As the Davis Cup semifinals get underway on Friday, players from all over the world will be competing for much more than ranking points. Representing your country brings added pressure that is understandably tough to deal with. One player who thrives off of the Davis Cup pressure is Australia’s Nick Kyrgios. Kyrgios is 9-0 in sets this season during Davis Cup matches and has played a certain brand of tennis that many of his fans would like to see year round.
In the first round of the Davis Cup, Kyrgios and Australia faced off against the Czech Republic in Kooyong, Australia. Kyrgios played Jan Satral and won comfortably as you’d expect to help Australia move on to the quarterfinals, where they faced the United States. Kyrgios played a huge part in the tie, winning the 2nd rubber over John Isner in three sets, and the 4th rubber to close out the tie with a three-set win over Sam Querrey. It’s clear that Kyrgios plays much more focused in Davis Cup, and a team atmosphere might just be what he needs to play his best tennis. When Kyrgios spoke to Australian media he said, “You’re not playing for yourself and I find it easier to play for these guys and I feel it’s helped me so much throughout my career.” Playing for Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt has to play a huge part in his success as well. Hewitt won the Davis Cup twice in his career, and played some of his best matches while representing Australia. Even though it’s on a smaller scale, Kyrgios also won the Hopman cup with Daria Gavrilova in 2016. That week in Perth, Australia, he went undefeated in singles matches including wins over Alexandr Dolgopolov, Alexander Zverev, and Andy Murray. It was the first time Australia had won the Hopman Cup since 1999.
Kyrgios and Australia have their hands full this weekend when they face Belgium in Brussels. Australia has a slight edge given their team, but playing at home on their choice of surface (clay) will be huge for Belgium. David Goffin, like Kyrgios, performs well in Davis Cup so if the two meet in the 4th rubber on Sunday, it would definitely be worth watching. Kyrgios will face Steve Darcis tomorrow; if he plays the way he has in Davis Cup matches this year he shouldn’t have any problems. Australia hasn’t reached the Davis Cup finals since 2003, when they defeated Spain, so returning to the final would be big for a country that prides themselves on being one of the better tennis countries in the world.