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Kyrgios relaxing into contender status


Nick Kyrgios has resolved to block out all external expectation surrounding his Australian Open chances as the in-form local ramps up for his Melbourne Park tilt.

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The newly-minted Brisbane International champion admits added pressure comes with contesting a home grand slam as the nation’s top-ranked player.

Australian Wimbledon winner Pat Cash has joined a growing chorus touting Kyrgios as a genuine Open contender, as injuries continue to compromise the preparations of heavyweights including Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka.

But the 22-year-old, whose ranking rose to world No.17 yesterday, wasn’t willing to let any outside talk creep into his own mental calculations.

“I try to block it out most of the time because one week they’re saying something good and one week they’re saying something bad, so I guess I don’t really listen to it at all,” Kyrgios said.

“It’s not easy, but I think there’s a lot of spotlight on a lot of guys.

“After winning Brisbane there’s going to be more expectation to do well, but I’m not going to think about it right now.

“I’ve got a good week to get into my groove and we’ll see what happens.”

That week starts now after making it through last night’s Fast4 exhibition tournament in Sydney unscathed.

Injury-prone Kyrgios was plagued by a hampered knee during the Brisbane tournament and again played with strapping yesterday, though he insisted it did not pose any problems.

Should that good fortune continue, the priority will be ensuring his often-combustible mindset does not undo him as it did in last year’s Australian Open second-round exit, when the Canberra native’s composure and intensity unravelled to squander a two-set lead to Italian Andreas Seppi.

Kyrgios drew confidence from his ability to maintain focus throughout Sunday’s final triumph over Ryan Harrison, and planned to take a relaxed approached down to Melbourne.

“I’ll have a couple of light days now, head to Melbourne and get some good recovery, just enjoy Melbourne for a couple of days and then slowly get back on court and get ready,” he said.

“I’ve never really gone into the Australian Open winning a tournament or playing as well as I have been.

“So everything is there, I’ve just got to make sure my body is right and my mind is there.

“And who knows, I can do some good things next week.”


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