Hewitt and Kyrgios back Alex de Minaur ahead of Rafael Nadal clash
Following wins over Alexander Zverev and Denis Shapovalov, the top-ranked Aussie Alex de Minaur had a chance to take a break during the tie against Greece that also went to the side of the home nation. As it turned out, de Minaur needed that rest badly, facing incredible challenges against Great Britain in both singles and doubles two days ago.
In the singles, Daniel Evans took down the Sydney native in the deciding set tie break after almost three and a half hours, with Alex returning to the court soon after that to survive six match points with Nick Kyrgios against the British pair to propel Australia into the semis.
Lleyton Hewitt took a gamble and put Nick and Alex on the court instead of more experienced doubles players and it paid off in the end, allowing them to set Spain clash against Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut. Both Hewitt and Kyrgios are confident in de Minaur's abilities to challenge world no.
1 in the battle of the top-ranked players, hoping to draw the most from the home crowd and grab his biggest victory in a career so far after claiming three ATP titles in 2019. "The match took a massive effort for Alex, not just physically but mentally as well," Hewitt said.
"Being so close to wrapping up out the tie and do something that he wanted to do here in Australia and have a great win, Alex had to bounce back and come out and lay it all on the line yet again in the doubles. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for him.
He's hitting the ball great and moving well – I'm not worried about him. I knew yesterday was going to be a big ask for the boys.. from tomorrow morning; they start focusing on their next rivals. There's a lot of factors in this; you only get five minutes to decide the doubles squad once the on-court interviews are done.
That's more for me to work out and deal with, then the players having to deal with that. I think they've struck up a good friendship.. I believe de Minaur brings out the best in Nick on the practice squad, just Alex's intensity, the way he goes about it.
Both of them sort of push each other to get better and it's fantastic to see. Kyrgios went out of his way when we put a lot of faith in Alex. Nick was fantastic with him; he's always been great with the orange boys, the younger kids when they come.
He enjoys the two-on-one sessions, working them hard and enjoying a lot; also, Alex was never a kid who was ever going to give in or show pain and I think Nick appreciated that as well. At the moment, even though Alex has passed Nick in the rankings, Kyrgios couldn't be prouder.
He's like a little brother to him out there, firing him up and wanting him to have success as well. Alex growing up, Nick was always that kid that was the top Australian and the big prospect, so, in some ways, he's probably idolized Nick."