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A top seed for the first time, Kyrgios holding courts at Delray Beach

A top seed for the first time, Kyrgios holding courts at Delray Beach

"It's obviously tough because I want him to do well," the 24-year-old tennis player and hoops fan said of his first-round opponent—and one of his best friends—Tommy Paul, "but he's more than capable of beating me and winning the tournament."

DELRAY BEACH, Fla.—Nick Kyrgios and his collection of NBA jerseys have made it to South Florida, where the 24-year-old is the top seed at an ATP event for the first time. 

"Delray is somewhere I feel extremely comfortable," he said on Monday. "I always have one of my favorite weeks of the year—obviously the basketball court is a big part of it."

The ATP 250 has an indoor basketball court just next to the player lounge, and Kyrgios has made good use of it already. And before any haters come after him, he also put in practice hours on the tennis courts, hitting with one of his many friends, Jack Sock. 

"A lot of my friends play here," Kyrgios said. "It's good to see guys like Jack on the court again. Obviously, playing one of my best friends, Tommy [Paul, in the] first round."


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The world No. 21 is set to face Paul on Tuesday night. The 22-year-old American is a dangerous floater in any draw, but especially so after his third-round run in Melbourne, complete with a win over Grigor Dimitrov. Kyrgios called the week a "breakthrough" for Paul. 

"I want all these guys to have great careers, I want them to keep pushing, [and] hopefully have a better career than what I have [had] so far," Kyrgios said. "It's obviously tough because I want him to do well, but he's more than capable of beating me and winning the tournament."

Kyrgios, for his part, would make it to the fourth round of the Australian Open, but then pull out of the New York Open with an injury, calling it "some sort of tendon thing" that he's been dealing with for the past week.

Despite that, and judging from the all-around good vibes he's feeling in Florida, he could have a great week, on both basketball and tennis courts. 

"I just love coming to the States; it feels like home," the Australian said. "I obviously love basketball. I feel comfortable here. This is probably one of my favorite places to play just because of the environment."

Being the top seed in an ATP event for the first time appeared to be merely a stat for Kyrgios, who says he's ready to "go out there and play [his] style of game, serve big and have some fun with it," no matter how friendly, talented or highly ranked the opponent might be. 

"I'm always confident," he said. "I've pretty much beaten every player on the tour and I've done it my way, so confidence I don't really lack."