Mercurial Nick Kyrgios wants to keep an even keel as the pressure of home expectations weighs on him at this year’s Australian Open in Melbourne.
The tempestuous 22-year-old has the brilliance and talent to win his national Open, yet it is his brittle state of mind that oftens malfunctions to his detriment.
Roger Federer rates Kyrgios a threat to the established order in the year’s opening Grand Slam, but says the volatile Australian is a work in progress.
“When he’s on, he’s on and he’s really difficult to beat… for him it’s day to day and then week by week, can you keep it up?” Federer said this week.
“For him it’s maybe in his mind and his body because he still needs to work much more than he currently is.”
Kyrgios won his first home ATP Tour title at the Brisbane International and is looking to go further than a quarter-final appearance in Melbourne three years ago.
He is facing Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva on his favourite Hisense Arena court in Monday’s first round and could face world number three Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round, but he is taking it all in his stride.
“I’d like to do well. I’m not going to say quarter-finals, semi-finals, anything like that. I just want to take it one round at a time,” Kyrgios said ahead of his fifth Australian Open campaign.
“Everyone started the year hungry. They can play great quality tennis. I don’t want to look ahead at all. I want to take care of business one round at a time.”
Kyrgios’s mental strength and attitude always come up in the conversation about his title chances, but he says he wants to keep things at an even keel.