Sunday 18 March 2018 / 05:09 AM


Nick Kyrgios insists he’s re-energised and ready to lead Australia to victory in their Davis Cup World Group semi-final showdown against Belgium.

Kyrgios was hampered by a shoulder injury at the US Open, losing to compatriot John Millman easily in the first round. It capped off a diabolical grand slam season for the highest ranked Aussie who struggled to reach his full potential.

But the Australian spearhead has claimed he is fit and mentally ready for Australia’s clash with Belgium.

The Aussie typically thrives in the team atmosphere of Davis Cup and benefits greatly from the expertise of captain Lleyton Hewitt.

“Davis Cup had done wonders for me this year,” Kyrgios said.

“It’s really made me find that love again for being with the guys and just having some fun and knowing that tennis isn’t all bad, you can have some fun with it.”

The team travelled to Brussels to compete on the indoor clay courts earlier in the week.

Hewitt allowed Kyrgios some time off practise upon arriving to ensure he is in the best possible shape for the clash.

Belgium head into the tie as favourites and they will be attempting to reach the Davis Cup final for the second time in three years.

In contrast, Australia is bidding to qualify for the decider for the first time since 2003.

“I put it as my top priority to be healthy, to fight and get some really good results in Davis Cup,” Kyrgios said.

“[Hewitt has] been unbelievable support for me,” he added. The Aussie legend has helped to rejuvenate Kyrgios, lifting him mentally and physically when he has struggled throughout his career.

“There have been times where I haven’t been doing too well mentally and he’s always been there.”

Kyrgios will lead the action on Friday, taking on Steve Darcis in the opening singles tie. He will then face top ranked Belgian David Goffin in reverse singles action.

The Kyrgios-Goffin clash is one of the most anticipated clashes of the semi-final. Kyrgios holds the 3-0 win-loss advantage against Goffin but Goffin has reached a career-high top 10 ranking this season and has the potential to rattle an unpredictable Kyrgios.

A rapidly improving Jordan Thompson is likely to support Kyrgios in the singles fight. The 23-year-old has won a handful of career-defining matches this year, boasting a win against Andy Murray at Queen’s, who was ranked number one the time, and eliminating Jack Sock in a first round shock at Flushing meadows.

A resurgent Thanasi Kokkinakis, who is on the comeback from injury is also named in the team, along with doubles specialist John Peers.

Aussie young gun Alex de Minaur also travelled to Brussels as a hitting partner and emergency player.

Australia and Belgium have met four times in Davis Cup ties and they split the victories 2-2.

Belgium has won their two most recent meetings in 2007 and 2010 in a decisive fifth rubber.

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Alyssia Varricchio

Alyssia Varricchio is a sports reporter, journalist and producer based in Melbourne.

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