Lleyton Hewitt wants Nick Kyrgios to end his three-year absence from the Davis Cup in 2022, adamant one of tennis’ aficionados is part of Australia’s top team.
Kyrgios will sit out this weekend’s qualifier against Hungary, with the 26-year-old fending off an approach by team captain Hewitt to play in Sydney due to fixtures in the United States.
The former world number 13 hasn’t played for Australia since 2019, but Hewitt hopes he can bring him back into the fold for the group stage or final.
“We wanted him back for this game. For us, it’s disappointing that he wasn’t available for this particular game,” Hewitt said.
“He is absolutely in the (best) team.
“I get on extremely well with Nick. We have a lot of open discussions. He loves to play but he also has a lot of other things to do.
“I hope he gets the opportunity to be back in the team because I think it also helps his tennis and the enjoyment of the sport.
“Hopefully we get through this and it’s available later in the year.”
Kyrgios’ absence from the Davis Cup is consistent with all tennis since the start of the pandemic.
The Canberra product has only played 10 tournaments since the 2020 Australian Open and has already indicated that he will not be playing at Roland Garros this year.
His repeated absences during this period caused his ranking to drop from world No. 20 to 134th.
Nonetheless, Kyrgios showed some brilliance reaching the third round at Wimbledon and the Australian Open last year and winning the doubles in Melbourne this summer with Thanasi Kokkinakis.
“The last two years have been tough for him because Nick loves being home,” Hewitt said.
“He is, however, lucky to be able to pick up a racket and be able to compete with the best players with very limited games under his belt.
“Not many players can do that.
“For him to reach his absolute best, he has to get those games. Absolutely.
“But I still think he will pick and choose where he wants to play, though.
“In many ways he plays for different reasons than a lot of other guys. He’s not driven by the majors and doesn’t win titles all the time.
“Sometimes it’s for the entertainment and the fun he gets from wanting to play. It’s up to him where the motivation takes him.”
Hewitt’s support comes after Kyrgios revealed last week that he battled depression and drug addiction around the 2019 Australian Open, detailing one of the “darkest times” of his life.
Hewitt said he was in regular contact with Kyrgios, well aware of mental health issues during the pandemic.
“It’s hard when you’re always the center of attention and people assume everything is rosy there,” Hewitt said.
“It’s probably not for most people at certain stages.”
Meanwhile, Hewitt was coy about whether Kokkinakis or Alexei Popyrin would back Australia No.1 Alex de Minaur in Friday night’s opening singles matches, while John Peers and Luke Saville are expected to play doubles.
Australian Associated Press