In a new feature on Nick Kyrgios, the former basketball talent hopes to be the next big thing in Australian tennis.
Sidelined by an elbow injury toward the end of this season, the 18-year-old Krygios finished the year No. 186, just a few spots off his career-high of No. 177. But after wins over Radek Stepanek at the French Open and playing David Ferrer tough at the US Open, the former junior No. 1 is planning a big move in 2014.
“Juniors was juniors,” Kyrgios told Adrian Proszenko of the Age. “Being the No.1 junior in the world didn’t mean anything. It was obviously a big part of my life … but there’s a lot of work to do. Next year I want to be in the top 100, the top 50 even. That’s a very reachable goal. I’ve got to keep working hard and be around the right people and I think I’ll get there.”
Kyrgios, who at 6-foot-4 towered above his competition in the junior ranks, says he modeled his game after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. And he admitted, that playing with the stars was intimidating.
“My locker in the US Open was right next to Roger’s and [Juan] Del Potro’s,” he said. “I was a bit intimidated but I’d qualified there so I felt I’d earned my spot. Those guys, you can’t take away what they’ve done for the sport and you’ve got to respect them. Hopefully one day I can go out there and compete against those guys, which would be a dream come true.”
Kyrgios was born in Canberra. His father is of Greek decent, mother Malaysian. With Bernard Tomic, Kyrgios and another youngster, 17-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis, Australia appears to have a very bright tennis future.
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