Raonic in first round ‘may benefit’ Kyrgios: Courier
TWO-TIME Australian Open champion Jim Courier has predicted Nick Kyrgios’ tough opening-round draw against big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic tonight could be a blessing in disguise.
Courier said the testing match-up against the No.16 seed and Wimbledon finalist would mean Kyrgios had no room for complacency when he stepped on to Melbourne Arena.
“He’s going to need to come out of the blocks hot,’’ Courier said. “His draw is difficult, but that may benefit him because there is no margin for error when you play someone of Ra- onic’s calibre in the first round – that will get your attention.
“When Nick’s paying attention he is a real threat to go deep. It may end up benefiting him that he has such a tricky draw at the start.
“Anyone knows that he has the ability to beat anyone on any given day.’’
Kyrgios is unseeded at the Australian Open after a ranking slide in 2018 that has seen him fall to No.52 in the world.
The mercurial talent, who reached the quarter-finals of his home Grand Slam in 2015, revealed pre-tournament he was in a “good spot mentally” to attack the season ahead after a challenging 2018.
Courier said he was looking forward to seeing a refreshed Kyrgios at his best in Melbourne.
“He sounded like he had had a really nice off-season at home,’’ the Channel 9 commentator said.
“That had given him a bit of a boost from an attitude standpoint. Sometimes Nick, he seems like he gets a little burned out when he gets away from home and he gets a little homesick.
“That won’t be the case now. We know that he’ll love to play well here. He played wonderful tennis here last year and it would be nice to see him back that up with another great run this year.’’
Courier said Kyrgios, 23, still had plenty of time ahead of him to cash in on his rare talent.
“There is plenty of open roads for Nick – he has a lot of time,’’ Courier said.
“He is a young man in the sport that has grown increasingly older as far as average age of the players and when the players are peaking.
“He has plenty of time in front of him, but every day is valuable and I would certainly be in favour, and I think most tennis fans would (be), of seeing him get the most out of his game.”
Kyrgios and Raonic have met six times for three wins apiece.