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Rebel with a cause Kyrgios to help troubled youth

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Melbourne (AFP)

Nick Kyrgios has become a rebel with a cause by creating his own foundation to help underprivileged youth, admitting it was time to "knuckle down" and grow up.

The volatile Australian, who begins his Australian Open campaign Monday, wants to help the welfare of disadvantaged youngsters by creating the NK Foundation.

It is all part of the young gun finding more maturity after frequent criticism in the past for his on-court blow-ups.

"I'm pretty young still, but there is a time when you've got to knuckle down and become a true professional," he told the Melbourne Herald Sun Monday.

"And I'm getting closer and closer to that at the moment."

Kyrgios, 22, who won his fourth ATP Tour title in Brisbane ahead of the Australian Open, has revealed his desire to provide facilities for struggling children has become a key motivator in his career.

"It's massive for me to have a foundation like that," he said ahead of his first-round match at Melbourne Park with Brazil's Rogerio Dutra Silva.

"I've been wanting to do something like this since I was about 19.

"To have my own place where kids or people could just come or sort of live or pick a sport they wanted to play.

"Doing well at tournaments obviously is massive. The cash is a big thing to go into the foundation.

"Obviously they're (kids) going to be watching and watching me play and that's going to be motivation for them, I think, whichever sport they chose.

"To see the person whose foundation is doing well, the culture would be awesome."

Kyrgios, with his brother Christos, is developing a facility in Melbourne where youth can play tennis, basketball, swim and take shelter.

It is a different side to the tempestuous Kyrgios, who is seen as the big hope to become the first Australian to win the national Open since Mark Edmondson back in 1976.

Kyrgios sees his foundation as helping him cope with competitive pressures on court.

"I'm not just playing for myself. I'm playing for the whole foundation and everyone who's kinda helped me that and who's supported me," he said.

"I'm playing for all of them and I'm sure that's going to help me on court.

"So many players and past players have been supportive. Tennis Australia, the ATP have helped. It's awesome."

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