Nick Kyrgios hopes to spearhead Australia towards a record-setting Australian Open first round this afternoon when he takes on Milos Raonic.
No fewer than eight Aussies reached the second round yesterday, a run that could see long-standing records tumble today.
Eight locals – including Kyrgios, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Sam Stosur and Daria Gavrilova – will take to the court on another sweltering day in Melbourne Park.
If the eight split their matches 50-50, it will be the best first round effort for Australia since 1992.
For context, none of the women through to the second round – led by Ashleigh Barty – were born the last time Australia had 12 locals progress.
The world No.15 dominated Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum 6-2 6-2 to move into the last 64, saying she was buzzing to have so much company.
“Especially on the female side, there’s a few young Aussies that got a win today (which is) really exciting,” she said.
“I think it’s shown the depth that is in Australian tennis on the female side … they’re absolutely scratching the surface. I don’t think it will be long before they’re breaking through that ceiling.”
Astra Sharma, Zoe Hives and Kimberly Birrell were the day one winners, with Destanee Aiava, Gavrilova, Stosur and Ajla Tomjanovic bidding to join them on Tuesday.
Aiava, 18, will begin the Aussie charge on Tuesday with a Rod Laver Arena date against 17th seeded American Madison Keys.
Kyrgios’ clash with the 16th-seeded Canadian Raonic is last up on Melbourne Arena.
One of four male winners on Monday, John Millman, said Tennis Australia should cast the net wide in if it wanted players to drop their rankings.
“I’ve been saying it for a long time. Strength in numbers,” he said.
“Let’s not punch the lotto ticket for the one next Roger Federer. Let’s get strength in numbers and we’ll get guys to come through and they’ll push each other along.”
Alex de Minaur was a straight-sets winner on day one, while outcast Bernard Tomic lost to an impressive Marin Cilic.