Tennis

Kyrgios upbeat ahead of grass court season

UPBEAT after almost blocking Roger Federer’s return to the world No 1 ranking, Nick Kyrgios aims to correct a stunning grass court anomaly against nemesis Andy Murray.

Widely feared on the slickest surface in tennis, Wimbledon quarter-finalist Kyrgios is yet to win a singles match at Queen’s Club.

But the explosive Australian intends to break through against former world No 1 Murray, whose grass court pedigree includes two Wimbledon crowns and a record five at the Fever-Tree Championships.

“I have never won a round here and I continually come back here for some reason, which is strange,” the Canberran said, joking his way through a lighthearted media conference.

“Yeah, I guess I just like the house sort of environment and my team being close by.

“You know, it just feels like home, I guess. It’s a home away from home. It’s an easy tournament.

“It’s awesome to play here. Yeah, it’s good.”

Kyrgios said his right elbow has completely healed, bristling with confidence after pushing Federer to the brink in a Mercedes Cup semi-final in Stuttgart last week.

“To play (Feliciano) Lopez my first tournament back on grass, you know, obviously he’s pretty good on grass, won this event (Queen’s) last year, and to beating him and obviously was in complete control against Roger in the third set tiebreak at one stage, I’m feeling confident,” he said.

“I’m feeling good my level is still there.

“Yeah, I feel my elbow is fine and I played three quality matches in Stuttgart. Obviously pretty disappointed I didn’t win against Roger but it was a good match. Yeah, it was a good week.”

Kyrgios was in a similar frame of mind here last season until he slipped and injured his hip before retiring against Donald Young.

The problem compromised his Wimbledon preparations, contributing to a rare first-round exit at the All England Club.

“This time last year I was actually painfree,” he said. “And ended up slipping over in my match.

“I was in the same position here last year. So hopefully that doesn’t happen tomorrow, I won’t slip over or fall over or something like that.

“I feel good. I played a couple good matches and I feel good.”

Murray is contesting his first match since Wimbledon last year, undergoing hip surgery in Melbourne in January.

Kyrgios practised with Lleyton Hewitt on the court next to Murray today, the pair exchanging smiles as they worked out.

“I’m excited,” Kyrgios said. “(Murray’s) obviously one of my better mates on tour.

“It’s just good to see him back ultimately. I think it’s been pretty s****y without him.

“I’m looking forward to going out there and playing. But to see him healthy is obviously the main thing. You know, I think he’s awesome for the sport.”

Queenslander John Millman is Australia’s only other entrant at Baron’s Court this week. He faces former world No 1 and triple Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic in the first round.

Both Kyrgios and Millman have been given centre court billing at the premier Wimbledon lead-up event.

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