Nick Kyrgios will play for a place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals on Monday after vowing to spearhead Australia’s Davis Cup assault on Kazakhstan this month.
In a huge boost to Australia’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals for the first time since 2006, Kyrgios has declared his availability for the last-eight tie in Darwin from July 17-19.
There had been speculation swirling around the All England Club that the 20-year-old would boycott the quarter-final in protest to Bernard Tomic’s axing over the weekend.
But less than 24 hours from his fourth-round clash with Frenchman Richard Gasquet, Kyrgios put those rumours to bed.
“As a proud Australian it’s a pleasure and privilege to be able to represent my country in Davis Cup,” he wrote on Facebook on Sunday, Wimbledon’s traditional rest day.
“As long as I’m able, fit and healthy, It’s an opportunity I will never pass up.”
Tomic has been stood down from the grasscourt tie against Kazakhstan in Darwin for his venomous attack on Tennis Australia bosses Craig Tiley and Steve Healy and former Cup captain Pat Rafter, now TA’s director of player performance.
Tiley had been hoping Tomic, who accused the governing body of neglect and mismanagement, would cop the one-tie suspension, learn from the experience and move on.
Maybe he will.
The fears Kyrgios would add to Australia’s woes and pull out in what would have been a hammer blow to the 28-times champions were born out of Tomic’s extraordinary press conference on Friday.
Tomic claimed that Kyrgios would sit out the quarter-final if Tomic, as he’d planned, went ahead with his boycott.
“It’s interesting what’s happened the last week that Nick wasn’t going to play as well,” Tomic said.
“You know, I was not going to play. He said: `If you don’t play, I don’t play’.
“It was interesting now looking at this; we are in the quarter-finals of a stage, and we are sort of about to pull the pin.
“There is a lot of stuff that’s involved now that I’m very disappointed in.”
After banishing Tomic on Saturday, though, Healy said Cup captain Wally Masur was confident the rest of his leading players including Kyrgios, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Lleyton Hewitt would be available following discussions with Australia’s stars.
Kyrgios is still understood to be livid with Tomic’s axing, and will need to put the controversy behind him as he takes on Gasquet for a spot in the last eight at London’s SW19 for the second consecutive year.
As a wildcard, Kyrgios famously saved nine match points and recovered from two sets down against the Frenchman in last year’s second round before the lowest-ranked player – at 144th in the standings – to defeat a world No.1 at a grand slam since 1992.
Another success over Gasquet would vault the 20-year-old into a showdown with either fourth-seeded French Open champion Stan Wawrinka or 16th seed David Goffin for a semi-final spot.
“I’m going to play my game,” Kyrgios said.
“Whatever happens happens.”