Nick Kyrgios has warned his Australian Open rivals to be on the alert because they have never seen this incarnation of the polarizing star before.
Nick Kyrgios called it, the showman is serious.
This newfound attitude is the result of a stunning 2022 that has self-affirmed that he’s “one of the best players in the world” and that means he’s coming to the Australian Open with the expectation of winning.
Before that, he came to Melbourne Park to entertain, have fun with the crowd and see what happens with the results.
On Thursday, Kyrgios spoke a different tune, citing the long drought Australia’s men have had in local slam and also how moved he was by Ash Barty’s triumph last year.
“It’s a bit different this time I’m one of the favourites, normally I’m kind of a dark horse, now obviously after the year I’ve had I’m one of the favourites,” he said.
“It’s also something new for me, this is the first time I’ve really had a slam feeling like I’m one of the guys who can really take the trophy and knock on the door.
“So I don’t know how I’m going to feel when I get out of there, I usually have this ‘nothing to lose’ thing and put on a show, but I really have to try to find that balance. ”
He admits this will be “very difficult” given the pressures of being Australia’s great white hope.
“Obviously, Ash Barty was the only person who was able to handle the pressure of being home and getting it done in the last ten years. She is the only person who was able to do this. ‘ said Kyrgios.
“Me and Thanasia (Kokkinakis) did it in doubles last year but it doesn’t even equal singles.
“We’re still trying to find those answers. It’s so much fun being out here and having all the support, but at the end of the day you have to have a W and I’m going to find that out.
He will draw on Barty’s momentous win last year, which broke a 44-year drought for Melbourne locals. The No. 19 is chasing an even longer hoodoo with Mark Edmondson, the youngest Australian man to lift the trophy in 1976.
After last year’s run to the Wimbledon final and Flushing Meadows quarter-finals, Kyrgios is confident he can shake off the left knee and ankle injuries that have limited his build-up and challenge for his home title.
“I’m one of the best players in the world, so I definitely go into the Australian Open, into every tournament, with confidence,” said Kyrgios.
“I feel like I’ve proven I can go deep in a Grand Slam and with the support of my team and everyone else and hopefully Australia behind me, it’s going to be a good couple of weeks.”
Kyrgios, 27, recalls looking affectionately at Barty with her trophy after the biggest win of her career.
“I’ve seen it. I waited in the corridors and just watched her win the event, then she walked through the corridors and just sucked it up with her team,” Kyrgios said.
“I don’t wish I was or take inspiration from it, I’ve just almost just observed the relief. I could feel the relief on her shoulders.
“And that’s special – I think someone who worked very hard and expected so much finally made it in Australia, I just smiled and was happy for them.
“I’m not a jealous person who says ‘I wish that was me,’ but there was just something special to see her hugging her family and everyone who was with her at the time.
“Hopefully I’d be happy for every Aussie, every man (champion) one day.”
KYRGIO’S OFFICIAL INVESTMENT IN THE NBL SIDE
– Matt Logue
It’s official – Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios is set to join the South East Melbourne Phoenix ownership group in a bid for a major coup for the club and a booming NBL competition.
As News Corp revealed last September, Kyrgios has been in talks with Phoenix for a stake for months.
The tennis ace and Wimbledon finalist is close friends with South East Melbourne owner Romie Chaudhari.
Long impressed by Chaudhari’s plans for the Phoenix, Kyrgios also wanted to play a part in the club’s success.
Because of this, he joined the club as an ambassador early in the NBL season, much to the surprise of the Sydney Kings.
Kyrgios was a regular at Kings games, played pick-up basketball with the likes of rising guard Biwali Bayles and was even the face of the franchise’s celebrity game last season.
Now he has jumped from Sydney to south-east Melbourne in the biggest heist since the Kings last-minute stole Andrew Bogut from United in 2018.
Kyrgios will join a Chaudhari-managed Phoenix ownership group that includes current NBA star John Wall of the Los Angeles Clippers and former NBA players Al Harrington, Josh Childress, Dante Exum and Zach Randolph.
“I’m really excited to be coming on board with the Phoenix and my buddy Romie,” said Kyrgios, who enjoys basketball and is a passionate supporter of the NBA’s Boston Celtics.
“I love the vision he shared with me and my team and I are really impressed with the organization’s achievements in a short period of time.
“I know I have a lot to contribute to the growth of the franchise and I’m particularly looking forward to coming to South East Melbourne, meeting the team and fans and working with the youth in the city.”
Last year was the best year of Kyrgios’ career, highlighted by his Wimbledon final, a doubles title at the Australian Open and the quarter-finals at the US Open.
As he prepares for a deep run at the upcoming Australian Open, where he will be one of the favourites, Kyrgios’ investment in the Phoenix is his latest foray into sports team ownership.
The tennis star and Chaudhari have forged a great friendship that has led to them collaborating on various business ventures and recently became part of the ownership group of the Miami-based franchise in the new Major League Pickleball.
This partnership will be managed by Kyrgios agent Stuart Duguid and financial advisor Alex Cohen.
“I am delighted to welcome Nick and his team to our ownership group,” said Chaudhari.
“I consider him a good friend and I’m proud of the wonderful year he’s had, despite all the criticism he’s had throughout his career. It was a pleasure to meet him off the pitch, he’s a great person and has a great team around him too.
“His manager (Daniel Horsfall), his brother (Christos Kyrgios) and his agents helped make this happen and they did a great job for Nick. We’ve done a few deals together; and given his love of basketball, I wanted to make Nick a part of it too.
“The Phoenix is looking forward to undertaking many initiatives with him and his foundation. His mission aligns well with the community-focused focus of our organization in basketball’s heartland of South East Melbourne.”
Phoenix CEO Tommy Greer is excited about Nick’s commitment and the future of the franchise.
“The addition of one of the most talented and biggest names in a global sport like tennis is exciting for the club, especially given that they are Australian, love the game of basketball and enjoyed taking this gamble with Romie,” said Greer.
“Bringing a person like Nick into our ownership is a testament to the club’s vision and how much we have been able to achieve in our first few seasons, two of which have been badly affected by the Covid pandemic.”
Widely regarded as one of the best basketball leagues in the world outside of the NBA, the NBL has developed a strong presence in the international basketball community and its fan base continues to grow rapidly.
Kyrgios’ investment in Phoenix is further validation of the NBL’s success and the league’s increasing popularity around the world.
Originally posted as Nick Kyrgios reveals what it’s like to be ‘one of the best players in the world’ at the Australian Open
https://www.codesports.com.au/basketball/aussie-tennis-ace-nick-kyrgios-joins-the-south-east-melbourne-phoenixs-ownership-group/news-story/c333473b1b2eac02505c2b98e2b40d89?nk=617851d8a980a00424e98b9236aa0cbf-1673517787 Australian Open 2023: Nick Kyrgios shows emotions at the Hame Grand Slam that he has never felt before