Nick Kyrgios to unseat Tomic?
Teenage tennis sensation Nick Kyrgios won a legion of new fans at the Australian Open on Thursday night, as pundits begin to wonder whether Bernard Tomic has missed his chance.PT1M29S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-30yqf 620 349 January 17, 2014
He's still a grand slam novice, but Nick Kyrgios' management claims the Canberra teenager can build a global brand to rival the game's greats as he prepares to cash in on a spectacular Australian Open debut.
Kyrgios, 18, has been thrust into the spotlight after his fighting round-two loss in Melbourne, which has earned international praise from legends including Jim Courier and Billie Jean King.
Kyrgios, ranked 183 in the world, won $50,000 prizemoney for making it to the second round of his third grand slam tournament.
But the flow-on effects have begun, with offers of sponsorship already rolling in after his entertaining and fighting five-set loss to French world No.28 Benoit Paire.
However, Kyrgios' manager, John Morris, of UK agency Global Tennis Connections, said the company wasn't rushing to link with anyone.
''It's been manic and the tennis world is excited by Nick,'' Morris said.
''We've had things from office chair companies to drink brands. Some we've said no to straight away.
''We're building a brand around Nick and we're very selective about who we're allowing to be associated with that. It has to be right.
''Look at the brands of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, they're high-end and they're getting offers all the time. I see Nick going the same way, but it has to be the right fit.
''We're not building this for a somebody that's going to be a 50, 60 or 70-ranked player. Look at the brands already involved with him like Nike, they see where he can go. I believe he will go right to the top and be contending for the biggest honours.
''We know what Nick is capable of, it's not a surprise there's plenty of interest with his brand of tennis, his showmanship and who he is as a person.'' After starting the year with Nike and tennis equipment maker Yonex as his two main sponsors, corporate backers have moved quickly to get a piece of the former junior world No.1.
Kyrgios' Twitter follower count went from 4000 to more than 14,000 at a rapid rate and his website crashed when 250,000 visitors tried to log on. When the website recovered, more than 530,000 fans visited his page.
Australia's Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter has warned Kyrgios to rein in his on-court ''strut''.
Kyrgios admitted he could learn from the emotional output during his last match, which may have contributed to cramping. But Kyrgios vowed to continue to entertain.
''There's always a right time to show emotion on the court and as I get older that will come with maturity,'' Kyrgios said. ''I'll know how to handle everything better next time with all the emotion.''
Kyrgios has declared he is ready to step up for Australia in the Davis Cup singles if he is chosen for the tie against France this month.
Bernard Tomic's injury and Kyrgios' performance at the Australian Open could pave the way for him to join Lleyton Hewitt.