Nick Kyrgios has spoken out for the first time since snubbing the Australia Davis Cup team which almost broke a 19-year drought in the final against Canada.
Lleyton Hewitt’s team went on a brilliant run to face Canada in the Davis Cup final last month, all without the help of the world No.22 Wimbledon finalist.
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Their inspired run to the final came to a grinding halt though, as Alex de Minaur and Thanasi Kokkinakis’s Aussie team failed to even take a set off Felix Auger Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov’s Canada.
Meantime, Kyrgios was preparing to play at a tournament in Saudi Arabia, self-reporting that he was going there for “six figures”, when replying to a comment on Twitter.
He also made comment on his Instagram story in late November.
“Saudi Arabia and Dubai is all that’s left. You know I gotta get the bag,” he wrote.
Australia Davis Cup captain Hewitt said he tried to convince Kyrgios to play in the tournament, but to no avail.
“I don’t know. You have to ask him. I can’t try any harder,” Hewitt said.
De Minaur’s response, when asked about the same thing, was similar.
“I have tried as well. (It) just wasn’t meant to be,” he said.
Kyrgios has now spoken, addressing the matter ahead of the Saudi tournament.
He said his decision was about growing the game, rather than just chasing the money.
“I love travelling to places where you don’t know much about tennis, and trying to draw attention to the sport, I think it’s important,” he said.
“When I retire, I want to know that I have left something and get many new fans into the sport.
“I think it’s a bonus for me to be able to play these matches and I will use the pressure from the match to start ahead of the others at the start of the season.”
Kyrgios’s big Saudi payday caps off a career-best season in which he made the final at Wimbledon, beat world No.1 at the US Open, winning the Washington Open, and taking out the Australian Open doubles titles alongside good mate, Kokkinakis.
He has been included in the nominations for Australian tennis’s highest honour, the John Newcome medal, alongside Ash Barty, Alex De Minaur, Matt Ebden, Storm Hunter, Max Purcell and Ajla Tomljanovic.
Upon learning the news, he gave a cryptic response on Twitter.