Once a global super-power in the sport, Australia has waited in
vain for a new men's talent to take the mantle from an aging Lleyton
Hewitt and 19-year-old Kyrgios's stylish advance to the Wimbledon
quarters propelled a tidal wave of accolades from former players,
Hollywood celebrities and politicians.
"Extraordinary performance @NickKyrgios. Australia couldn't be
prouder of you - what a win & what an amazing attitude!" Australian
Prime Minister Tony Abbott tweeted.
"Aussie Aussie Aussie @NickKyrgios. Such composure and class! But
hard off to @RafaelNadal ... one of the greatest of all time!"
Australian actor Hugh Jackman also posted on Twitter.
A lead story on all of the major news networks and websites,
Kyrgios's hopes of "keeping it real" may be undermined by the
constant comparisons to other barnstorming teenagers of yesteryear.
Where American great John McEnroe saw in Kyrgios a 17-year-old Boris
Becker on the rise, Australian doubles great Todd Woodbridge gleaned
a young Pete Sampras.
Australia's 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash likened Kyrgios to
another big-server with Greek heritage in Mark Philippoussis, the
twice grand slam finalist.
The outrageous between-the-legs winner that Kyrgios finessed from
the baseline to leave Nadal flatfooted was seized upon as proof the
144th-ranked Kyrgios had the confidence and the game to mix it with
the world's greats.
"The 'tweener' perfectly summed up Kyrgios's approach at Wimbledon —
fearless, fun and a finesse-to-firepower ratio to match it with the
world's elite," News Ltd media enthused.
Amid the feverish hype, Kyrgios's vanquished opponent struck a rare
note of caution.
"For me it's very easy to say he can be top 10. I think he can do.
It's not an issue that I think he can not do it," said Nadal.
"But when we see a young player that arrives to the tour and plays a
great match or plays a great tournament, people say he will be the
next big star.
"Some things are right — sometimes arrive, sometimes not. So it
depends how the things improve over the next couple of months,
years, for him. So if he is able to keep improving, he will be. If
not, will be more difficult."
Australia has previously been tantalized by the exploits of a rangy,
local teenager who stormed into the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.
[to top of second column]
Bernard Tomic's exhilarating run to the last eight in 2011 as a
care-free 18-year-old was seen as the springboard to a top-10
ranking and grand slam success.
Now 21, Tomic, who was dumped from the second round by Czech Tomas
Berdych, is ranked 86th in the world and has not since advanced
beyond the fourth round at the majors.
Compared to Kyrgios, now glowing in the light as the "golden boy"
from Canberra, Tomic's brand has been tainted by a string of
He was kicked out of the Davis Cup team for attitude problems and
stuck by his hotheaded father-coach John Tomic, who was convicted by
a Spanish court of assaulting his son's former hitting partner last
"The last couple of years have been tough for Aussie tennis fans as
we've watched Bernard Tomic occasionally show his talent, but mostly
abuse it, mock it, waste it," wrote one News Ltd critic prior to
Kyrgios's Nadal clash.
"Yet still we've cheered for him, hoping against hope that it's
surely just a matter of time until his infantile mind catches up
with his oversized body.
"Hasn't happened yet and maybe it never will. Either way, it now
scarcely matters because Nick Kyrgios is number one in our hearts.
"This likeable young Canberran has a lovely vibe about him. He's
aggressive but controlled, a killer on the court and a puppy dog off
(Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)
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