Nick Kyrgios gave Australia a dream start before reminding tennis fans he only had a five-year window to help win back the Davis Cup.
Kyrgios’s 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory over Andrej Martin on Friday earned Australia a 1-0 lead over Slovakia in the World Group playoff in Sydney.
But if Lleyton Hewitt was delighted with Kyrgios’s clinical display, the Australian captain might not have been so pleased to learn afterwards that the 21-year-old had no plans to stick around for the long haul.
“I’m only playing for another four, five years,” Kyrgios mumbled when asked about Australia’s long-term prospects with he and Bernard Tomic spearheading the team.
Kyrgios’ pledge comes after the controversial star raised eyebrows last month when he revealed in a New York Times feature article that he planned on retiring by age 27 to hopefully pursue a professional basketball career.
Kyrgios also teased his Twitter followers with a promise to quit tennis if he’d won the US Open.
The world No.15’s indifference was at odds with the joy he felt at putting Australia one up in his first Davis Cup appearance in more than a year.
“It was a great feeling,” he said after securing his first point for Australia in two years.
“I know how important it was to get our team off to a good start. ‘Rusty’ (Hewitt) was trying to keep me engaged the whole time and I thought my performance today was very good mentally.
“I thought I was very professional and I played well.”
Kyrgios also had to overcome a nose bleed during the third set and couldn’t help but take a pot shot at world No.1 Novak Djokovic after refusing to let the distraction stop him.
Djokovic was criticised for taking a medical time-out to have his toes taped while trailing Stan Wawrinka by two sets to one and a service break in last week’s US Open final.
Kyrgios opted only to have running repairs, with tissues placed in his nostril during a changeover before he completed his straight-sets win.
“I’m not like trying to do a Novak at the US Open,” he said.
“Like, I’ve got a blocked nose, mate. I’ve got to fix it. I can’t play with blood coming out of my nose.
“I mean, I want to play. I don’t want to take breaks. It was tough. It breaks the momentum. Obviously, the other guy doesn’t really know what’s going on either.
“I want to get the match going as quickly as possible as anyone. I don’t want to hang around.”
Not on Friday and not for more than five years, it seems.