Rod Laver will have none of this talk about Nick Kyrgios as a future top-five player or major championship winner. "That's a mistake, people talking cheap news," said Laver, the only man to win the coveted grand slam twice. "Otherwise he's going to think, 'I don't have to work as hard now' and that's sort of the reverse you want him to be in. He has to try and practice even more and harder."
What Kyrgios has done so far has been good enough to carry him into a Wimbledon fourth round against second seed Rafael Nadal, the youngest man to get that far in a major since Bernard Tomic three years ago. The 19-year-old will also break into the top 100 for the first time, win or lose, from a slot in the 800s at the start of last season.
So, can he beat Nadal?
"I'd have to say no, but at the same time, if he takes a set, it might be an upset in time," said Laver, the winner of 11 grand slam singles titles and four from limited opportunities at the All England Club . "He's got all the shots, Nick, so why not win?
"If Nadal's on a good game, he's hard to beat. Can (Kyrgios) play against the heavy spin that Nadal has? That you really can't add up, but he's tall and that's needed against Nadal."
Laver first watched Kyrgios at this year's Australian Open, where the Canberra wildcard lost a dramatic second round encounter to experienced Frenchman Benoit Paire. The former Australian great also lauded Wednesday's effort to save nine match points and retrieve a two-set deficit against Richard Gasquet. He likes what he sees.
"He's coming along and these sort of matches are the ones that will just prove that he's on the right track and has got that confidence. Hopefully he has a match that is going to have him shine," Laver said.
"Even if he loses, if it's close, he's going to know how much he needs to do to really get to that next level. I think this year he got to quite a good level - now it's a matter of taking this experience and don't let them slip away. Needs that 'I'm going to win this match' attitude. That's where he is now. Before he was just a talented kid. He's got character there and he played well under pressure."
But, still, as to whether Kyrgios can beat the 14-slam man Nadal, another past Australian champion, Ken Rosewall, also sees a confident young man going places, so why not to the last eight at Wimbledon?
"There's no reason why he shouldn't do very well," said Rosewall, a four-time Wimbledon finalist and eight-time major winner. "He must have some chance, there's no doubt about it.
"Some players have performed well against Nadal because they've kind of hit him off the court. (Lukas Rosol) two years ago. I think Nick has the power to do the same thing, so it's just whether he can do that power and technique and consistency long enough.''
Both players were given an extra day off, with the entire bottom half of the men's draw held over from Monday to accommodate the one unfinished match and two that were not even started on a rain-soaked Saturday. Also on Tuesday, No.4 seed Roger Federer will play No.23 Tommy Robredo, No.8 Milos Raonic meets No.10 Kei Nishikori, and No.5 Stan Wawrinka is waiting for either Feliciano Lopez or John Isner.
But women's 11th seed Ana Ivanovic, who had trailed Sabine Lisicki by a set when play was halted late on Saturday night, lost her two-part match against last year's runner-up, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in the third round..
The story Rod Laver says Nick Kyrgios will not beat Rafael Nadal first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.