Forget his first-round exit from Queen’s, Nick Kyrgios looms as a legitimate contender to win Wimbledon according to former Australian Davis Cup captain Wally Masur.
Masur says while Kyrgios is unlikely to break through this year, he isn’t ruling the prodigiously talented 21-year-old out.
“The big thing is grass and, obviously, Nick’s got this incredibly dangerous game,” Masur told AAP on Friday at the Fox Sports Wimbledon launch.
“He can go well – there’s no doubt about it.”
Masur says Kyrgios, who is likely to narrowly miss a top-16 seeding, will need a touch of luck with the draw and avoid sapping matches in the first week if he is to challenge heavyweights Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer.
“It’s just so difficult to win a grand slam,” Masur said.
“Yes, he’s a legitimate contender but the reality is, given where he is being seeded, all things being equal, he’ll probably have to beat three of the top five guys.
“And these top guys, not only do they not get injured, they very rarely withdraw and they’re so consistent on all surfaces.
“So it’s a real physical battle and not many people have been able to do it.
“He’s going to have to get through (the first week) unscathed. Those five-set epics with (Richard) Gasquet in the second round, for example (in 2014), you just can’t have them.”
Masur acknowledges Djokovic as the deserved favourite as he continues his quest for a calendar-year grand slam sweep, but says the grass brings his challengers closer and isn’t ruling Bernard Tomic out from making a deep run either.
“We all know it because he’s that talented,” Masur said of the enigmatic Australian No.2 and Wimbledon quarter-finalist.
“And when he gets on grass, just the nature of his shot-making – the flat trajectory, the serve, the slice backhand.
“He really knows how to construct a point on grass – and he believes.
“So all of a sudden, you’d think he’d be down on confidence after the clay season, but, no, he steps on grass and he finds himself in the quarters of Queens.
“So he’s definitely got that silty to go into the second week.”
The grasscourt grand slam gets under way on Monday week, with the draw next Friday.