2014 saw a new potential superstar in world tennis burst on to the scene in Australian Nick Kyrgios.
A phenomenal performance at Wimbledon in July saw him go all the way to the Quarter Finals, with Kyrgios breaking into the top 100 in the world in the process.
Now he’ll return to his home tournament looking to better his Second Round defeat last year with newfound confidence and belief.
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1. Home crowd advantage
Kyrgios’ fanbase has developed rapidly over the last 12 months and they will be out in force in Melbourne to back their man. A hostile crowd can be enough to get under even the calmest, level headed player and the Australian crowd can be a huge asset to Kyrgios for this exact reason. If they can help unnerve opposition players while spurring Kyrgios on to find that little bit extra in his game, you can expect more upsets from this teenage sensation.
2. He’s already beaten the best
During his fantastic Wimbledon run, Kyrgios well and truly announced himself to the tennis world by knocking out the great Rafael Nadal in the Fourth Round. He has also claimed the scalps of Richard Gasquet, Mikhail Youzhny and Radek Stepanek. His ability to beat players of this calibre shows that it would be foolish to write off Kyrgios in any match up and will instill him with the belief that he is good enough to beat the best, which he will have to do to win competitions such as this.
3. He hasn’t been worked out
A lot of tennis games in the modern era are played out long before the two players reach the court. Coaches and players spend days of preparation before a match working on opponents’ weaknesses for them to exploit and if executed correctly, it’s this kind of preparation that wins matches. Given that Kyrgios hasn’t been on the circuit very long and is constantly developing and improving his game, it will be hard for players to pick his weaknesses. Without being able to exploit his weaknesses, opponent players just might fall in to a trap of playing to his strengths.
4. The exuberance of youth
Above all else, Kyrgios is still a carefree 19 year old who is living a dream. In his match with Rafael Nadal, the shot of the match was a rear-forehand, half-volley winner from between his legs that David Polkinghorne of The Canberra Times labelled “freakish” and “audacious”. It’s this kind of spontaneity and audaciousness that can create game changing moments and with Kyrgios hell bent on having fun out on court, you can expect more creative strokes like this one.
5. His juniors record
It is also worth noting that before bursting onto the scene, Kyrgios had a successful Junior’s record, especially in Australia. He won the Junior Australian Open in 2013 aged 17 and he can draw on the experience and memory of this to help put him in a good frame of mind going into this year’s competition.
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