Nick won­der Down Un­der?

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

AUSTRALIA needs an­other great ten­nis cham­pion, and Nick Kyr­gios, pic­tured, has the tal­ent to fit the bill – pro­vid­ing he learns how to chan­nel his frus­tra­tion when things do not go his way, 11-time Grand Slam sin­gles cham­pion Rod Laver said yes­ter­day.

Laver, who com­pleted two cal­en­dar-year Grand Slams and is re­garded by some as the great­est player of all time, was speak­ing at the un­veil­ing of a statue in his like­ness out­side Mel­bourne Park’s main show­court, which bears his name. “Abil­ity-wise, he could be the best ten­nis player in the world, only he is the one who gets in his way,” Laver said of the world num­ber 13. “He plays some mag­nif­i­cent ten­nis, but then some­thing gets in the way and he finds him­self be­ing chal­lenged by other things, whether be­hav­iour or what­ever seems to come up. “Look­ing at maybe ma­tu­rity… he’s still very young on the world tour. I want him to be the best player in the world. We need an­other great Aus­tralian cham­pion.”

Kyr­gios, 21, will re­turn to tournament play at the Aus­tralian Open later this month, af­ter serv­ing an ATP ban for not try­ing in a match at the Shang­hai Masters, the lat­est in a se­ries of in­ci­dents that have blighted his young ca­reer.

Laver, renowned for his gen­tle­manly con­duct on and off court dur­ing his hey­day in the 1960s, said Kyr­gios needed to learn how to deal with dis­ap­point­ment on court with­out racket-throw­ing and the like. – Reuters

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