Tennis wild child Nick Kyrgios has been dumped from Australia’s Davis Cup semi-final showdown with Andy Murray’s Great Britain.
While Bernard Tomic has been recalled after being suspended from Australia’s epic semi-final win over Kazakhstan, Kyrgios’ turbulent year continues with his non-selection for the country’s biggest tie in a decade.
Australian captain Wally Masur on Tuesday effectively included Tomic, the country’s top-ranked player with an impressive 14-2 win-loss record in the century-old teams’ event, in a straight swap for Kyrgios.
Cup stalwart Lleyton Hewitt and his doubles partner Sam Groth, the two heroes from the 3-2 comeback win over the Kazakhs in Darwin in July, and teenage Thanasi Kokkinakis retain their places in the four-man team.
Australia take on Britain in Glasgow in a three-day indoor hardcourt tie starting next Friday, with the winners to face either Argentina or Belgium in the November 27-29 final.
Kyrgios, who lost in four sets to Murray in the first round of the US Open last week, has lurched from one PR disaster to the next since Wimbledon.
After a series of run-ins with officialdom at the All England Club, the 20-year-old’s infamous sledging of French Open champion Stan Wawrinka at last month’s Montreal Masters led to sanctioning from the ATP for aggravated behaviour.
In between, the two-time grand slam quarter-finalist declared “I don’t want to be here” during his shock first-day singles loss to Kazakhstan’s world No.115 Aleksandr Nedovyesov in Darwin.
Masur said Kyrgios’s omission from Australia’s first Davis Cup semi-final since 2006 was by mutual agreement so the talented Canberran could focus on his personal and professional development.
“After some good healthy discussion with Nick and his team, we have agreed on a plan to help him develop all aspects of his game and ensure a long and successful future in the sport,” Masur said. “Next week’s tie has come a bit too soon for him and is not in that plan.”
Masur added that Kyrgios remained fully supportive of his teammates and wished them well in Glasgow.
The Australian squad, which also features John Millman and Alex Bolt as hitting partner, will continue to train indoors in New York this week before heading to Glasgow.
Australia is looking to reach its first Davis Cup final since winning the trophy for a 28th time in 2003.
“With Andy Murray leading an excellent squad who have shown they love playing for their country, Great Britain obviously go in as favourites on their home court,” Masur said.
Murray, though, was in no mood to talk Davis Cup after making a foul-mouthed and premature exit from the US Open on Wednesday.
His 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-0) fourth-round loss to South African Kevin Anderson snapped the Scot’s run of 18 consecutive grand slam quarter-final appearances, a streak bettered only by Roger Federer (36), Jimmy Connors (27) and Novak Djokovic (26).
But Australia may well feel the backlash next week, with Britain’s spearhead now free to return home for extra preparation for the tie.
Murray is almost certain to play both singles and doubles in Glasgow and another sapping run to the final in New York would have left the world No.3 with little time to recover and only two days’ practice in Glasgow.
“I don’t know if it will be a blessing or not,” said Murray as he stewed over his shock loss to Anderson.
“I’m looking forward to the tie, yeah. But right now I’m not thinking about that.”