Swiss great Roger Federer urged Nick Kyrgios not to waste his talent as the maligned Australian faces a make-or-break period in his career.
Erratic on-court behaviour has landed the talented 20-year-old in hot water over the past 12 months.
Tantrums, alleged tanking and sledging saw Kyrgios dominate the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2015, with a led remark directed at Stan Wawrinka at the Rogers Cup in August resulting in a suspended ban.
Kyrgios was also criticized for his behaviour during his Australian Open defeat to Tomas Berdych last week, after he hit out at the chair umpire for failing to control music played at Rod Laver Arena.
And former world number one and 17-time grand slam champion Federer had some advice for Kyrgios, who is 30th in the ATP Tour rankings.
“It’s going to be a process,” Federer said after advancing to the semi-finals at Melbourne Park courtesy of a straight-sets victory over Berdych.
“It just takes time for people to get to know you. I had the same thing. I felt very misunderstood many times when I was younger.
“I felt like I had to put in a lot of work with the press so they first knew who I was so they could relay the messages to the public, the broader public, the right way.
“So in a way I always feel like it’s really interesting and nice to see a youngster grow up in the public eye. But then at the same time, you also have the negatives.
“Of course, he’s fighting that a little bit. But I think he’s doing okay now, better now. He needs to, obviously, for what happened last year.
“The advice I would give him, just that he’s aware of the fact how important the next couple of years are. Otherwise the train leaves the station and you’re maybe not on it.
“It would be a pity to waste talent and all that even more so in this day and age because I feel talent brought you further back in the day.
“Just talking about a guy who has talent and potential, I can’t hear it anymore. Too many guys have talent. Too many guys are working hard. I don’t believe in that very much anymore.”