Nick Kyrgios’s heroics in the doubles at the Australian Open wasn’t enough to convince Lleyton Hewitt to select him for Australia’s Davis Cup clash with Hungary.
The team caption instead opted for debutant Luke Saville, Thanasi Kokkinakis, world No.12 doubles specialist John Peers, Australian No.1 Alex de Minaur and world No 65 Alexei Popyrin for the March 4-5 tie in Sydney.
Watch the video above to see the Barty comment that landed Kyrgios in hot water
Kokkinakis and Kyrgios clinched the men’s doubles title at the Australian Open last week to earn their first grand slam title.
But Hewitt is confident his team has enough firepower to match the Hungarians, who will be led by world No.39 Marton Fucsovics.
“Alex has had most of his recent success in Sydney, winning the Sydney international a few years back but also some of his best results last month, including quality wins against (Matteo) Berrettini and (Ugo) Humbert,” said Hewitt.
“Thanasi had a fantastic Australian summer. He really cemented himself as a top-100 player again, winning his first title at home in Adelaide and beating quality players. And then to go on to win the Australian Open doubles, this is going to give him a lot of confidence heading into this tie.
“Popyrin got an opportunity to play a big Davis Cup match in the finals last year. He has a lot of firepower out there, a lot of weapons as well and certainly an option for singles or doubles.
“John Peers has been a regular in the Davis Cup team for a number of years now, he’s a top 15 doubles player. He won the Sydney Tennis Classic a couple of weeks ago and played exceptionally well with Luke Saville at the ATP Cup last month.
“And Luke gets his first opportunity to represent Australia at Davis Cup. It’s something he has worked extremely hard for, and I couldn’t be prouder of him to get this opportunity and being able to present him with a gold jacket and his number,” Hewitt added.
De Minaur, the country’s top men’s player, will again spearhead Australia’s charge.
“It’s always an honour to put the green and gold on,” 22-year-old de Minaur said.
“I can’t wait to get back to Ken Rosewall Arena where I played some of my best tennis over the summer and to play in front of a home crowd.”
For Kokkinakis, 25, the upcoming tie will be his first since 2015 and his fifth Davis Cup nomination overall.
“I’m obviously stoked to get the call up from Lleyton. It’s been a long time since I’ve played Davis Cup,” Kokkinakis said.
“It’s a pretty cool feeling putting on those colours and playing for Australia. That atmosphere is unmatched, it’s a great reward for the summer I’ve had, for me and my team, and all the hard work I’ve put in.”
Saville, 28, will become Australia’s 113th Davis Cup player.
“Playing Davis Cup for Australia, to don the green and gold, has always been a childhood dream of mine,” Saville said.
“To get this opportunity to represent my country on home soil is absolutely incredible.”
Hungary have named Fucsovics, Zsombor Piros, Fabian Marozsan, Mate Valkusz and Peter Fajta in their team. They will be led by captain Zoltan Nagy.
The nations last met in the round-robin stage of the Davis Cup Finals on hardcourt in Turin, Italy last November with the Australians finishing on top 2-1.