Nick Kyrgios is hoping for some luck of the draw as he spearheads one of Australia’s most promising US Open charges in decades.
In Kyrgios, in-form Bernard Tomic and former women’s champion Samantha Stosur, Australia have three top-20 seeds in New York for the first time in 35 years.
Crucially, Kyrgios has earned a top-16 seeding, guaranteeing the 21-year-old 14th seed avoids a top-eight rival until at least the quarter-finals.
In a record that not even tennis titans Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal could boast, Kyrgios has never lost to an unseeded opponent – let alone a lower-ranked player – at a grand slam.
Frustratingly, though, Kyrgios also has a history of striking the big guns prematurely.
In his 13 majors since making his main-draw debut as an 18-year-old at the 2013 French Open, Kyrgios has lost four times to Murray and twice each to Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic and dual grand slam semi-finalist Richard Gasquet.
His other five defeats have come at the hands of 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, former grand slam finalists Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer and seeds Tommy Robredo and Benoit Paire.
Last year he lost to Murray in four sets in a horror first-round draw at Flushing Meadows.
“I love Muzza (Murray) but if I never saw his name near mine in a draw for the rest of my career I’d be happy,” Kyrgios told AAP ahead of Saturday’s draw (AEST) in New York.
“I’ve actually had some rotten draws, not just in slams but in general.
“But at the end of the day you’ve got to beat who is in front of you, which I’ve managed to do a lot of.
“There’s no point complaining about it. It is what it is. But I would definitely welcome some easier draws.”
With two titles and more top-five scalps than anyone apart from Djokovic in 2016, Kyrgios is feeling good entering the season’s final major.
“Really happy with where I am physically and mentally,” he said.
“I haven’t had the most taxing of American summers, which is a positive and a negative, as I’m fresh but hungry coming in.
“I’ve had a really good training week leading in and now I’m on site I’ve upped the competitive side of things.
“So yeah, I’m happy.”
Tomic, fresh off his win over 2014 runner-up Kei Nishikori in Cincinnati, has been seeded 17th, while Stosur is the women’s 16th seed, giving the 2011 winner the same protection in the draw as Kyrgios.