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John Newcombe warns Nick Kyrgios to “zip it”

John Newcombe warns Nick Kyrgios to “zip it”

Tennis great John Newcombe said Nick Kyrgios will have to “learn to zip it up” ahead of the Australian Open season.

Kyrgios will still be on his six-month probation at the grand slam after the ATP penalised the 24-year-old for his “aggravated behaviour“ at the Cincinnati Masters in September.  

He faces a US$25,000 fine and 16-week suspension if he commits “verbal or physical abuse of officials” or “unsportsmanlike conduct” during this period.

Speaking in Melbourne, Newcombe said the pressure at Rod Laver Arena may make it tough for Kyrgios to toe the line.

“I can’t speak for him but if it was me it would be tough having that ban hanging over you. But I guess you’ve just got to learn to zip up,” Newcombe said.

The seven-time grand slam singles champion said while Kyrgios’ return to tennis through the Davis Cup was a welcome opportunity, the firebrand’s injury may prevent him from giving his best performance in five set tennis next month.

“I thought it was great that Nick played in the Davis Cup but it’s a bit of a worry that he has recurring injuries, especially around where the muscles join the joints and that’s going to be an ongoing problem for him it seems,” Newcombe said.

“At the Davis Cup he’d only played four sets of singles and his shoulder started to play up again and when you’ve got an injury like that it’s hard to go out and practice a lot.

“Leading into the Australian Open – five sets is a big ask for him.”

Newcombe also said Australian men’s number one Alex de Minaur is unlikely to win his first grand slam for another five years.

“He’s a probable top 15 and hopefully top 12 or 10 as long as he can stay injury free as every question asked of him he’s come up with the right answers,” the 75-year-old said.

“But I can’t see him contending in a grand slam the next 12 months, that’s a little quick - I think he’s a couple of years away from that.

“I would think Alex would be playing his best tennis around 25 or 26 years of age.”