Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt rates Nick Kyrgios a 50-50 chance of playing in this week’s Davis Cup World group play-off against Slovakia – but feels the odds are better still that Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic will go on to do great things for tennis.
Kyrgios is in doubt for the tie because of the hip injury which forced him to retire from his third-round match at the US Open.
On Monday, Kyrgios hit with his teammates on the recently laid grasscourt at Sydney Olympic Park, which Hewitt expected to get quicker later in the week.
Hewitt said he would wait until Wednesday night before making a decision on Kyrgios, but was encouraged by the progress the top ranked Australian was making.
“We’ve got to take it day-by-day and it’s sort of weighing up how much grass court practise he needs as well to be able to go out there and play as close to 100 per cent as possible,” Hewitt said.
Kyrgios and Tomic have only played together in one previous tie in Poland three years ago.
World ranked 16th and 19th respectively, Kyrgios and Tomic have attracted headlines as much for their behaviour as they have for their tennis.
Hewitt, who had his share of critics early in his own career, is convinced the two rising stars can be a positive force for the sport and not just at home.
“You can’t categorise those two as the same kind of players or personalities, but they are obviously learning to deal with being in the spotlight day-in and day-out at a pretty young age as well,” Hewitt said.
“But I think they can do great things for the sport and not just in Australia. I think they can do a lot of great things for the sport of tennis in general,” added Hewitt, who felt Kyrgios brought with him a broad-based appeal that could transcend tennis.
Hewitt said Kyrgios wouldn’t be distracted by the fallout generated by some of his actions, which included the legendary John McEnroe questioning whether he wanted to be a professional tennis player after he’d retired from his third round match in New York.
“He’s in his own little world a lot of the time as well … he doesn’t worry about a lot of things that are going on the outside,” Hewitt said.
He said Tomic had moved on from his much publicised foul-mouthed tirade at a heckler at the US Open and described that as out of character.