Nick Kyrgios is living in the here and now, refusing to look beyond his second round as his Australian Open stocks soar.
Already viewed by bookmakers as the biggest title threat to the world’s top five, Kyrgios further fuelled hopes with an impressive straight-sets win over Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in his championship opener.
But the 2015 quarter-finalist is taking nothing for granted and treating Uruguayan claycourter Pablo Cuevas with the utmost respect ahead of their second-round tussle on Wednesday.
“I’ve watched him play. I’ve always been pretty impressed by him,” Kyrgios said of the veteran world No.41 who reached a career-high No.21 last year.
“I think he’s a great athlete. He makes a lot of balls. He competes every point. He’s more than capable of doing some damage these weeks.
“I think the grand slams, best-of-five suit him. I know what type of tennis I need to play.
“He’s going to go out there, he knows what he needs to do. We’re just going to go out there and just compete.”
Kyrgios remains under a six-month suspended ban until February 24 and opted to play the Hopman Cup and Kooyong Classic exhibition events in the Open lead-up, rather than an ATP tournament.
“I like to come into grand slams really fresh,” said the 29th seed.
“I don’t really like to play too many tournaments. I think the Hopman Cup is a perfect event for me. You can sort of manage your matches a little bit.
“The arena there is perfect speed. I think I played some great tennis there.
“Obviously Kooyong is a great event. Had a little bit of a niggle there, so it was a bit unfortunate.
“I thought my preparation was perfect this year.”
Kyrgios, projected to meet Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych in the third round, is among three Australians in action on Wednesday.
Teenage wildcard Omar Jasika plays French ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, while Australian women’s No.2 Daria Gavrilova plays Czech sixth seed Petra Kvitova.
AUSTRALIANS IN ACTION AT THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN ON WEDNESDAY
Men’s singles, second round
29-Nick Kyrgios v Pablo Cuevas (URU)
Omar Jasika v 9-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
Women’s singles, second round
Daria Gavrilova v 6-Petra Kvitova (CZE)