”
You can find more information in our Guide to Roland Garros 2013.