Nick Kyrgios is one of tennis’ most devastating servers.
Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt was once the game’s most accurate returner.
More: Davis Cup Format Won’t Change, Hewitt Not Happy
Australian captain Hewitt responded with blunt return when asked about Kyrgios’ Davis Cup future. Kyrgios ruled himself out of this month’s Davis Cup Finals.
“I don’t know. You have to ask him,” Hewitt replied. “I can’t try any harder.”
Felix Auger-Aliassime beat Alex de Minaur to clinch Canada’s 2-0 victory over Australia in today’s Davis Cup final in Malaga, Spain.
✨ The stage is set ✨@TennisAustralia are HERE 🇦🇺#DavisCup #byRakuten pic.twitter.com/oonMcVML2A
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) November 27, 2022
Denis Shapovalov opened the day’s play defeating Kyrgios’ doubles partner, Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-2, 6-4 to stake Canada to a 1-0 lead. That set the stage for Auger-Aliassime clinching Canada’s first Cup in its 93-year Davis Cup history.
Could Australia have captured its first Davis Cup since 2003 if Aussie No. 1 Kyrgios played?
That sort of speculation game is like asking would Spain have claimed the Cup if world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and No. 2 Rafa Nadal were present or if Italy would have hoisted the Cup if it had Jannik Sinner and a fully healthy Matteo Berrettini.
Still, Hewitt, who led Australia to that 2003 Davis Cup against Spain alongside teammates Mark Philippoussis and The Woodies, knows how dangerous his team could be with Kyrgios playing.
Hewitt is a big believer in Kyrgios’ game, has helped the world No. 22 out as a part-time coach on occasion and says he’s repeatedly tried recruiting the Wimbledon finalist.
“Of course. I try and come here with the best possible team we could field,” Hewitt said.
The feisty de Minaur, who swept 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-2 in Australia’s semifinal win over Croatia, was 0 for 8 on break-point chances against Auger-Aliassime today.
Asked if he’d reached out to Kyrgios, de Minaur told the media in Malaga “I’ve tried as well, just wasn’t meant to be.”
The 27-year-old Kyrgios, who owns an 11-5 Davis Cup singles record, last played Davis Cup in 2019.
Kyrgios has been a devoted team player in the past, partnering Daria Gavrilova to win the Hopman Cup for Australia in Perth and joining forces with buddy Kokkinakis to capture the Australian Open doubles championship last January in a rousing run that captivated the nation.
This season, Kyrgios opted out of both Davis Cup and Laver Cup citing the long schedule and how extended time away from home has impacted his mental health in past years. In Kyrgios’ absence, Team World upset Team Europe in Roger Federer’s farewell to claim it’s first Laver Cup and Team Australia advanced to the final falling short to Canada.
Hall of Famer Hewitt’s post-final comments signal he’s most concerned with the players he has rather than those who aren’t on board.
“I’m gutted for the boys. You know, they put in their commitment and the work, and they did everything right,” Hewitt said of his players. “They have done absolutely everything all year that we have asked of them as a coaching staff.
“We’re just extremely proud of the effort and the commitment and dedication that these guys have shown.
“Yeah, they left it all out there once again. We came up slightly short, but, yeah, I couldn’t be prouder. I know all of Australia should be proud of all five guys.”
Photo credit: Getty