Andy Murray has challenged Nick Kyrgios to target the top 15 this year. Photo: Paul KaneWorld tennis stars are lining up to back Nick Kyrgios for a 2016 redemption mission, with Andy Murray challenging the Canberra junior to break into the top 15 by the end of the year.
Kyrgios is set to be seeded No. 29 for the first grand slam of the season when the n Open begins on Monday in Melbourne.
The two biggest n hopes have enjoyed strong starts to the year, with Bernard Tomic making the semi-finals at the Brisbane International and Kyrgios joining Daria Gavrilova to win the Hopman Cup.
But Murray, who was beaten by Kyrgios at the Hopman Cup, says hard work is the only secret to the 20-year-old rising to career-high rankings.
“He’s obliviously an incredibly talented guy and he’s very exciting to watch,” Murray said on Monday.
“He has a big game and can cause a lot of players a lot of problems.
“Thirty in the world last year – a good goal for him would be to halve his ranking again this year.
“He played very well in some of the major events. He just needs to improve his consistency through the year and if he does that, he’ll be right up at the top of the game.”
Murray was joined by grand slam great Roger Federer in backing Kyrgios to make amends this season after a controversial year on the professional circuit in 2015.
Kyrgios played at the Fast4 event in Sydney on Monday night but will move to Melbourne for the Kooyong Classic to finalise his n Open preparations.
The former Daramalan College student’s previous n Open build ups have been hampered by injuries, forcing him to withdraw from the Brisbane International in 2014 and the Hopman Cup last year.
Murray beat Kyrgios in the quarter finals in Melbourne last year, but Kyrgios turned the tables to get his first win over the world No. 2.
The Scot was not keen to get out his crystal ball and forecast what Kyrgios’ future holds.
“It’s really impossible to say. I’m not with him on a daily basis. I don’t know what his work ethic is like.
“His game, he’s capable of beating almost all of the players.
“To get to number one you have to do it through the whole year, it’s no use doing it six or seven days through the year.
“Novak (Djokovic) last year made the final of every tournament he played except one and to get to number one you have to match that sort of consistency.”
Tomic jumped to No. 17 in the rankings on Monday after his efforts in Brisbane and is poised to earn a top-16 grand slam seeding for the first time when Tennis officials finalise the draw.
It means Tomic will avoid a clash with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic until at least the fourth round while Kyrgios, ranked No. 30, will face a tougher road through the earlier stages.