Kyrgios arrives at Wimbledon
He's passed through the All England Club gates many times but only now does teenager Nick Kyrgios feel like he's truly arrived at Wimbledon.
He’s passed through the All England Club gates many times but only now does teenager Nick Kyrgios feel like he’s truly arrived at Wimbledon.
The hottest prospect in Australian tennis has spent the past three years competing in juniors at SW19 but will fulfil a lifelong dream on Tuesday when he makes his senior debut at the grasscourt Grand Slam.
“It’s completely different,” the 19-year-old said.
“You walk around as a junior and you see all these top guys and you sort of have that feeling that it’s not really your tournament.
“But being here and being given the opportunity to share locker rooms with all the top guys and hit with them, it’s a great experience.”
Kyrgios will complete a full senior Grand Slam set after earning a main draw wildcard courtesy of an impressive win in a second-tier Challenger event last week.
Having already played at the other three majors – winning matches at the Australian Open and Roland Garros – Wimbledon represents the final frontier of Kyrgios’ transition to the men’s tour.
He believes Wimbledon could represent his best chance for a major title in the future and is confident of making a winning start against 34-year-old Frenchman Stephane Robert in the first round.
“I have a pretty good draw,” Kyrgios said.
“I’ve played him before and I’ve won (at a Challenger event in Sydney last year) so I know what to expect.
“I’m confident but, that said, I’ve just got to go out there and play each point at a time and not be too hard on myself.”
Kyrgios won eight straight matches to win his third Challenger title of the year in Nottingham last week, beating three higher-ranked players including compatriot Sam Groth in the final.
While the 193cm teenager’s booming serve makes him a threat on all surfaces, he feels grass is where he could become most dangerous.
“I think it could be at the top (of my preferred surfaces),” Kyrgios said.
“My serve is my main weapon obviously and I like to be able to return well and those are two things that can really help you on grass.”
Kyrgios was ranked outside the world’s top 800 early last year but rocketed up the standings when he won on his major debut at Roland Garros.
While his progress has been hampered slightly be injury over the past 12 months, Kyrgios has reached a career high of No.145 on the back of his recent form.
Any wins this week would see him push even further towards the top 100 and automatic Grand Slam qualification.
“I think top 100 is a good goal … but I’m just glad being back on the court, playing Grand Slams, Davis Cup, travelling around and being out there,” Kyrgios said.
Victory in the first round for Kyrgios would set up a meeting with French 13th seed Richard Gasquet or Australian qualifier James Duckworth.