Sydney: Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt says he has been willing to overlook Nick Kyrgios's recent outbursts on the ATP Tour to select the talented but wayward star in his team for the revamped Davis Cup finals.
Kyrgios is currently serving six months probation on the ATP tour after a meltdown at the Cincinnati tournament in August and calling the ATP "pretty corrupt" during this year's US Open.
The suspended sentence applies only to the ATP Tour and not the Davis Cup and Hewitt is confident the 24-year-old Kyrgios will be on his best behavior at the 18-team world finals in Madrid from 18 to 24 November.
Hewitt said Kyrgios's latest ban had not affected his decision to select the player in a strong Australian team, drawn in a group with Belgium and Colombia. The Australia team also includes world number 28 Alex de Minaur, Jordan Thompson, John Millman and doubles specialist John Peers.
"I have been watching that closely," Hewitt said of Kyrgios.
"I feel like on the Davis Cup court he's done absolutely everything I've needed in the past; he hasn't put a foot wrong."
"There's a lot of things he does in a team environment that I actually think we will see the best of him." Hewitt, a two-time Davis Cup winner with Australia, said Kyrgios had withdrawn from recent tournaments with a shoulder injury.
"After the Laver Cup he had a shoulder (or) collarbone injury which he's pretty much over now but he had to take a few weeks out as he felt like if he kept playing that was going to jeopardise his chances of possibly playing Davis Cup," Hewitt said.
"He comes in a little bit underdone but I'm fortunate he's a guy who can light it up when he needs to and I think he's a guy that this format will suit," he added.
Denis Shapovalov to join Canada
Fresh off his first ATP Tour title, Denis Shapovalov has been named to Canada's team for the inaugural Davis Cup finals. Shapovalov, who won the Stockholm Open on Sunday, will be joined by Felix Auger-Aliassime, Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil.
Canada is grouped with Italy and the United States. There are six groups in the 18-team event. The group winners and the next two best teams advance to the quarterfinals.
Kei Nishikori misses out with injury
Kei Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up, will have season-ending surgery on his right elbow and is aiming to be ready to go for the start of 2020.
Nishikori's manager, Olivier van Lindonk, wrote in an email on Monday that the right-hander from Japan will have a "small procedure removing two small bone spurs" in the elbow.
The procedure is scheduled for Tuesday. That means Nishikori will miss the Paris Masters indoor hard-court tournament next week and the Davis Cup finals. Van Lindonk said the goal is for Nishikori to be able to begin his offseason training for 2020 at the start of December. The next Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, starts on 20th January.
Nishikori has not competed since a third-round loss at the US Open in September. According to van Lindonk, Nishikori has struggled with irritation in his elbow since the French Open in May.
Despite that, Nishikori reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros before losing to 12-time champion Rafael Nadal, then followed that up by also reaching the round of eight at Wimbledon in July before losing there to eight-time champion Roger Federer.
"He has tried to heal this with rest," van Lindonk wrote, mentioning five tournaments that Nishikori pulled out of because of the problematic elbow, and added: "But time has proven that rest & rehab was not enough."
The 29-year-old Nishikori has been ranked as high as number 4 and is currently number 8. He closes 2019 with a 29-14 record and one title. Nishikori and two-time Grand Slam title winner Naomi Osaka, who also plays for Japan, are expected to be two of the biggest stars at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
He was the first man born in Asia to reach a major championship final when he was the runner-up to Marin Cilic at Flushing Meadows five years ago. And at the US Open a year ago, Nishikori and Osaka gave Japan a men's semifinalist and a women's semifinalist at the same Grand Slam tournament for the first time.
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Updated Date: Oct 22, 2019 16:08:38 IST