United Cup: Australian team-mates stunned as Nick Kyrgios withdraws ahead of Australian Open

Nick Kyrgios left his Australian team-mates stunned after retiring from the United Cup event in the 11th hour – and then spent the afternoon soaking up the Sydney sunshine.

Nick Kyrgios surprised tennis officials and teammates by sensationally withdrawing from the United Cup event in Sydney 10 minutes before his scheduled press conference on Wednesday, before taking to Instagram to bask in the sun in Darling Harbour.

Aussie star Alex de Minaur and co-captain Sam Stosur were visibly stunned by Kyrgios’ withdrawal from the bombshell as they were forced to answer questions about his fitness woes just minutes after learning the news themselves.

Kyrgios is reportedly suffering from an ankle injury and will now rest ahead of the Australian Open which starts on January 16.

However, Kyrgios’ decision in the 11th hour to leave the new team event in Sydney seemed to go down like a lead balloon among teammates, particularly after Kyrgios refused to represent Australia at the Davis Cup.

Less than two hours after quitting, Kyrgios posted a video of him in Sydney’s Darling Harbor with the slogan “Nice day” and an emoji holding back laughter.

“You know I think it would be great if we just talked about this amazing team, we’re all here, we’re all happy to be here, we’re about to have an exciting new event, something new for all of us, The United Cup,” said de Minaur, who revealed earlier this month his unsuccessful attempts to convince Kyrgios to return to the Davis Cup.

Australia co-captain Lleyton Hewitt didn’t hide his desperation at Kyrgios’ Davis Cup snub earlier this month – when the polarizing star opted to take Saudi tournament money instead. Hewitt, Australia’s co-captain, was still en route to Sydney on Wednesday when the latest Kyrgios bomb went off.

Admitting that she only found out about Kyrgios’ withdrawal from the United Cup 10 minutes before the official pre-tournament press conference, Hewitt’s co-captain Stosur stressed how much her newly formed team of de Minaur, Jason Kubler, John Peers, Ajla Tomljanovic, Zoe Hives and Maddison Inglis wanted to be in Sydney.

“We literally just found out 10 minutes ago,” Stosur said.

“Obviously it’s new to all of us and we’re just moving on now. We’re all happy to be here and want to get out.

“I think now that’s out there (Kyrgios retreats) and we’re just moving forward.

“…obviously had some interesting moments. we are all here We’re all very keen to go out there and do our best in every single game.”

The Australian team’s press conference was due to start at 1.30pm in Sydney and after an inexplicable delay, tournament director Stephen Farrow entered the room in place of the Australian team to break the news to the waiting media that Kyrgios had failed to show up and been eliminated from the cup.

Stosur declined to comment on the nature of Kyrgios’ injury woes and the potential impact on his Australian Open.

“I will not speak for Nick’s summer. I’ll leave that to him,” Stosur said.

Top-tier stars like Nadal are set to receive $200,000 at the United Cup, but Kyrgios should only pocket $60,000 given his placement in the 21-30 bracket.

In Kyrgios’ absence, de Minaur is now moving to No.

Sydneysider de Minaur also stressed Australia’s “team first” mentality following Kyrgio’s departure.

“We all just heard it. Ultimately, we just prepare. We have a great team and we will do our best,” he said.

“It’s a great opportunity for me. Now, of course, Cameron Norrie and Nadal are playing.

“It’s a great test for me. I look forward to lining up there.”

Earlier, Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal had said Kyrgios could break through and win his home Grand Slam after reaching the Wimbledon final earlier this year.

“He can win against any player. Of course he can,” said Nadal.

“He can win any tournament he plays. He has all the talent and weapons to win against any player.”

Originally released as United Cup: Australian teammates stunned as Nick Kyrgios withdraws ahead of Australian Open

https://www.codesports.com.au/tennis/united-cup-australian-teammates-stunned-as-nick-kyrgios-withdraws-ahead-of-australian-open/news-story/cb34fe6c7b03ca120f817dc49d0432c3?nk=5871d05085373b18df2620a94822325f-1672208167 United Cup: Australian team-mates stunned as Nick Kyrgios withdraws ahead of Australian Open

Ryan Sederquist

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