MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 11:  Jason Kubler of Australia plays a backhand against Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan during day three of the 2018 Kooyong Classic at Kooyong on January 11, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Kubler still buzzing from Lleyton’s wildcard call at Kooyong

Posted on January 11, 2018

After making his debut at the Kooyong Classic in very hot conditions Jason Kubler was still beaming with happiness contemplating his second Grand Slam appearance at next week’s Australian Open.

The 24-year-old from Brisbane was defeated by Japanese speedster Yoshihito Nishioka 7-5 6-4 but his mood was still bright after finishing his last competitive match before playing at Melbourne Park where he has qualified as a wildcard.

“It was tough conditions today, a little bit windy at the start and it was hot,” Kubler said after the match.

“We had some long rallies and it was just tough to get ready for the next point, but I think that’s what I need before the Open.

“I was happy with the match-up because he was going to get everything back, so I just need to complete my points, I don’t think I did that too well in the first set.

“But in the second set I was able to shorten the points a little bit.”

Last week he played a Challenger event in Adelaide and ended up winning the tournament, giving the world No. 242 more than enough time on court to make the most of his golden opportunity with a good preparation.

Kubler made his first and only appearance at a Grand Slam in 2010 at Melbourne Park, which will host the draw on Thursday night deciding who the Australian will play in the first round.

“When I was 16 I had like a month like this where I played Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne – it was just tough will all the pressure and stuff,” he explained.

“This time I’m really enjoying it and I was happy playing in front of a crowd, even though I lost, I thought I played some good tennis and I’m just pumped about it all.

“I gotta get used to the heat but I’m feeling pretty good.”

Having started the 2017 without a ranking has made the last few weeks all the more sweeter for Kubler who was ecstatic when Australian tennis legend Lleyton Hewitt called his phone with news of his wildcard selection.

“Very excited with the wildcard, it was a bit of a shock to get it to be honest,” Kubler smiled.

“I didn’t think I was going to get it so when Lleyton rang I was pretty pumped about that.

“It was unbelievable (getting that call), I thought I was going to get into the quallies and I would have been happy with that and then he’s rang me and said, ‘do you think you’re ready for five sets?’

“I’m like, ‘of course I am, of course I am’.

“I didn’t expect it either, even four months ago I had made finals of a couple of tournaments but even the thought of quallies at the Aussie Open was out the window.

“Fast-forward four months and I’m here, even playing here today in front of a good crowd was great.”

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