Nick Kyrgios is big in the Big Apple and Australia’s great hope is making no secret of his big US Open intentions either.
“People should know me well enough now to know I don’t put a limit on what I’m doing or set a specific target or goal,” Kyrgios told AAP ahead of his first-round clash on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) with Slovenian-born British No.2 Aljaz Bedene.
“I’m going in confident, hungry and ready for a good, deep run.”
Kyrgios’s optimism is not unfounded.
The two-time grand slam quarter-finalist has arrived at Flushing Meadows with a career-high world ranking of 16th following a two-title haul already in 2016, including success on American hard courts in Atlanta this month.
And unlike last year, when he arrived in New York to widespread condemnation and on official notice following his infamous sledging of Stan Wawrinka a fortnight earlier, Kyrgios is feeling comfortable again after being warmly greeted at the year’s final major.
Feted in a 5000-word feature article in the New York Times magazine, which flashed a portrait of the 21-year-old on the cover under the headline: The Electric, Infuriating Nick Kyrgios, the article dubbed him the most entertaining player tennis has seen since John McEnroe.
“And quite possibly the most gifted since Roger Federer,” it said.
Author Michael Steinberger also quoted the temperamental talent as claiming he only planned on playing tennis until 27.
“That’s the absolute max,” Kyrgios reportedly said.
That leaves Kyrgios with five and a half years to leave his mark on the sport before he apparently pursues a professional basketball career.
Many, including former Australian Davis Cup captain Wally Masur, are tipping Kyrgios to make a statement in New York over the coming fortnight.
Seeded 14th, Kyrgios is eight months older than when Lleyton Hewitt, now his mentor and Davis Cup captain, netted his maiden grand slam crown at Flushing Meadows with a stunning straight-sets final triumph over Pete Sampras in 2001.
Kyrgios is adamant he’s ready to break through too in New York, on a surface he feels is tailor made to his explosive game.
“I had a good session on the new Grandstand (court) with Jack Sock and the court was pretty high-bouncing but fast, if that makes sense,” he said.
“It’s great conditions for holding serve, which is going to make me tough to beat.”
Kyrgios is among six Australians in first-round action on day two.
Bernard Tomic, seeded 17th, plays Damir Dzumhur in his opener, while John Millman, fresh off his run to the semi-finals in Winston-Halem, takes on eighth seed Dominic Thiem.
Leading the women’s charge in her 13th Open campaign, former champion and 16th seed Samantha Stosur faces Camila Giorgi first up.
Daria Gavrilova meets Lucie Safarova and rookie wildcard playoff winner Ellen Perez makes her grand slam debut against surprise Australian Open quarter-finalist Zhang Shaui.
AUSSIES IN US OPEN ACTION ON TUESDAY (WEDNESDAY AEST)
Men’s singles, first round
14-Nick Kyrgios v Aljaz Bedene (GBR)
17-Bernard Tomic v Damir Dzumhur (BIH)
John Millman v 8-Dominic Thiem (AUT)
Women’s singles, first round
16-Samantha Stosur v Camila Giorgi (ITA)
Daria Gavrilova v Lucie Safarova (CZE)
Ellen Perez v Zhang Shaui (CHN)