Kyrgios has sights on Open season
Canberra's teen tennis sensation Nick Kyrgios. Photo: Karleen Minney
He's on the verge of breaking into the Australian Open and tipped to earn a Davis Cup call-up in the next year, but Wally Masur has urged officials to give Nick Kyrgios time to develop as the next tennis star.
A stellar year has catapulted Kyrgios from boy prodigy to the cusp of his first senior grand slam if he's granted a discretionary wildcard into the Australian Open next month.
While Bernard Tomic is struggling with his game and has been dropped from Davis Cup, Kyrgios is letting his play do the talking.
He's been so good Australian Institute of Sport coach Brent Larkham is backing Kyrgios to be in contention to be a part of Pat Rafter's Davis Cup team next year.
His form suggests he can handle the step to the next level after he launched himself into calculations for a Tennis Australia wildcard with strong performances in Melbourne earlier this week.
It's the opportunity Kyrgios has been craving since establishing himself as one of the world's best juniors.
But while Masur, a former world No.15 and Davis Cup coach, labelled Kyrgios a star of the future, he warned officials not to rush his ''transition from boy to man''.
''You don't want to go down the path of giving him a wildcard too early, it doesn't do anyone any good,'' Masur told The Canberra Times.
''If you throw him in too early it doesn't do him any favours … personally I'd hold him back but I can't say how [the officials are thinking].
''But if he did get that chance, I think he would acquit himself very well … there's no doubt he's one of Australia's brightest prospects.''
Kyrgios returned to Canberra on Friday to begin a brief break before starting his preparations for the junior Australian Open next month.
His form in the past year has been superb, claiming the French Open and Wimbledon junior doubles titles and lifting his boys' ranking to No.3.
The 17-year-old was crowned Australian under-18 champion last week. But perhaps the most poignant moment of his rapidly developing career was toppling Sam Groth, the No.1 seed with one of the world's fastest serves, at the wildcard play-offs.
He was then about to dispose of Matthew Barton before severe cramps set in while leading the fifth set 4-0 and he had to be helped from the court.
Now his hopes of realising his Australian Open dream sit in the hands of Tennis Australia officials.
Had Kyrgios won the play-off, he would have been guaranteed a start at Melbourne Park but he must now wait to see if officials throw him a lifeline.
And if he does get his chance, Larkham has no doubt Kyrgios could handle the step up. Kyrgios - who finished year 12 at Daramalan College this year - has already been part of Australia's Davis Cup squad as an orange boy.
''I really believe he can be a Davis Cup player for Australia, he has things to improve but he can be as good as he wants to be,'' Larkham said.
''He's definitely on the radar, everyone is talking about him. He's the best kid going around in the country for his age.
''I don't think he's too far off … hopefully next time Pat has him at the Davis Cup that Nick gets an invite to one and he can be more than the orange boy.
''He is ready to step up against men, but he's just got to get his senior ranking up and set himself the goal of getting in the top 100.
''We can all see what a big and good game he's got, it's just a question of whether he's physically and mentally ready to win games at the Australian Open yet.''
Kyrgios has been working with Des Tyson for the past year to take his game to a higher level.
Tyson is a former coach of Australian doubles legends Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.
''If Nick is lucky enough to receive any sort of handout [to enter the senior Australian Open] I'm sure he'll be ready for it,'' Tyson said.
''He's still developing, you can't just fast forward and turn a boy into a man overnight, but he's certainly tracking on the right schedule.''
Masur - an ACT Sport Hall of Fame member - has been keeping a close eye on Kyrgios since he broke on to the circuit.
If Kyrgios doesn't earn a wildcard from officials, he will concentrate on the junior Australian Open and his bid to win his first major singles crown.
''The thing I like about Nick is that he's big and he can finish points, that's what the top players in the world can do,'' Masur said.
''He's flamboyant, but I don't mind that. It's not typically Australian, but he's got a bit of flair and he's not afraid of anything.
''To take the next step it's about what it means to him and how much he's willing to sacrifice to be a potentially great player on the tour.''