NEW YORK (AFP) - Britain's Andy Murray has some sympathy for Australian bad boy Nick Kyrgios, the controversial 20-year-old he will face on Tuesday in the first round of the US Open.
Third seed Murray, who won the 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon titles, said on Saturday that Kyrgios was wrong in his lurid verbal attack on Stan Wawrinka in Montreal earlier this month, but tennis officials, fans and players needed patience in dealing with him.
"I'm not necessarily about coming out in favour," Murray said.
"He's a young guy. He made a mistake. All the guys here when they were 19 or 20 made mistakes. His was seen by millions. It's unfortunate it happened. It was wrong."
Kyrgios made crude remarks concerning Wawrinka's girlfriend, teenager Donna Vekic, during a match in Canada against the reigning French Open champion.
"Everybody matures at a different rate. It's a process," Murray said.
"I don't think he's a bad guy, a bad person, at all. He's an unbelievably talented guy with a lot of potential. Just a little bit of patience is important when it comes to Nick. It's not easy growing up in the spotlight."
The ATP found Kyrgios guilty of "aggravated behaviour" and hit him with a 28-day ban and a fine of US$25,000 (S$35,000), both to be waived if he avoids any fines for verbal or physical abuse at ATP events over the next six months.
Murray said he didn't know if that might shut down some of the Aussie's aggressive tendencies and diminish his game ahead of their match, the third at a 2015 Grand Slam.
"I don't know how he's prepared to handle it. I have no clue. He and his people will find the best way to make it," Murray said.
"If he gets a warning here or breaks his racket, I don't know if that should be a suspension."
Murray was not sure the controversy would hinder Kyrgios, having boosted attention for the match to a level where it probably draws a feature spotlight.
"To be honest, I believe he likes playing on big stages," Murray said.
"I would expect him to be ready for the match. He gets fired up for big matches."
Murray worries more about match details than Kyrgios' controversy.
"I don't pay attention to the other stuff," Murray said.
"For me it's a tennis match. I go about the match in the best way possible, getting on with things."
Murray has not dropped a set to Kyrgios in going 3-0 against him, winning in the Australian Open quarter-finals and a third round match at the French Open.
"Every match is a new match. He might come in with something different against me," Murray said.
"I have to prepare for that. He's quite an unpredictable player.
"I've played well. I played great tennis and made it tough for him, mixed it up."