MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Firebrand Nick Kyrgios will lead Australia’s Davis Cup charge at this month’s semi-final in Belgium with Bernard Tomic overlooked after his rapid slide down the ATP rankings.
Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt has also recalled Thanasi Kokkinakis for his first Davis Cup tie in two years after the 21-year-old talent’s encouraging return to the tour from 18 months wiped out by injuries.
Kokkinakis, who played in the 2015 semi-final loss to Britain on Australia’s last run to the final four, joins Jordan Thompson and doubles specialist John Peers in Hewitt’s four-man team for the Sept. 15-17 tie in Brussels.
Kokkinakis soared over 200 places to his current ranking of 222 after a run to his maiden ATP final at Los Cabos, Mexico, a month ago.
He has also upset some big names, including Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic since, returning to the tour in June.
“Thanasi has always shown commitment to the Davis Cup team and his performances in 2017 speak for themselves,” Hewitt said in a media release on Wednesday.
“We are so lucky to have such depth among the group and can call upon him heading into this crucial semi-final.
“We couldn’t be in a better position and we’re going to Belgium to try and secure that spot in the finals.”
Tomic, now ranked 146 after reaching a career high of 17 at the start of 2016, skipped the quarter-final against the United States in Brisbane in April during a rough run of results.
His spiral has only continued since Wimbledon where he admitted he felt “bored” playing tennis.
Tomic bowed out of the U.S. Open with a first round defeat to Gilles Muller and is projected to slip outside the top 150 in the rankings, meaning he may have to beg Australian Open organisers for a wildcard to his home grand slam.
Australia will bid for a place in the final for the first time since their 2003 defeat of Spain in the title-decider.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Nick Mulvenney