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Kyrgios the unseeded threat at Open draw

Two-time grand slam quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios is the dangerous floater to avoid when the Australian Open draw is held in Melbourne.

Kyrgios the unseeded threat at Open draw

Two-time grand slam quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios is the dangerous floater to avoid when the Australian Open draw is held in Melbourne.

NICK KYRGIOS of Australia serves during the Men's singles final match of the 2017 China Open at the China National Tennis Centre in Beijing, China.
NICK KYRGIOS of Australia serves during the Men's singles final match of the 2017 China Open at the China National Tennis Centre in Beijing, China. Picture:Photo by Emmanuel Wong/Getty Images

Nick Kyrgios is the lurking threat the big guns are hoping to avoid at Thursday night's all-important Australian Open draw in Melbourne.

Menacingly unseeded at a grand slam for the first time since the 2015 US Open, Kyrgios could conceivably strike defending champion Roger Federer or fellow heavyweights Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal in the first round.


Djokovic, Nadal and Federer are the top three seeds for the first since time in four years but remain wary of the potential danger of an early-round showdown with Australia's enigmatic two-time major quarter-finalist.

Nadal was full of praise for Kyrgios after losing to the flashy Canberran in a Fast4 exhibition match this week.

"He's one of the best players in the world, without a doubt," said Nadal, who famously also lost to a teenaged Kyrgios as world No.1 at Wimbledon five years ago.

"When he has the passion to play, he's one of the players that is very tough to play against.

"He is able to create special shots, he's very talented."

A quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park in 2015, Kyrgios reached the fourth round last year, ousted in a tight four-setter by third seed Grigor Dimitrov.

The 23-year-old is confident of another strong showing while philosophically playing down his standing as the most "dangerous floater" in the 128-strong men's draw.

"There's a lot of good players in the draw. I wouldn't just classify me as a dangerous floater. Everyone in the draw is capable," Kyrgios said before rounding out his Open preparation with a Kooyong Classic exhibition loss to Bernard Tomic on Wednesday.

"Seeded or not, I know what it takes to get to the second week of a slam.

"I know by the second week, you want to get in and out as fast as you can and I don't have the luxury of maybe not drawing a seed in the first round, so it is what it is at the moment."

Kyrgios is among 11 Australians in the men's draw, with world No.29 Alex de Minaur leading the home challenge.

John Millman, Matt Ebden, Jordan Thompson and Bernard Tomic were also direct entries, with Jason Kubler, James Duckworth, Alexei Popyrin, Marc Polmans and Alex Bolt earning wildcards.

World No.15 Ashleigh Barty is the only Australian women's seed and, crucially, is guaranteed not to run into a top-eight rival until at least the second week.

Barty will be joined in the draw by Daria Gavrilova, Ajla Tomljanovic, Samantha Stosur and wildcards Priscilla Hon, Kimberly Birrell, Destanee Aiava, Ellen Perez and Zoe Hives.

AAP


AAP




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