Davis Cup captain Wally Masur has scoffed at suggestions Nick Kyrgios has become a liability, saying the 20-year-old is a spearhead capable of doing his country proud.
And Masur is hopeful Bernard Tomic will be able to patch up his rift with Tennis Australia and resume his Davis Cup career in the near future.
Kyrgios has become a human headline this year, with his brash on-court antics and demeanour off the court drawing plenty of criticism.
The world No.41 even weighed into Tomic’s rift with TA last week, accusing director of player performance Pat Rafter of being “negative”.
Tomic has been banned for Australia’s Davis Cup tie against Kazakhstan in Darwin, starting on Friday.
But Kyrgios will headline an Australian outfit also featuring Lleyton Hewitt, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Sam Groth.
During Tuesday’s media conference, Kyrgios was asked whether his recent controversies -including a turbulent Wimbledon campaign where he was accused of tanking – had made him a liability.
But Masur quickly jumped in to defend his star charge.
“Nick a liability for the Davis Cup? Absolutely not,” Masur said.
“He’s here, he’s got the green and gold on, he’s one hell of a tennis player. That doesn’t make him a liability, it actually makes him the spearhead.”
Tomic was axed from Davis Cup duties after accusing TA of abandoning him after he underwent double hip surgery last year.
The world No.25 also claimed that Rafter had no idea how to control the budget for player funding and was merely a “mask” for chief executive Craig Tiley.
The rift took a comical twist on Monday when TA distributed an email listing Tomic as having an upcoming appearance at the “Hall of Shame Tennis Championships”.
TA insist the matter was no more than a typo, and that the email should have read: “Hall of Fame Tennis Championships”.
Tomic and his dad are exploring their legal options over the issue, with the matter an unwanted distraction as Australia attempt to power their way into the Davis Cup semi-finals.
“I hope this (whole feud) can be resolved down the track, so Bernie can take his rightful place in the team,” Masur said.
Australia’s infighting hasn’t escaped the attention of Kazakhstan, who have reached the quarter-finals in four of the past five years but are yet to make the final four.
“We’re reading the papers and at times it’s entertaining, but of course we understand Tennis Australia is experiencing maybe some current challenges before this important match,” Kazakhstan captain Dias Doskarayev said.
Masur said the Kazakhs’ 3-2 dispatch of Italy in the first round “certainly sets off alarm bells”, and praised their positive attitude and respect for the competition.
World No.63 Mikhail Kukushkin is Kazakhstan’s highest ranked player, while the visitors are expected to use world No.115 Aleksandr Nedovyesov for the second singles rubber.