ATP Tour

Agassi backs rebellious Kyrgios to mature

Nick Kyrgios (Getty Images)
Nick Kyrgios (Getty Images)
Cape Town - Andre Agassi has backed controversial talent Nick Kyrgios to mature from the rebellious stage of his burgeoning career.

Former world No 1 Agassi attracted plenty of headlines in his early years, before blossoming into one of the most respected players on the professional tour.

Agassi sees parallels with Kyrgios after the 21-year-old has similarly courted controversy in the opening stages of his career after winning the Australian Junior Open three years ago.

But he has backed the Australian - yet to progress beyond the quarter-finals of a major - to emerge from those formative stages and make the most of his undoubted talent.

"I find him a fascinating talent and a fascinating person in a sense that he's still young and pretty clear on his feelings about that game, and he has a openness to really speak it," said Agassi. "We both have some strong rebellions. I'm not sure for what reasons his are but he also seems pretty clear of his rebellion.

"For me, I was confused by my rebellion. My guess from the outside is he has the luxury of knowing himself a bit better than I did, so hopefully we'll see from the outside a career of something changing in front of our eyes for the better and growing up.

"We all have to grow up but we never stop learning so I don't say that condescendingly, I say it honestly.

Agassi added: "You can try to give advice for him to overcome the demons or the perspectives but I think that's not healthy for him in the long run.

"I think he needs to come to terms with what he wants from himself, what he wants for himself and tennis is an innocent bystander in that dilemma.

"Hopefully he'll find good reason and good success in his life on a daily basis, whether that means tennis or not.”
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