Nick Kyrgios’ decision to withdraw from the United Cup has proven as divisive as the player himself with the 11th-hour timing raising eyebrows.
Australia will face Great Britain, and there should have been a battle between Cameron Norrie and the World No 22.
Kyrgios sustained an ankle injury during the World Tennis League exhibition event in Dubai last week.
However, it has been reported that Kyrgios has only pulled out of the United Cup, as a precautionary measure.
Team captain Samantha Stosur revealed that she had not spoken to Kyrgios since the decision had been announced.
The team learned of Kyrgios’ withdrawal just an hour before a pre-tournament press conference.
“I’m not going to speak for Nick’s summer, we’ve got to leave that for him,” Stosur told reporters.
“He was here. We literally just found out 10 minutes ago, so it’s obviously news to all of us.
“But we just move forward now. We’re all happy to be here and keen to get out there.
“Now that’s out there, and we move forward with the placings of the team and do our best on the day. As far as the men’s side of this team goes, we’re in very capable hands still, so I’m not concerned that our chances have just diminished greatly or anything like that. We’re out here to do everything we can possible to try and win this competition.”
Meanwhile, Stefanos Tsitsipas took his chance to have a dig at his rival Kyrgios.
Tsitsipas and Kyrgios split an ill-tempered Wimbledon match in 2022 and the Australian holds a 4-1 lead in their head to head series.
The Greek No 1 has accused Kyrgios of being a bully in the past and hasn’t enjoyed head to head meetings with the Aussie.
“I don’t see it as a surprise. I hope he enjoys his holidays.”
Alex de Minaur insists that all that changes for Australia are the matchups, with Australia well prepared to do their country proud.
“We’ve all just heard,” De Minaur added. “Ultimately we’re just going to get ready. We’ve got a great team and we’re all going to be out there doing our best. So ultimately the only thing that changes is match-ups and that’s about it.”
De Minaur will now face Dan Evans in his opening match of the event.
The United Cup is scheduled to get underway on Thursday 29 December, while the final will take place on 8 January.
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