Kyrgios happy with positive start

01 January 2017 10:27:54 EST

Nick Kyrgios said he was a little surprised but happy to play well on his return to competitive tennis.

The Australian ended the 2016 unhappily with a ban from the ATP but he began the New Year in style, beating Feliciano Lopez in straight sets in the Hopman Cup.

I was doing a lot of work in the gym and rehabbing, so I think that's paid off, definitely.

Nick Kyrgios

The mixed tournament in Perth is a gentle way to get the 2017 season underway and more pressing engagements lie ahead, notably the Australian Open, just days away.

However, Kyrgios performed well in beating the Spaniard 6-3 6-4 in a little over an hour.

Having been starved of competitive tennis in the last few months of 2016, he was pleased to get the new season off to a winning start.

He said: "I felt like I was gonna be a little bit rusty at times, but I played really well today and it's surprising, because I haven't been doing that much on the court, I've just been trying to get into a good head space and being ready, so I was really happy with the level today."

Looking ahead to the new season as a whole, many expect Kyrgios to make his mark. He is up to number 13 in the ATP world rankings and is one of a number of younger players looking to put pressure on the likes of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic in 2017.

He feels he has prepared well, adding: "I feel there's so much tennis to be played in the next couple of months that I was just gonna come into it pretty fresh. I was doing a lot of work in the gym and rehabbing, so I think that's paid off, definitely."

Australia are defending champions of the Hopman Cup, Kyrgios winning it last year alongside Daria Gavrilova.

Kyrgios, whose best appearance at the Australian Open was a quarter-final in 2015, is 33/1 to win the event this year.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic is 13/8 to win against Melbourne Park while Andy Murray, a five-time losing finalist is 13/8 to finally win.

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