Early Kyrgios, Barty exits ‘a real lost opportunity’
NICK Kyrgios and Ashleigh Barty face a battle to retain Australian Open seeding status after failing to capitalise on their big chance to go deep at Wimbledon.
Tennis Australia's head of performance Wally Masur lamented the star duo's "lost opportunity" after Kyrgios and Barty were unable to progress beyond the last 32 at The All England Club.
A surge to the second week would have earned Australia's two big guns valuable rankings points ahead of the grand slam board's intention to revert to 16 seeds instead of 32 at next year's majors.
Barty departed London right on the cusp and with big points to defend in the back end of 2018, with Kyrgios sitting just outside the new planned seedings cut-off.
"Ultimately it was a lost opportunity," Masur said when asked to assess Australia's Wimbledon showing.
"Ash is 16 in the world, Nick is 17. To get to the third round, is that successful? I would look upon that as more a lost opportunity.
"Ash is an exceptional talent, we know Nick is and they don't need to hear what my expectations for them are.
"But I see them both as top-10 players and, to do that, you've got to do well in the slams.
"The point differential going from 18 to seven in the world is massive and this is where you get your rankings points."
While there were rumours that a virus had afflicted Barty in her loss to Daria Kastkina, Kyrgios and fellow Australian seed Daria Gavrilova both confessed to falling victim to nerves in their third-round defeats.
"But I would say everybody's nervous when they play tennis. That is just a reality of the game," said Masur, who wants Barty and Gavrilova to control their emotions better on court.
"To me, they just didn't seem comfortable or happy, which is unusual.
"At that stage of the tournament, the weather was perfect, the courts were getting harder and faster and maybe if you're not happy and comfortable, you certainly can't show it.
"It's not so much their tennis (letting them down). You've got to walk away from a big event like this and you've got to assess where you went well and where you went badly and the way you operate on a daily basis.
"Good tennis players are like the ultimate poker players.
"You don't really know what they're thinking and I think some of our players give too much away. "I mean, the whole world knows what they're thinking.
"And when consider that the only person that really wants to win is you, don't beat yourself up.
"Some of our girls beat themselves up a little bit, which was unfortunate."
No seeding at Melbourne Park would leave the home hopes unprotected in the draw and facing the prospect of a first-round clash with the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams.