Raonic in first round ‘may ben­e­fit’ Kyr­gios: Courier

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - RE­BECCA WIL­LIAMS

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.

Nick Kyr­gios.

Mi­los Raonic.

Jim Courier.

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