Lleyton Hewitt and Alex de Minaur both tried to convince Nick Kyrgios to play in the Davis Cup Finals, but the Wimbledon runner-up is too busy preparing for his big Saudi Arabia payday.
Kyrgios is Australia’s highest-ranked player as he is currently No 22 in the ATP Rankings with Alex de Minaur next best at 24th. With Kyrgios making himself unavailable for selection, captain Hewitt opted for a squad of De Minaur, Jordan Thompson (84) and Thanasi Kokkinakis (95) for the singles with Matthew Ebden (24) and Max Purcell (33) part of the doubles team.
After beating the Netherlands (2-0) in the quarter-final and Croatia (2-1) in the semi-final, Australia suffered heartbreak in the final on Sunday as they lost 2-0 against Canada in Malaga, Spain.
Kokkinakis lost the opening rubber 6-2, 6-4 against Denis Shapovalov while De Minaur went down 6-3, 6-4 against Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Hewitt was asked about Kyrgios’ absence after the event and he replied: “I don’t know. You have to ask him. I can’t try any harder.”
The former world No 1 added: “I try and come here with the best possible team we could field.”
De Minaur also tried to get the Wimbledon runner-up to represent his country, but he had a similar answer.
“I have tried as well. Just wasn’t meant to be,” he said.
In an Instagram post from De Minaur celebrating Australia’s semi-final win, a user asked Kyrgios if he is not playing because he is “busy buying handbags again or something?”
The 27-year-old replied: “About to go to Saudi for 6 figures actually.”
It was in reference to his appearance at the Diriyah Tennis Cup that will take place from December 8-10 in Saudi Arabia.
The controversial tournament will feature Kyrgios, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Taylor Fritz, Alexander Zverev, Cameron Norrie, Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka.
Players have been criticised for taking part in the tournament, which many believe Saudi Arabia is using as part of their campaign to enhance their reputation through sport, which is often referred to as sportswashing.
As for Australia’s defeat to Canada, De Minaur lamented his inability to beat Auger-Aliassime, saying: “I just had one job to do, and that was to get my team into the deciding doubles. Sadly, I wasn’t able to perform.
“You always want to do everything you can for your team, and I had chances. They just didn’t want to go my way today.
“We had the ultimate goal in front of us and on this day we weren’t able to perform.
“It’s tough, but so many Davis Cup Australian players have been following us, even if they didn’t play they were with us. This shows what a family this Australian team is.”
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