Nick Kyrgios has pledged his allegiance to Australia’s Davis Cup cause without even answering the question.
Optimistic about his chances of overcoming hip soreness to lead Australia in this week’s World Group playoff against Slovakia in Sydney, Kyrgios bristled when asked why he was available after boycotting the Rio Olympics.
The world No.15 declined to offer a response, but the message was clear: Kyrgios will play for Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt but not for Olympic team boss Kitty Chiller.
In no mood to reignite his war of words with Chiller, Kyrgios said “it means a lot” to be back on deck for his first Cup tie since last year’s quarter-final win over Kazakhstan in Darwin.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to play,” he said on Tuesday before a workout with Bernard Tomic on the drop-in grass court at Olympic Park.
“I feel ready. I’m playing probably the best tennis I have.”
A hip flexor injury cut short Kyrgios’s US Open campaign in New York, but the Australian No.1 said he should be fine in time for Friday’s opening singles rubber.
“I’ve hit twice since I’ve been here and been going for about an hour to an hour and a half so it’s feeling good and I’m feeling confident with it,” Kyrgios said.
“I just got a niggling injury that came out of nowhere almost. (But) I feel I’ve been going pretty well. I’ve been on the rise the whole year. I’ve been playing well. I feel confident and I think we can do great things.”
If he plays, Kyrgios and Tomic will reunite in Davis Cup for the first time since Kyrgios’s debut three years ago – and for the first time since Tomic accused his one-time doubles partner of faking illness to miss Australia’s first-round loss to the USA in Melbourne in March.
Both players insist they’re back on the best of terms, with Kyrgios hailing Tomic one of his idols while growing up.
“He’s a great player, with great potential and doing great things,” Kyrgios said.
“It’s not only Bernard. Grothy (Sam Groth) has played some great Davis Cup ties. In Darwin, he pretty much saved me.
“And Peersy (John Peers) is one of the best doubles players in the world.
“It’s not me and Bernard. It’s the whole squad. It’s everyone involved.
“It means a lot to me being in this chair alongside these guys trying to get back into the World Group.”
Slovakian captain Miloslav Mecir has brought a depleted team to Australia devoid of the country’s top two singles players Martin Klizan and Lukas Lacko.
Australia must win to retain their place in the 16-team World Group for 2017.