Kyrgios to get No.1 spot after Open win
DESPAIR not, 17-year-old tennis ace Nick Kyrgios has restored battered local pride at the Australian Open. Not one of Australia's 16 main-draw singles entrants made the second week of the Open at Melbourne Park.
But on Monday, Kyrgios will be elevated to world No.1 junior and favourite for the junior boys' championship.
Inspired by Roger Federer and modelling his game on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Kyrgios backed up his success at last week's Open lead-up event at Traralgon with an ominous first-round win in Melbourne.
"Obviously there was a lot of expectation on my performance this week and I thought I started off well" ... Nick Kyrgios. Photo: Getty Images
The powerhouse third seed crushed Turkey's Cem Ilkel 6-3, 6-1 to lead several Australian juniors into the second round.
''Obviously there was a lot of expectation on my performance this week and I thought I started off well,'' Kyrgios said. ''There's a lot of pressure but going on last week I've got a lot of confidence and belief in my game now, so I'm really glad my form's there.
''I get the No.1 ranking tomorrow so possibly winning the whole thing would be my main goal now. But I'm just trying to not think about that yet, take it one match at a time, get through these early rounds first and, hopefully if I get far enough, then I can start thinking about that.''
Kyrgios said reaching the summit was the reward for four years of hard work and devotion to the game.
''Obviously it's a great accomplishment. There's been some really good players that have been the No.1 junior,'' he said.
Kyrgios last year completed the French Open-Wimbledon junior doubles double with Victorian Andrew Harris.
''That's where my serve started to really kick on,'' he said. ''I've been getting a lot of confidence from that and my transitioning into the net has gotten a lot better in singles as well, not being so afraid at hitting the ball and coming to the net. I'm really confident coming to the net now.''
Kyrgios, who is hoping to follow in the footsteps of countryman Bernard Tomic (2009) and Luke Saville (2012) as an Open junior champion, said Federer and Tsonga were his heroes. ''Federer, he's an unbelievable role model,'' Kyrgios said.