Nick Kyrgios’s first-round Australian Open opponent says he holds no fear for the local star or the parochial Melbourne Park crowd waiting for him on Monday night.
Pablo Carreno Busta is probably the only man in Melbourne that sees a first-round upset of Kyrgios.
Like Kyrgios, Spain’s world No.67 isn’t short on confidence and believes he can come away with a day-one stunner.
“It will be a tough match but I’m ready for a fight,” Carreno Busta told AAP.
“I know he’s a really good player, but why can’t I win?
“I am playing good, I am feeling good and I will fight a lot.”
Carreno Busta is the youngest of 15 Spaniards in the main draw and carries strong form lines into his meeting with Kyrgios.
The 24-year-old took a set off countryman Rafael Nadal earlier this month in Doha.
He then spent a profitable week at Kooyong, beating world No.48 and local favourite Marcos Baghdatis 6-4 6-4, and defeating world No.15 Gilles Simon in a third-set tiebreak.
Carreno Busta has yet to win a match at Melbourne Park in two appearances but has big-match slam experience.
He played Roger Federer at the 2013 French Open, losing in three sets on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Carreno Busta said that experience would help him when he walks onto Hisense Arena in front of 10,000 boisterous Australians on Monday night.
“I know Kyrgios is a good player but it’s not like Federer on Phillipe Chatrier,” he said.
“I have more possibilities tomorrow than when I play against Federer.”
Kyrgios won the only meeting between the pair in three sets last year on clay in Portugal.
The Canberran said he saw enough to be wary.
“He’s more than capable of producing some really good tennis,” Kyrgios said.
“He’s had a couple of really good wins in Kooyong … it’s going to be a very exciting match.”
Australia’s leading woman, Samantha Stosur, also plays on Monday and only learned the identity of her first-round opponent on Sunday: qualifier Kristyna Pliskova.
The 23-year-old Czech is the twin sister of world No.11 Karolina, but ranked 106 places lower.
“It is nice to know who you’ve got so you can do that preparation,” Stosur said ahead of her 14th Open tilt.
“But, yeah, I know the way that I like to play in general. So that probably in the end doesn’t change too much.”
Three other Australians are in action on Monday, with Daria Gavrilova playing dangerous Czech Lucie Hradecka on Margaret Court Arena.
Alja Tomljanovic faces Kateryna Bondarenko and former junior US Open champion Omar Jasika also plays a Ukrainian in Illya Marchenko.
AUSTRALIANS IN ACTION AT THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN ON MONDAY
Women’s singles, first round
25-Samantha Stosur v qualifier
Daria Gavrilova v Lucie Hradecka (CZE)
Ajla Tomljanovic v Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR)
Men’s singles, first round
29-Nick Kyrgios v Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP)
Omar Jasika v Ilya Marchenko (UKR)