Nick Kyrgios feels he has learned to embrace the pressure ahead of next month’s Australian Open, saying he has a “legitimate chance” to win a Grand Slam.
After years of underachieving, the talented but temperamental Kyrgios won the Citi Open in Washington as well as reaching 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 countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis in January, also reached the US Open quarter-finals, going down in five sets to Karen Khachanov.
“There’s a lot of pressure there especially having the Australian Open and everyone in Australia expecting big things from me”
Kyrgios’ run of form has now put him among the Grand Slam contenders ahead of the opening major of 2023 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 on 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 having the Australian Open and everyone in Australia expecting big things from me. It’s a lot to handle sometimes. Being in the spotlight is not easy.
“I feel like I’ve embraced that and I’ve taken that challenge on. It’s not easy, I’ve really worked hard to try and channel it, internalise it and use it as fuel,” added Kyrgios, who is competing at the Diriyah Tennis Cup in Saudi Arabia.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal will bid for his third Australian Open crown, while Novak Djokovic will seek to extend his record of nine titles in Melbourne to draw level with the Spaniard on 22 Grand Slams.
Carlos Alcaraz will play a major as the world No 1 for the first time as he seeks to win back-to-back majors following his US Open triumph in September.
The 2023 Australian Open will take place at Melbourne Park from January 16-29.