On the eve of the inaugural United Cup, Australia’s temperamental Nick Kyrgios pulled out of the event citing an ankle injury behind his late decision which not only surprised his team-mates and captain Sam Stosur, but impacts on his preparations for the Australian Open which Rafa Nadal believes he can win this year.
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 (do) to try and win this competition. Sam Stosur
“We literally just found out,” Stosur said when speaking at a press conference, revealing that she only received the news some 10-minutes before addressing the press.
“We move forward now and do our best on the day,” adding she hadn’t spoken to Kyrgios about his decision and wouldn’t be drawn on whether he would be fit for the Open.
“I’m not going to speak for Nick’s summer, we’ve got to leave that for him,” she said.
While the news took onlookers by surprise, it wasn’t to one of his rivals who has never been afraid to voice his disapproval of some of Kygrios’ antics, namely Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, the world No.4 who is competing in Perth who reacted at the news by declaring: “I don’t see it as a surprise. I hope he enjoys his holidays.”
Kyrgios was due to play Britain’s Cameron Norrie in Sydney where Great Britain, Australia and Spain will be competing in Group D of the new international mixed gender competition.
He will now be replaced by Alex de Minaur as the host’s No1, with world No.107 Jason Kubler, the fifth-ranked Aussie male, promoted to the No.2 spot.
De Minaur, world ranked 24, wouldn’t comment on his compatriots’ withdrawal simply saying the team the team was ready whatever the situation.
“Ultimately we’re just going to get ready,” de Minaur told reporters.
“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.”
That comment was endorsed by captain Stosur.
“Now that (Kyrgios news) is out there, 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 (do) to try and win this competition.”