Nick Kyrgios believes he has learned to accept the pressure ahead of next month’s Australian Open, saying he has a “legitimate chance” of winning a Grand Slam.
After years of underperformance, the talented but wayward Kyrgios won the Citi Open in Washington and reached his first Grand Slam singles final at Wimbledon, where he lost in four sets to Novak Djokovic.
The 27-year-old, who won the Australian Open men’s doubles title alongside compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis in January, also reached the quarter-finals of the US Open, losing in five sets against Karen Khachanov.
“There’s a lot of pressure there, especially with the Australian Open and everyone in Australia expects a lot from me”
Kyrgios’ form has now put him among Grand Slam contenders ahead of the 2023 major opener in Melbourne.
His best result in the Australian Open singles tournament was a quarter-final berth in 2015, but expectations are much higher this time around.
“I completely understand going to the match court with all this expectation that ‘Nick Kyrgios (has) a legitimate chance to win a Grand Slam now,'” Kyrgios said.
“There’s a lot of pressure there, especially with the Australian Open and everyone in Australia expects big things from me. Sometimes it’s a lot to deal with. Being in the spotlight isn’t easy.
“I feel like I’ve accepted that and risen to that challenge. It’s not easy, I’ve worked really hard to try to channel it, internalize it and use it as fuel “, added Kyrgios, who competes in the Diriyah Tennis Cup in Saudi Arabia.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal will be looking to win his third Australian Open crown, while Novak Djokovic will look to extend his record nine titles in Melbourne to equalize the Spaniard from 22 Grand Slams.
Carlos Alcaraz will play a major for the first time as the world No. 1 as he seeks to win back-to-back majors following his triumph at the US Open in September.
The 2023 Australian Open will take place at Melbourne Park from January 16-29.