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Nick Kyrgios has already received backing for the Australian Open despite the first Grand Slam of 2023 being more than five weeks away. The world No 22’s compatriot John Millman claimed that Kyrgios was among a list of three players who would be “dangerous” in Melbourne after practising with the official tennis balls being used at the tournament.
Kyrgios has made it no secret that he is setting his sights on winning a Grand Slam title after making the Wimbledon final and winning the men’s doubles trophy at the Australian Open at the start of this year, and the 27-year-old could already be in with a shot at his home tournament next month.
The world No 22 has been tipped to be “dangerous” during the 2023 Australian Open thanks to the specifics of the Dunlop ball being used as the official ball of the tournament, which looks to be providing light, fast conditions that the seven-time title winner thrives in. Kyrgios’ countryman John Millman shared his observation after practising with the balls in Brisbane, claiming that Hubert Hurkacz and Taylor Fritz would also benefit from them.
“Having hit with the AO 2023 Dunlop balls the last week my general observation is they are light and quick, especially when new,” the former world No 33 tweeted on Wednesday. “Not the easiest to control initially even in the humid conditions where I am in Brisbane. NK, Hurkacz, Fritz all very dangerous this AO.”
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The 33-year-old was then asked what the difference was between the 2023 Australian Open balls and the tennis balls used at the US Open, which are made by Wilson with the men using extra duty, hard-court balls while the women use regular duty balls recommended for clay. “I think they feel a little lighter, especially when new,” Millman responded.
“Unsure how they are wearing on the Melbourne courts but in Brisbane conducive to creating relatively quick conditions.” While Kyrgios is yet to respond, the world No 148’s observation has already caught the eye of another man he believes will thrive in the conditions as Taylor Fritz asked: “Are they meant to be different from the usual Dunlop balls?”
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But the news will surely be music to Kyrgios’ ears, as he staked his claim on the Australian Open more than two months ago after losing in the US Open quarter-final after upsetting then-world No 1 and 2021 champion Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round. “I thought the US Open was a great chance,” the 27-year-old said during his next tournament in Tokyo.
“Obviously that one really, really hurt because I definitely thought that I was the favourite after I beat Medvedev. Now I just have to wait until the Australian Open but I just want to keep my form, the way I’m playing, I want to keep that going.”
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