Nick Kyrgios has a hit on the new-look Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park on Thursday. Photo: Vince Caligiuri
Australian tennis great Todd Woodbridge says Canberra's Nick Kyrgios is ''one of the brightest talents in the world'' and could be granted an Australian Open wildcard as early as next week.
The former Tennis Australia head of professional tennis said Kyrgios wouldn't need to play in the Australian Open qualifying tournament because of what he's achieved on the senior tour this year.
Tennis Australia will start announcing wildcards for the first major of the year early next week.
Woodbridge said Kyrgios' rapid rise from world No.838 at the start of the year to 182 was ''extraordinary''.
The 16-time doubles grand slam champion was confident Kyrgios had overcome the elbow injury that troubled him late in the year and said the 18-year-old was capable of ''causing some upsets'' in next month's home Open.
''Nick is hopefully going to be one of the highlights of the Australian summer,'' Woodbridge enthused.
''I think that the selectors would have him secured into that [wildcard] spot given what he's achieved.
''I would be incredibly surprised if he didn't get that chance at the Australian Open in the main draw.
''He's got the capability of causing some upsets. He loves competing.
''What I love about Nick is when the opportunity to play a tournament like this [comes up] he's not scared of it, he embraces it and goes for it.
''That's something you can't teach and he's got that X-factor about him. We track performances of all the juniors in the world over a 20-year period and he's tracking as a top-10 player.
''So if the body and the mind hold up, that's where his performances [so far] have been. That's pretty impressive.''
While Woodbridge was singing his praises, Kyrgios was taking a more measured approach.
He was in Melbourne to help open the new $160 million Margaret Court Arena on Thursday.
Kyrgios has had a standout year, winning on debut at the French Open, qualifying for the US Open, as well as making his Davis Cup debut in Australia's return to the world group.
He started the year winning the Australian Open boys singles title and was the world No.1 junior male.
''Nothing's guaranteed,'' he said of a likely wildcard.
''But if I'm fortunate enough to get one, I'll take it with my arms wide open and then give it all I've got.''
The men's wildcards for the Aussie Open are decided by Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter and coach Josh Eagle. Then they're ratified by Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley.
Kyrgios already has a wildcard for the Brisbane International, which begins on December 29, and could also get one for the International Sydney the following week.
The Australian Open begins on January 13.
''He's one of our superstars and had the biggest and most substantial rise through the world rankings of any player,'' Tiley said.
''Depending on what he does in the lead-in, he'll be a good chance for a wildcard.''