Tennis great Ken Rosewall is urging Nick Kyrgios to keep his cool as the temperamental talent spearheads Australia’s most exciting Wimbledon title assault since the turn of the century.
Kyrgios, the fifth favourite to take out the men’s championship starting on Monday, fellow former quarter-finalist Bernard Tomic and Samantha Stosur have given Australia three top-20 seeds for the first time since 2000.
Rosewall gives all three a shot at going deep in the draw but has implored Kyrgios to avoid any repeat of the controversies that dogged his 2015 campaign.
The 21-year-old was embroiled in a series of angry exchanges with umpires and officials during his run to the fourth round and Rosewall hopes he’s learnt from the experience.
“There hasn’t been much written about him lately so I guess he must be improving,” eight-times grand slam champion Rosewall told AAP.
“And let’s hope so because he’s too good a player with too much talent to really have a lot of other stress on his shoulders when you’ve got to perform well every time you play.
“But I think he can do that. He’s got a lot of talent and he’s quite capable of beating any of the leading players, as he’s proved before.
“His game has that power and all he needs is a little bit more consistency and to keep control of himself.”
Kyrgios, the 15th seed as he enjoys a career-high world ranking of No.18, opens on Tuesday against Czech veteran Radek Stepanek and is projected to meet second-seeded former champion Andy Murray in the fourth round.
Tomic is seeded 19th and faces a big test first up against explosive Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, also on Tuesday.
“The two Aussie boys play well on grass and they’re a good chance to go further in the tournament,” Rosewall said.
“They’ve performed well against the higher seeded players so there’s no reason why they can’t pull off a few upsets.”
With Stosur seeded 14th, Australia have three top-20 fancies at the All England Club for the first time since Lleyton Hewitt, Pat Rafter and Mark Philippoussis led the charge 16 years ago.
Stosur has failed to venture beyond the third round in 13 previous attempts, but has renewed belief after storming to this month’s French Open semi-finals.
“If she can play with the same amount of confidence that she had in Paris, there’s no reason why she can’t perform against the higher seeded players,” Rosewall said.
“She’s got a good serve and a good volley and that helps on grass.”