Davis Cup: Zverev wary of Kyrgios challenge
A first title on home soil has made NIck Kyrgios an even more dangerous Davis Cup prospect, says Germany's Alexander Zverev.
The swagger is still there but world No.5 Alexander Zverev believes Nick Kyrgios has arrived in Brisbane for Australia’s Davis Cup clash with Germany a changed man thanks to a breakthrough title on home soil.
Australian No.1 Kyrgios oozed self belief at the Cup draw after being assigned world No.58 Jan-Lennard Struff for the first round tie’s second singles round at Pat Rafter Arena on Friday.
Debutant Alex de Minaur – just 18 – will open the tie against German superstar Zverev.
“I am always confident,” world No.14 Kyrgios said when asked why he was confident Australia would win the tie.
However, Zverev believes Kyrgios is an even more dangerous prospect than usual after winning the Brisbane International last month – his maiden ATP tour title in Australia.
The 22-year-old Kyrgios went on to enjoy a rousing Australian Open run to the fourth round that won back the crowd’s support 12 months after he was booed on court in Melbourne.
Zverev was wary of what the supremely confident Kyrgios was capable of doing in Brisbane.
The star players will meet in what looms as the tie’s crunch match in Sunday’s reverse singles rubbers.
“He seems very motivated to play. He has changed a little bit to be honest – that win in Brisbane was huge for him,” Zverev said of Kyrgios.
“Winning for the first time in Australia was something very special for him.
“In Melbourne he had some great matches, he’s tough to beat but we have a great team ourselves and are very confident.”
Maybe not as confident as Kyrgios.
The dual Grand Slam quarterfinalist admitted he had a spring in his step after returning to his happy hunting ground at Pat Rafter Arena.
Besides the Brisbane title, Kyrgios also dominated at the venue in Australia’s convincing Cup win over the United States in April.
“I feel good. I had one eye on this when I was playing here in Brisbane,” Kyrgios said.
“I knew I was going to come back here and play Davis Cup and I am just really excited for it.
“It’s one of my favourite weeks of the year being with these guys, training and just hanging out with them.
“I am very excited to get it going.”