Australia's Nick Kyrgios reacts after losing a point against Belgium's David Goffin during the men's singles final at the ATP Japan Open tennis tournament in Tokyo on October 9, 2016. / AFP / KAZUHIRO NOGI
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Melbourne's notoriously changeable weather threatened to wash out the soft launch of the Australian Open Monday but the rain was unable to dampen the cheer among tournament organizers enthused by Nick Kyrgios's weekend victory in Japan.The tempestuous 21-year-old, Australia's brightest hope of a men's grand slam champion since twice winner Lleyton Hewitt, clinched the Japan Open Sunday with an impressive win over rising Belgian David Goffin.For a player who professes no love for tennis and has admitted to being "a little bit soft", Kyrgios has won all three of his titles this season, his latest in Tokyo the biggest of a still fledgling career.The 35-year-old's unwavering defense of Kyrgios, warts and all, was rewarded when the player pledged himself for Davis Cup duty and helped Australia retain its place in the World Group with a playoff win over Slovakia last month.
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