Lleyton Hewitt wants Nick Kyrgios on Davis Cup duty as much for the young talent’s own interests as he does for Australia’s cause.
Kyrgios is in a fitness battle to be ready for this weekend’s World Group playoff with Slovakia in Sydney after a hip injury cut short his US Open title quest in New York.
If he’s ruled out, Kyrgios will have gone two years without contributing a point for Australia in Davis Cup while also having never won a live rubber in a World Group fixture.
By the same age, Hewitt had contested three Davis Cup finals, won a title and beaten three world No.1s in the century-old teams’ competition.
It’d be unfair to say Davis Cup defined Hewitt, but it was certainly the making of him – and now he’d love to see the competition play a part in Kyrgios’s development.
“Nick hasn’t played probably as many big matches in Davis Cup yet so I’d really like him to play in a big tie and have a big result as well for himself,” Hewitt told AAP.
“I think that would make him a lot better Davis Cup player moving forward for the next few years.
“Nick and Bernie (Tomic) are such big-match players and leading forward they could be real leaders in the Davis Cup if we’re going to win a title in the next three to five years as well.
“I would love to have them both in the team. Bernie has always played extremely well in the Davis Cup.”
Hewitt’s challenge to Kyrgios comes as Australia bid to regain their place in the 16-team World Group for the 2017 Davis Cup.
With the world No.15 in doubt, John Millman is on standby to make his Cup debut in the grasscourt tie starting at Olympic Park on Friday.
The tie marks the first time Australia have ever played Slovakia in Davis Cup.