Aussies pin hopes on young Kyrgios

AUSSIE HOPEFUL: Nick Kyrgios, of Australia, in action.
AUSSIE HOPEFUL: Nick Kyrgios, of Australia, in action. JULIAN SMITH

LUIS Suarez's insatiable lust for human flesh has prevailed again, making it near-impossible to turn one's attention away from the World Cup and its related dramas for even a few minutes.

With the Aussies headed home from Brazil however I thought it was time to look to someone still flying the flag on the world stage.

If the second-round performance of teenager Nick Kyrgios is anything to go by then Bernard Tomic's status as the next big thing in Australian tennis could be under serious threat.

Any 19-year-old with the ability and ticker to fight off not one but nine match points against the highly regarded Dick Gasquet certainly deserves our backing.

It will be interesting to see how far Kyrgios can go following Thursday's marathon Wimbledon win over the Frenchman, and with the other Aussies - apart from dependable Lleyton Hewitt - gone, all eyes will be on the youngster in his third-round match.

With Pat Rafter long gone and Li'l Lleyton enjoying his twilight playing days, Australia needs another fighter on the court.

If we want to finally see an Aussie lift a few tennis trophies, we need the kind of tough nut who won't shy away from a torturous five-set marathon on a 35-degree Melbourne day.

Pat Rafter didn't lift the US Open twice and come desperately close to adding Wimbledon to the list a couple of times by loafing around like God's gift to the world of tennis.

He even copped a bit of stick from loudmouth McEnroe after the first US Open title and, from what I remember, he didn't say a lot back.

Instead, he did about the best thing he could have done to shut up McEnroe and co, and he went out and won the thing again the following year.

My mind flashes back to that epic Wimbledon final in 2001, when poor old Pat only just bowed out to that unpredictable Croatian stalwart Goran Ivanisevic in five sets - including a 16-game final set.

It probably wasn't 35-degrees that day but that was one of the most nerve-racking and gritty games of tennis I can remember seeing on the television.

Showing just how much the victory meant, Ivanisevic received a hero's welcome when he returned to his home town in Croatia, with 150,000 people showing up.

These days, that sort of celebration would not happen in the wake of a Federer, Djokovic or Nadal victory because they have dominated the game so much during the past five or 10 years.

Time is ticking though and I reckon Aussies would go nuts if a young gun like Kyrgios could start mixing it with the big three.

Youth is on the Aussie's side, and there is a big opportunity to cut his teeth against some of the best players the game has seen before they start to fade away and leave a path for a new champion.

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