Australian Open: Bernard Tomic, Nick Kyrgios aiming high
QUESTIONS surrounding Bernard Tomic's claim to a top-10 ranking and the severity of Nick Kyrgios's knee soreness will be answered under grand slam pressure at Melbourne Park on Monday.
Tomic's hopes of climbing from No.27 into the elite will be threatened by Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci, while Kyrgios will face Portugal's Gastao Elias after battling knee pain.
Seeded to reach at least the third round, Australia's two highest-ranked men retain lofty ambitions.
"Well, top 10 is my goal," said Tomic, who has a career-high mark of No.16.
"Top 20 ... I achieved that from being 130 in the world prior to two surgeries from that.
"Now my goal is to get to top 10 and stay there many years - you have to work for this, it's not going to happen overnight.
"I think my year last year was pretty solid. I didn't play many tournaments. I pulled out of two Masters Series.
"There are a lot of good players in the top 20, top 30 that are top-10 players. You've got to get there. You've got to earn it.
"Whether it comes like that or in four, five years, you obviously are going to get your chance.
"If you're consistent, you work hard, do the right things, you have a big chance at this.
"There are many, many players from top 20-30 in the world that are amazing tennis players, potentially play better than some of the guys in the top 10, but it's a different game.
"You have to be more consistent, you have to work for this. It takes a year. It doesn't take three tournaments."
At 24, Tomic will contest his ninth Australian Open, desperate to smash through his Melbourne Park best effort of the fourth round.
"It's crazy to think how long it's been. I obviously played my first match here at 16, where I think I won the youngest match," he said.
"It's gone pretty quickly. I always played well. Always made a lot of third rounds, fourth rounds. I'd like to go a step further, play better."
Kyrgios practised on Hisense Arena on Sunday in preparation for a first-round outing that could revolve around fitness as much as the explosive right-hander's stroke play.
The 14th seed hopes to capitalise on "a pretty good draw" to satisfy high expectations.
"Obviously you get rewarded with a good draw the higher your seeding is," he said.
"I played well last year. Got my ranking to top 30 in the world. I've been awarded with a pretty good draw.
"Saying that, Elias can play some pretty high-level tennis - everyone in the draw can, can beat anyone on the day.
"I've got to go out there and not expect to win the match.
"I've got to go out there and just play and we'll see how it goes."