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Retiring Lleyton Hewitt backs Nick Kyrgios to break into top 10 rankings

Former US Open and Wimbledon winner Lleyton Hewitt has backed his 20-year-old compatriot ahead of the Australian Open.

Hewitt-Nick
Lleyton Hewitt(L) and Nick Kyrgios

Australian international and former Wimbledon champion (2002) Lleyton Hewitt has backed fellow Australian Nick Kyrgios to break into the top 10 rankings in this calendar year. Hewitt decided to draw the curtains on his sparkling 18-year career last year, and confirmed that this year’s first grand slam, the Australian Open, would be his last. 

“On his day, he’s capable of beating anyone”

He heaped praise on his countryman and world number 30 (1260 ATP points) Kyrgios, who will be turning 21 in April this year, and has full confidence in his abilities to succeed at the highest level and break into the list of top 10 players in the ATP rankings. He said, “He certainly can. He can match it with the best guys in the world. On his day, he’s capable of beating anyone. That’s the kind of power and talent he has out there. It’s just a matter of doing that week in, week out,” the Guardian reports.

“He’s got a great platform to build on for the next three to five years”

It’s been two and a half years since Kyrgios turned pro in 2013, and his career has been somewhat of a roller-coaster ride as his accomplishments on the court were counterbalanced by his immature behaviour off it.

He has fast established a reputation for being a bad boy in the world of professional tennis, with his infamous ‘girlfriend’ sledge at Stan Wawrinka at the 2015 Rogers Cup, and his off-court twitter battles have dominated airwaves.

But despite this, the veteran has full faith that Kyrgios will achieve something greater in life.

The veteran, who won the US Open winner in 2001, added, “He likes playing on the biggest stages and the biggest tournaments. It’s big for Davis Cup and grand slams. I feel like Nick and I have a really good respect for each other. I know his game pretty well. He’s got a great platform to build on for the next three to five years.”

Hewitt and Kyrgios will take part in the Hopman Cup just days before the start of the Australian Open, and with Australia’s last successful campaign coming in 1999, the duo will be hopeful for a positive start to the new year. 34-year-old Hewitt will represent Australia Gold, while Kyrgios will represent Australia Green in the week-long tournament.

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