Tennis - Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios took some time out to hit with tennis fans at the Community Tennis Day at the Canberra Tennis Centre, giving away signed racquets, hitting with juniors and posing for photographs.
Kyrgios commented, "It's a lot of fun. I grew up and played here every day of my life. Coming out here for two hours of my day is a lot of fun. I just love to play with these kids and have a good time. I remember back in the day it wasn't the best but now the tennis courts are amazing, they're the same surface as the Australian Open so I'm pretty blessed with that.
I'm just preparing to play the Davis Cup at the moment then come back here. Things are pretty serious at the moment but I'm ready for it." Kyrgios will be part of the Australian team which will take part in the inaugural edition of the newly formatted Davis Cup in Madrid later in November and will also be part of the team at the inaugural ATP Cup in January.
Kyrgios will end an 18-month absence from the Australian team when the Davis Cup restarts in Madrid later this month, but he's also poised to play a key role at the inaugural ATP Cup in January. The Australian was also on hand for the Tennis ACT to launch the Canberra International, which is part of the ATP Challenger 125 series and will be held at the same time as the ATP Cup.
While Kyrgios said he would not be able to play this year's edition, he hopes to be able to play someday in the future. The Canberra International will now be part of the ATP Challenger 125 series to be held alongside the inaugural ATP Cup, giving players another opportunity to bolster their preparations for the Australian Open.
Kyrgios commented, "I never thought in a million years there would be tournaments in my backyard. Having more tournaments in Australia is great as well. I think the one thing Australia didn't have enough of was tournaments and to have another one in Canberra is pretty special.
I'll probably play doubles at some stage [in Canberra]. There's a couple of my friends who will probably play in it. It'll take a while but I think to play doubles would be pretty good. Jordan [Thompson] won the tournament here last year.
The quality of players is high as well, they come from all around the world." Tennis ACT chief Kim Kachel commented on the Canberra International, "It's going to be huge. There's going to be a lot of players preparing for the Australian Open and if they're not playing in the ATP Cup then they'll be in Canberra.
There will be a strong contingent of top-100 players and the women's event will have a whole load of emerging Australian and future champions. It's a chance for locals and those in the region to see some world-class tennis."