Nick Kyrgios admits he feels pressure at every tournament he competes in but that he is able to keep things in perspective, even when playing on home soil in Australia.
The 22-year-old Aussie is the No. 3 seed in Brisbane this week, and opens his campaign against his compatriot Matthew Ebden on Wednesday.
Ranked 21 in the world, Kyrgios has been in search of a Grand Slam breakthrough ever since he stormed onto the scene with a shock win over world No. 1 Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon to reach the quarter-finals three and a half years ago.
An opportunity once again presents itself when the Australian Open comes around in two weeks’ time.
“Of course there’s pressure. I feel like there’s pressure on me wherever I go. I’m always expected to do well. But I know what you mean, coming to Australia we’re all obviously looking to do well in our back yard, but for me it’s just another week,” Kyrgios told reporters in Brisbane.
“I know you can have five, six terrible weeks and you can have one good week and it turns around your whole year. So you’ve got to keep things in perspective. If you don’t do well here you can’t let it affect your whole year.”
Kyrgios has spoken multiple times about how difficult it is being on the road all year round for the tennis, and that he feels homesick when he’s unable to fly back to Australia throughout the season to see his family.
He says Australian players are at a disadvantage because the tour only stops by the country in January before moving to other parts of the world.
“I don’t know why we don’t have more tournaments in Australia. I think people would be more than willing to come back here throughout the year, I’m not too sure. But for us in Australia, I was on the road for four months last year and that’s pretty tough, I want to spend time with my family but you can’t, you’ve got to stay on the road,” he said.
“We have three tournaments here I think, 250, 500 and a Grand Slam. And I think you look at guys from America and Europe, they have so many tournaments and I think for Australians we’re a bit disadvantaged in that way, being away from home for so long.”
While still only 22, some feel Kyrgios could have done more by now based on the immense talent he possesses. He reached two Grand Slam quarter-finals before hitting the age of 20 but hasn’t made that stage at a major since the 2015 Australian Open. He has collected three ATP titles though, over the past two seasons, and sounds motivated to do more in 2018.
Players in the so-called NextGen age bracket (21-and-under) have been making waves on tour with the likes of Denis Shapovalov and Andrey Rublev enjoying a solid North American hard-court swing last summer.
“I still know that I’m, in the scheme of things, pretty young. But I know that obviously guys are doing great things at my age as well,” said Kyrgios.
“I know that I’m getting older. I love seeing these young guys come through, I think they all got amazing games. Especially – watching Shapovalov play at Laver Cup, for me, he’s really good. Guys like (Frances) Tiafoe, Rublev, these guys have all got game and it’s exciting for me to see them put it together.”
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