Tennis

Lleyton Hewitt will help troublesome Nick Kyrgios to success

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Since breaking onto the scene as the teenager who sensationally knocked the world number one  at the time Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon, Australian Nick Kyrgios has faced a number of on-court issues which have hindered his progress on the way to the peak of world tennis.

However, fellow Australian and one-time Wimbledon winner Lleyton Hewitt has vowed to help the 20-year-old, having been appointed Australia captain for next year's Davis Cup which begins in March.

Kyrgios was replaced by Bernard Tomic for September's Davis Cup semi-final against Great Britain; having mutually agreed with former Aussie captain Wally Masur to instead focus on his 'personal and professional' development.

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The 20-year-old was also fined £16,200 and given a suspended 28-day ban by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), for comments made about Stan Wawrinka's girlfriend during a match against his Swiss opponent.

Kyrgios told BBC Sport: "I'd like to think that I'm going to learn from it. I think I have. I think I'm on the right path.

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"I don't think any of us in this room right now were perfect at 20."

Now, Hewitt hopes he can assist the promising youngster to develop into the star potential he possesses, based on his own experience as a youngster.

"He's got to be who he is to a certain extent. I don't think Nick realises how powerful his image can be," Hewitt told Sky Sports.

"He is so good for the sport of tennis in so many ways, if he can control it to a certain line, because he brings so many different people to watch our great sport, and he does it not just in Australia but across the globe.

"And in some ways, he is like a basketball player trying to play tennis, and it's a great image for our game as long as he does it in the right way, and that's obviously what we're trying to put in place with him."

Hewitt admits that he was not perfect either when he started out his professional career back in 1998. But the 34-year-old also won a Davis Cup double in 1999 and 2003, becoming Australia's most prolific singles winner in the tournament.

"When I came out on tour I didn't always have the best image out there either, so it's about dealing with that and learning from the mistakes that you've made over time. Nick, I think, is really finding himself at the moment," Hewitt added.

Standing at 193 centimetres, Kyrgios' presence is felt by the best of players, while his fiery character and anger have become well-recognised traits in the youngster since he rose to fame in the last 15 months.

Hewitt will be hopeful of guiding the young Australian in the right direction and on his way to his first Grand Slam title. Tennis could do without its own equivalent of Mario Balotelli.

It's the work that he puts in now that could potentially guide him on his way to becoming one of the game's greatest.

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Tennis
Lleyton Hewitt

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