Team Australia set for ATP Cup
Australia, spearheaded by Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios, will open its ATP Cup campaign against Germany on Friday night in Brisbane.
A rare win in Brisbane has ensured Germany are full of confidence ahead of their opening ATP Cup clash with Australia at Pat Rafter Arena on Friday.
But after witnessing Australian teammate Alex de Minaur’s rapid rise since their 2018 loss in Queensland, Nick Kyrgios reckons the Germans shouldn’t be getting ahead of themselves.
German spearhead Alexander Zverev claimed his team were still buzzing from their 3-1 Davis Cup tennis triumph two years ago against Australia at the same venue that will host their opening round-robin clash of the inaugural ATP Cup.
And no wonder – it marked the first time Australia had been defeated in Brisbane in a Davis Cup tie since the tournament adopted the World Group format in 1981.
“We are the only ones to have beaten Australia in Brisbane, right?” world No.7 Zverev said.
“There are great memories from that week in 2018. I still remember it and I hope we can take something out of that.
“We know that we can play well on that court. I hope we can show that again and not only beat Australia but the other countries as well.”
But world No.30 Kyrgios warned Germany that they would be taking on a much improved De Minaur in their ATP Cup group, which also features Greece and Canada.
De Minaur was the lowest ranked Australian in the team at No.139 when he was a shock singles pick for the early 2018 Davis Cup tie but still gave Zverev a scare before losing their opening singles rubber in five sets.
Fast forward two years and the 20-year-old De Minaur is now Australia’s No.1 player at the ATP Cup, spearheading the team as the world No.18.
“We lost to them in a tough battle (in 2018) but the way Demon (De Minaur) is playing now, it is night and day compared to how he was the last time we played them,” Kyrgios warned.
“I don’t think they will like how many balls he gets back in this heat.”
Kyrgios was also quietly confident he could hold up his end in Brisbane, boasting 4-3 and 1-1 career head-to-head records against Zverev and German teammate, world No.35 Jan-Lennard Struff, respectively.
Asked if Germany held an edge over Australia after their Davis Cup clash, Kyrgios said: “Not really. I have beaten Zverev multiple times and Struff.”
The quietly spoken De Minaur said he was soaking up the pressure in his new-found role as Australia’s spearhead ahead of the ATP Cup.
“There is always expectation but I strongly believe there is no expectation greater than the one I put on myself,” he said.
“I finished off 2019 really well so hopefully I can start off 2020 the same.”