Kyrgios has often been a controversial character on tour, claiming to have deliberately lost a number of matches because he’d “rather be somewhere else”.
However, he has ignored calls to retire from the likes of John McEnroe, who hit out at the 22-year-old in frustration, and after cutting 2017 short with a hip problem, Kyrgios is back in action at the Brisbane International.
The No 3 seed should have cruised through an all-Australian clash with world No 76 Matthew Ebden but lost the first set in a tie-break.
But he fought back to take the second in similar fashion before winning the decider 6-2 to complete the win in two hours and 14 minutes.
It came at a cost though, Kyrgios receiving a medical timeout during the first set after “sharp pain” in his left knee, a problem he later admitted he had picked up in training.
“I haven’t been feeling anything coming into the tournament and couple of days ago I started feeling it,” Kyrgios said.
“It was a bit surprising but it was still good enough to play.”
Kyrgios will be hoping the injury does not hinder his preparation for his home Grand Slam, which starts on January 15 and with so many of the world’s top 20 players struggling for fitness, could represent an opportunity to go deep in the tournament.
But he will have to avoid a repeat of 2017, where he failed to get past the second round of any of the Grand Slams, losing to Andreas Seppi in Australia after leading by two sets to love.
Instead, Kyrgios will be looking to find the form that saw him reach the quarter-finals of the 2015 Australian Open, where the unseeded player was beaten by Andy Murray.