Nick Kyrgios has escalated his war of words with Lleyton Hewitt, accusing the Australian team captain of ‘throwing him under the bus’ over his controversial United Cup withdrawal.
The world No22 revealed she will not take part in the mixed-gender tournament just 24 hours before she faces Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie in Sydney on Thursday.
Kyrgios said he wants to be fully fit for next month’s Australian Open and recover from an ankle injury he suffered during an exhibition tournament in Dubai last week.
Nick Kyrgios escalated the war of words with Australian team captain Lleyton Hewitt
But his decision left Australia in disarray, with Hewitt criticizing the ‘lack of communication’ in Kyrgios’ controversial exit.
The 27-year-old on Friday, after his ex-girlfriend Ajla Tomljanovic pulled out of her match against Britain’s Harriet Dart just hours before it was scheduled for Friday night
‘Maybe if Stosur throws him under the bus like our captain did to me…. “it’s hard to prepare when you don’t know what’s going on”,’ Kyrgios wrote on Twitter in response to a tweet from tennis journalist Jose Morgado who announced Tomljanovic’s departure.
Kyrgios’ comments were a thinly veiled dig at Hewitt’s comments on Thursday, when the Australian captain suggested the team had been left in the dark by their star player.
The Aussie star aimed a thinly-veiled dig at Hewitt as she commented on Ajla Tomljanovic’s late exit in her match with Britain’s Harriet Dart
‘I was in the same boat as all the other players yesterday, I don’t know,’ said Hewitt.
‘So it’s a bit difficult for everyone. It’s more of a lack of communication I think, for these people who don’t know.
‘For the whole team, it was quite difficult not knowing what was happening in the last 24 hours. It’s more than communication, and if it’s just Nick concerned, that’s one thing.’
Hewitt added that he would have to wait ‘a little while’ to hear back from Kyrgios. Asked how communication could be improved, he replied: ‘Just responding, that’s the normal way of doing it.’
Hewitt hits out at ‘lack of communication’ in Kyrgios’ controversial exit
Kyrgios’ absence also forced Hewitt to reshuffle his pack, with Alex De Minaur promoted to play in place of his teammate before losing to Norrie in straight sets at the Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney.
De Minaur, who is expected to face Britain’s Dan Evans and Spain’s Pablo Curreno Busta, also faces off next week.
Notably, Norrie and Nadal are both left-handed, while De Minaur prepares to face two right-handers in Evans and Curreno Busta.
Kyrgios’ comments came after his agent, Daniel Horsfall, said Hewitt and the team were responsible for a lack of communication.
Kyrgios’ agent Daniel Horsfall suggested the lack of communication was Australia’s fault
‘I’m a bit confused as to why NKs [Nick Kyrgios] The prep will be treated differently from other players,’ he wrote on Twitter.
‘These guys know as well as anyone, you do what you can to get there on the day, if you can’t make it you withdraw and update those who need to know, if not passed, NK is not responsible.
‘Secondly, if anyone on that team cares enough to reach out and check in with fellow “teammates” every once and (sic) moment to see how they’re feeling on any level. They will know the situation.’
Kyrgios trained on the courts at Sydney Olympic Park on Tuesday to test his injured ankle and said he informed Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley and United Cup tournament director Stephen Farrow of his potential withdrawal before it was made official.
Kyrgios said he skipped the tournament to prepare himself for the Australian Open and recover from an ankle injury he suffered in Dubai last week
For their part, both Tiley and Farrow defended Kyrgios, insisting there were no reasons to doubt his ankle issue was a genuine injury.
‘We all worked together to try and get the best result,’ Kyrgios told The Age on Thursday.
‘Not everyone will understand or see it from my side and that’s okay.
‘What my team and I can control is how we go about our business and make sure who needs to know, knows – and we’ll leave it at that.’