The physical and mental toll of his Australian Open campaign on Nick Kyrgios, including his role in bushfire relief efforts, was part of the reason he withdrew from two recent hardcourt tournaments in the United States, according to Lleyton Hewitt.
Australia's Davis Cup captain Hewitt said it would always be important for Kyrgios to pick and choose which events he played in to manage his physical and mental wellbeing on tour, rather than being a player who tried to squeeze in as many tournaments as possible.
Hewitt also said the Davis Cup's future would be questioned if crowds were poor again this year in Madrid under the new format.
Nick Kyrgios is down and out during his loss to Rafael Nadal.Credit:Getty Images
Kyrgios, Alex De Minaur, John Millman, Jordan Thomspon and James Duckworth were on Tuesday picked in Australia's Davis Cup qualifier squad for a tie against Brazil in Adelaide beginning March 6.
Under the new Davis Cup format, which began in 2019, the world group (top 18 teams), no longer play home and away ties but rather a multi-team tournament in Madrid across one week.
Australia need to beat Brazil to qualify for a spot in Madrid, where last year's tournament was poorly attended. Hewitt said if that happened again the future of the Davis Cup would be called into question. He also said he wasn't sure if the ATP Cup would merge with the Davis Cup.
"It's been pretty hard to deal with the ITF for 25 years so I am not sure it's going to change overnight now. I think the ITF is under a lot of pressure though. Purely with how strongly the ATP Cup performed as well with that format and the crowds," Hewitt said.
"That was the most disappointing thing for me in Madrid last year was purely the crowd attendance and the atmosphere, it wasn't Davis Cup. It was a competition but it certainly wasn't Davis Cup as we know it with the home and away ties and playing in some of those hostile arenas. I'd much prefer to be there and have some kind of atmosphere and have the crowd going against you than playing with 20 or 30 people there."
Hewitt said he had been in contact with de Minaur about his return from an abdominal injury suffered at the ATP Cup, which kept him out of the Australian Open. De Minaur returned to action on Tuesday at the Mexican Open, where he lost in three sets to Miomir Kecmanovic.
"When they first sat down, he was the kind of kid [that] he still wanted to play the Australian Open even with the tear he had in the abdominal muscle," Hewitt said. "The facts were that a lot of senior medical staff had to tell him what it could cause if he did go out there and make it worse. Being so young and eager and he was playing so well coming in and it wasn't an easy decision for his team to make but it was the right decision."
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