Nick Kyrgios enjoys a lighter moment during Wednesday's warm-up. Photo: Joe Armao
Wally Masur might have reached world No.15 during his career, but he says he just ''plugged away'' while current No.183 Nick Kyrgios ''might light it up'' on the world stage.
Kyrgios is the first genuine tennis star to emerge from Canberra since Masur, who played through the 1980s and early '90s, and the 18-year-old won his way into the second round of the Australian Open to play Benoit Paire on the Margaret Court Arena at 7pm on Thursday.
With both Lleyton Hewitt and Bernard Tomic knocked out in the first round, it left Kyrgios, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Matthew Ebden as the only Aussies to make the second round.
Benoit Paire stands in Nick Kyrgios' path as he seeks a date in the third round. Photo: Getty Images
Masur was excited by Kyrgios' hard-fought, four-set win in extreme heat in Melbourne on Tuesday, but he warned against too much expectation.
The former Daramalan student is playing in just his third major, after beating Radek Stepanek at the French Open and qualifying for the US Open last year.
''This kid's exciting,'' Masur said of Kyrgios.
''I kind of plugged away and made a living, this guy might light it up.
''I think his best is going to be pretty damn good.
''We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, it's another level of experience for him.''
Kyrgios has struggled with injury for the past few months, first with a niggling elbow problem and more recently a sore shoulder.
He needed treatment on the shoulder during his first-round win over Benjamin Becker, but his coach Simon Rea said there would be no issue with it against Paire.
Rea was also excited by Kyrgios' performance. He hoped his young charge would apply the same effort on Thursday.
''One thing I don't question with young Nick is he'll enjoy it and he'll love being a little more in the spotlight than he was yesterday,'' Rea said.
''He'll thrive on that experience and be all the better for it.
''In seeing him out there yesterday, I thought he was the beneficiary of being in that environment both in Paris and in New York, when he won his way through qualifying, so I think he feels that he's been there now on that stage and he knows what to expect. And five sets doesn't present the element of the unknown that it once did.''
Kyrgios did some rehabilitation work on Wednesday and had his main training session at 5pm.
He celebrated his victorious Aussie Open debut with a Greek dinner with family and friends in Richmond, just around the corner from Melbourne's Flinders Park.
Then his focus switched to preparing for Paire.
''So is it the morning after the night before or the morning before the big day?'' Kyrgios tweeted.
''Either way hard work is the only way forwards!''
His parents instilled that hard work ethic in him.
The family is down in Melbourne to support Kyrgios through his first Aussie Open campaign and he has a contingent of about 20 cheering him on, including his adopted Melbourne family, the Gucciones, with whom Kyrgios stays in Victoria.
That support will only continue to grow as Canberra and Australia gets behind him.
Neither of his parents, George and Nel, sat in the player's box, instead opting to find a spot away from the camera's prying eyes.
Nel said she wore her heart on her sleeve whenever her son was playing and she didn't want everyone to see her ''shouting and screaming''.
She said they had always impressed on Kyrgios the importance of fighting out the match, regardless of the circumstances.
''It's a great moment, I guess - really proud that he's stuck it out through all the hard times and the good times,'' Nel said.
''It's heartbreaking in the period there where his level dropped a bit [against Becker], you're thinking just, 'c'mon, get back there and fight,' which he did. ''If you're there, you've got to give it everything, everybody's in the same position … it's all the same: you've just got to make your own luck.''