Australian junior tennis star Nick Kyrgios. Photo: Wayne Taylor
Canberra teenager Nick Kyrgios has declared his clash with world No.4 David Ferrer as the ''best possible draw'' as the rising star prepares to leave his mark on the US Open on Tuesday.
And despite being the youngest player in the 128-man draw, Kyrgios says he feels as if he belongs on the big stage on the eve of his second grand slam appearance.
Kyrgios will play French Open finalist Ferrer on Tuesday morning, Australian time, on one of the main courts in New York.
Ferrer has $20 million in career prizemoney while Kyrgios, 18, is only just starting his journey.
Qualifier Kyrgios could have avoided a seeded player in the opening round if he was lucky. But far from daunted by Ferrer, Kyrgios told The Canberra Times: ''I think it's the best possible draw to get, especially at such a young age.
''You want that experience, you want it at a grand slam and it's the best thing to play one of the best players in the world. That's why you play the sport. I'm excited and a bit nervous, but you train to compete against the best.''
Ferrer is the No.4 seed behind Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.
Kyrgios is getting used to rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in world tennis.
His locker at Flushing Meadows is near former world No.1 Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro.
At his first grand slam appearance at the French Open, Kyrgios opted to stay in the secondary locker room to avoid bumping into Nadal and his idol Roger Federer.
In New York he has no choice because there's only one change room.
Kyrgios was granted a late wildcard to the French Open when fellow Australian John Millman withdrew.
But after winning three qualifying matches, Kyrgios feels as if he has earned his spot alongside the best players in the world.
''The locker room at the US Open is probably my favourite of all of the big ones,'' Kyrgios said.
''I feel a bit more comfortable … especially because I've earned the right in the main draw. You feel like you belong a bit more.
''The French Open taught me the level of grand slam tennis is extraordinary. You have to back it up every day.''
Kyrgios started the year with his major goal to break into the top 300 in world rankings.
He has jumped more than 600 rankings to be at 215. After his match against Ferrer he will likely break the 200 barrier and then the former Daramalan College student has his sights on a spot in the top 150.
His stunning rise has earned him a spot in Australia's Davis Cup team and he will train with Lleyton Hewitt and Bernard Tomic in Munich next month.
The Davis Cup team will play Poland next month.
The reigning Australian Open junior champion came of age in the senior ranks with a shock first-round win over Czech veteran Radek Stepanek at the French Open.
Kyrgios' clash with fourth-seeded Ferrer is the feature night match on the Louis Armstrong Stadium and the young Aussie is relishing another appearance on a big stage.
''I definitely like the spotlight a bit more than playing on a back court in a tournament,'' he said.