Todd Woodbridge, a 22-time Grand Sleam champion visits Gladstone West State School
Todd Woodbridge, a 22-time Grand Sleam champion visits Gladstone West State School Paul Braven GLA010617TENNIS

WOODBRIDGE: Aussie tennis in safe hands

TENNIS: Australian tennis is in safe hands and will shine brightly for years to come according to 22-time Grand Slam champion Todd Woodbridge.

Making up one half of the famous Woodies doubles pairing with fellow Aussie great Mark Woodforde, the duo won 63 doubles titles during their time together including 11 Grand Slams.

The Woodies were a major cog in the wheel of Australian tennis during the 1990s before Woodforde retired after the 2000 Olympics.

Woodbridge was a member of the golden generation of Australian tennis and graced the court with success next to the likes of Pat Rafter, Mark Philippoussis and a young Lleyton Hewitt.

Now the 46-year-old has a keen interest in the next generation of Aussie tennis stars and believes that their success will come with a little patience.

"I think we're doing well but the public wants champions straight up,” Woodbridge said.

"They want to be winning majors as we want them to win too.

"We're in a good moment here in terms of whether Nick Kyrgios can keep maturing because he's capable of anything.

"Nick is maturing and that's what we've all hoped and that takes time. He's only just turned 22 and he's been in front of the world's media full on and is now starting to understand how to deal with that.

"He's got a good relationship with (Croatian- Australian women's player) Alja Tomljanovic and they make a really good couple and that helps keep you grounded.

"Things like a couple of weeks ago (in late April) when his grand- father passed away, so his preparation for the French (Open) hasn't been what it was supposed to be.

"When things like that happen in your life you grow up quickly and quicker and you have to learn to deal with things. So he's evolving as a young man and as that happens he's going to play better tennis as well.”

Australia's Nick Kyrgios grimaces as he plays Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber during their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Tuesday, May 30, 2017 in Paris. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Todd Woodbridge has backed Nick Kyrgios Petr David Josek

Woodbridge says Kyrgios and company can drive a new generation of kids interested in tennis.

"This year particularly with the Davis Cup and getting through to the semi finals,” he said.

"Jordan Thompson is a young guy who's been through all of our programs and is starting to get towards the top 50, winning important Davis Cup matches and doing well at the French Open having won a round already.

"Underneath him Alex De Minaur who's a (Junior) Wimbledon runner-up and has really made great progress in the last 12 months.

"On the female side you have Jaimee Fourlis who got a wildcard into Roland- Garros and took a set off Caroline Wozniacki.

"We've got a really good young crop of girls coming through and the really exciting thing is that they're being led at this point by Ash Barty.

"Having had her go away (to cricket) and realise how much she missed the sport that she wants to be back is the real key.”