DAVIS CUP SEMI FINALS
NICK Kyrgios has chosen to stay out of the pointless draw of the Australian Davis Cup against Austria next week.
Kyrgios had said during the US Open that he would make the trip to Graz for the World Group tiebreaker “if elected” by Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt.
But the Australian No. 1 has chosen to rest his fragile body after a relatively demanding campaign in the United States.
Kyrgios, who revealed during his career until the third round in New York, that he had been taking cortisone every other day for a knee issue, has also been affected by injuries in the elbow and hip in the last two years.
Nick Kyrgios will not play for Australia in the Davis Cup tie and will instead be rehabilitated after a tough season on hard courts in the United States. Photo: AP Photo
Nick Kyrgios will not play for Australia in the Davis Cup tie and, instead, will be rehabilitated after a tough season on hard courts in the US. Photo: AP PhotoSource: AP
It is understood that the two-time Grand Slam finalist would have played against the Austrians if it had been a great semifinal or final of the World Group. But the radical revision of the Davis Cup has made the track accessory of clay from September 14 to September 16 largely superfluous.
With the competition turning into an 18-team end-of-season event starting next year, there will be no World Group for Australia to join in 2019, even if they win the “heat”.
Hewitt was due to leave for Europe on Sunday with an expanded squad, which will now be headed by teen star Alex de De Minaur and John Millman, Australia’s best interpreter at the US Open and Roger Federer in the fourth round on Monday.
While Nick Kyrgios has two sets against Roger Federer in Ashe, his Davis Cup captain is on the practice court, instead of being on the court like he was before with John Millman. Interesting. #Open of the United States
1:41 AM – September 2, 2018 · Queens, NY
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It is almost certain that De Minaur and Millman play singles in Graz, with Hewitt ready to choose the team to pair John Peers in doubles. South Australian Alex Bolt also traveled to Austria.
While Hewitt is stridently opposed to the controversial Davis Cup reforms, especially the elimination of the local element of the 118-year-old team event, Kyrgios welcomed the change.
“The best thing about the Davis Cup was the local ties,” Kyrgios said. “I had some great experiences in my visitor ties, I played a draw in Belgium, it was one of the most memorable.
“Obviously, in Australia it was very special.
“That was the biggest loss, when changing the home and away from home (aspect).
“(But) things change and I think tennis as a sport needs to be more exciting in some way, so a change like this is going to be good.
“We’ll see how it goes, if all the players participate, if they’re big, I think everyone will play and it will be a very, very good week or whatever it takes.”
It is unknown if Kyrgios’ decision to skip the tie next week had some role in Hewitt not being on the court for Canberran’s third-round loss to Federer on Saturday.
Instead, Hewitt chose to beat Minaur several hours before the 19-year clash with Marin Cilic, which caused surprises on social networks.
He has beaten Roger Federer, put Novak Djokovic to the test and now John Millman is preparing for another of tennis’s biggest challenges: confronting Dominic Thiem on clay.
Millman is embarrassed to be nicknamed as Australia’s spearhead for next week’s Davis Cup tie against the Austrians led by Thiem in Graz.
But that is the reality with the absence of Nick Kyrgios leaving Millman as the best player in Australia for the tie of September 14-16.
John Millman hopes to face Dominic Thiem in the Davis Cup.
John Millman hopes to face Dominic Thiem in the Davis Cup. Source: Getty Images
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Millman’s career until the quarterfinals of the US Open has projected the 29-year-old to climb to No. 37 in the world on Monday, one place ahead of young prodigy Alex de Minaur, who stretched the Open finalist from Australia Marin Cilic to five sets in the third round at Flushing Meadows.
“We still have a really good team, I love what Alex de Minaur says,” MIllman said before flying from New York after his fourth-quarter loss to Novak Djokovic.
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“He’s been playing amazing, he had a big hardcourt swing in Washington and this week here at the US Open, pushing Marin to five sets.
“He’s a great player and I do not think there’s a No.1 or a No.2 on this team.
“We are joining and representing our country and we are incredibly proud to do so.”
The radical restructuring of the Davis Cup, which will be transformed into an end-of-season final of 18 teams of one week duration since 2019, has rendered the “play-off” of the World Group of Australia meaningless.
Dominic Thiemreached the final quarter of the US Open. Image: Getty.
Dominic Thiemreached the final quarter of the US Open. Image: Getty.Source: AFP
Millman does not agree.
“Look, every time you represent your country, you carry the weight of the country on your shoulders, that’s my opinion,” he said.
“I think it’s a pretty special draw, this is potentially the last time we could be playing with a format that has existed for over a hundred years.”
Millman and de Minaur will be accompanied by captain-player Lleyton Hewitt, who will likely be a teammate of John Peers in doubles, and Jordan Thompson. Visitors face a gigantic task in trying to prevent Thiem from leading Austria to victory.
Runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the French Open, Thiem, seventh-ranked, returned to show his class with an epic defeat in the fourth quarter of five sets against the world number one in New York this week.
“He’s probably the second best current clay player,” Millman said.
John Millman is a big fan of Alex de Minaur. Image: AFP.
John Millman is a big fan of Alex de Minaur. Image: AFP.Source: AFP
“He’s a great player, a great ball hitter, he really moves out of clay, jumps around, and he’s a good competitor.
“I have a lot of time for him.
“But not only Dominic Thiem, they have a very, very strong team.
“Dennis Novak reached the third round at Wimbledon and qualified here.
“He’s a very good player and they have a world-class doubles team, so it will be an incredibly tough match.”
“But I know that our preparation will be first class and I’m sure we can really stick to them.”
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Friday, September 14 – singles
13: 00-19: 20 – BBC Red Button, online TV and connected
Dan Evans by Denis Istomin 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 0-6 6-4 7-5
Jurabek Karimov by Cameron Norrie 0-6 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 6-2
Saturday, September 15 – doubles
14: 00-17: 00 – online and through connected TVs
Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot v Sanjar Fayziev and Denis Istomin
Watch the action on Saturday here
Sunday, September 16 – singles
12: 00-16: 00 – Red BBC button, connected and online TVs
Cameron Norrie v Denis Istomin
Dan Evans v Jurabek Karimov