World No.7 Alexander Zverev has shot down Nick Kyrgios' prospects of securing a maiden grand slam title at the Australian Open.
Kyrgios will enter next week's tournament as the nation's top-ranked player in the men's draw following Alex de Minaur's injury-enforced withdrawal.
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But Zverev, himself a grand slam under-achiever, think Kyrgios is still too inconsistent to challenge the heavyweights over five sets.
"There's a lot of young guys that are right now, no offence, just better than him," Zverev said when asked about Kyrgios' chances at Melbourne Park.
"This is not a three-set match where you can win in an hour-and-20 (minutes) and get off the court.
"There’s a lot of young guys that are right now, no offence, just better than him." Alexander Zverev when asked about Nick Kyrgios' chances at the #AusOpen— Oliver Caffrey (@ollycaffrey) January 17, 2020
"To beat the best, you have to play at your best for a longer period of time."
Kyrgios and Zverev have built up a healthy rivalry as young stars on the rise.
The Australian world No.26 leads their head-to-head clashes 4-3 and won their most recent meeting, beating Zverev in the final in Acapulco last March.
During a press conference on Friday, Zverev also questioned why there was not more hype around the Australian No.1 rather than Kyrgios.
"Alex De Minaur is just simply more consistent right now as well," Zverev said.
"I don't know why not a lot of people talk about him because he's been playing unbelievable at the ATP Cup."
Kyrgios, who is seeded 23, will face Italian Lorenzo Sonego in his first-round match on Tuesday.
Open draw a mixed bag for Aussie hopes
Asheigh Barty will begin her Australian Open campaign against Ukrainian world No.120 Lesia Tsurenko and should cruise through the first week at Melbourne Park.
But then the world No.1's path to Open glory could become treacherous.
Thursday night's draw pitted Barty in the same top half as reigning champion and third seed Naomi Osaka and seven-times winner Serena Williams.
With Alex de Minaur pulling out injured on Thursday, Kyrgios will be Australia's top men's hope at Melbourne Park when the season's first grand slam gets under way on Monday.
Seeded 23rd, Kyrgios's first big test is likely to come against Russian star Karen Khachanov in round three and the former quarter-finalist could run into world No.1 Rafael Nadal in the round of 16.