Sky Sports analyst Mark Petchey believes that rising stars Nick Kyrgios, Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev can't be overlooked when it comes to the Australian Open title contenders list. The three stars have yet to win a Grand Slam glory -- but that could soon change as each of the three players certainly have the quality to go all the way at Melbourne Park.
2015 Australian Open quarter-finalist and this year's No. 17 seed Kyrgios will be eager to make amends for last year's second-round loss he suffered to Italy's Andreas Seppi. 2018 Brisbane International champion Kyrgios -- who has been drawn to meet Rogerio Dutra Silva in round one -- will be Australia's biggest hope as he and the locals hope that he will remain perfect this year and claim the title.
Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov -- who will be meeting a qualifier in round one -- wants to go a step further this year after falling just short in last year's Australian Open semi-final to Rafael Nadal in a thrilling five-setter.
World No. 4 Zverev -- who is set to clash against Italian Thomas Fabianno in the first-round -- hasn't yet had a strong run at a Major event -- but he is hoping to kick off his 2018 campaign with a bang. "They ARE contenders - there's no question about it.
Dimitrov will be relatively happy with his draw and Nick will feel 90 per cent of tennis matches are on his racket. If he puts his best tennis on these courts then he will go deep. Kyrgios has been to the quarter-finals here once before and I have no doubt that he can do that again.
He's coming into the best period in his career and it's exciting for him, and also for Grigor, having won the ATP Finals," Petchey said. "From Zverev's point of view, other than maybe having to play his brother Mischa in the draw, he's got a huge motivation to make his first deep run in a Grand Slam.
This is a great opportunity to make their mark and potentially win their first Grand Slam actually." Also read: Rod Laver: 'Nick Kyrgios has got the best serve in the world' .