De Minaur set for Davis Cup debut
Alex De Minaur will face Alexander Zverev in his Davis Cup debut for Australia.
Rookie teenager Alex de Minaur has capped a stellar rise after being named as Australia’s second singles player for their Davis Cup first round tie against Germany in Brisbane.
Team captain Lleyton Hewitt confirmed the 18-year-old would make his Cup debut against world No.5 Alex Zverev with Australian No.1 Nick Kyrgios to face Jan-Lennard Struff in Friday’s opening singles matches at Pat Rafter Arena.
Former world No.1 Hewitt also resisted the urge to play doubles despite practising this week with the team.
He opted for Matthew Ebden to partner doubles specialist John Peers against Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk and Tim Puetz on Saturday before Sunday’s reverse singles rubbers.
The doubles and reverse singles match-ups can be changed up to an hour before they take the court on Saturday and Sunday.
However, the retired Hewitt ruled himself out of a Cup comeback despite a stunning run to the Australian Open doubles quarterfinals with Sam Groth last month.
De Minaur got the nod over experienced duo Ebden and John Millman for the No.2 singles berth after a stunning summer.
The teenager’s ranking has surged from No.208 to a career-high No.139 after making the Brisbane International semis and appearing in his first ATP final in Sydney in January.
“The calibre of player he has beaten this summer has been pretty impressive,” Hewitt said of Sydney-born, Spain-based de Minaur.
“He’s obviously got a big task in the first match but he’s got nothing to lose.”
De Minaur appeared to still be pinching himself after being drawn to open the tie against the world-class Zverev.
“I wasn’t expecting any of this. This is a proud moment,” he said.
After talking up his doubles chances this week, Hewitt said on Thursday that he was never seriously considering playing in Brisbane.
“It’s not happening. It was just fun being out there testing these boys out – I back these boys in,” Hewitt said.