Teammates blindsided as Kyrgios quits, then gloats

    Australian star Alex de Minaur and co-captain Sam Stosur were clearly stunned by Kyrgios’ bombshell withdrawal as they were forced to answer questions about his fitness issues only minutes after being told the news themselves.Kyrgios is reportedly nursing an ankle injury and will now rest ahead of the Australian Open which starts on January 16.However, the manner of Kyrgios’ 11th hour decision to quit the new team event in Sydney appeared to go down like a lead balloon with teammates, particularly after Kyrgios’ refusal to represent Australia at Davis Cup.Less than two hours after calling it quits, Kyrgios’ posted a video of him on Sydney’s Darling Harbour with the tagline “Beautiful day” with an emoji of holding back laughter.“You know I think it would be great if we just talk about this great team, we are all here, we are all happy to be here, we are about to play 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 come back to Davis Cup.Australian co-captain Lleyton Hewitt did not hide his exasperation at Kyrgios’ Davis Cup snubbing earlier this month month – when the polarising star chose to take Saudi tournament money instead. Hewitt, the Australian co-captain was still in transit on his way to Sydney on Wednesday when the latest Kyrgios’ bombshell dropped.Hewitt’s co-captain Stosur admitted she only found out about Kyrgios’ withdrawal from the United Cup 10 minutes before the official pre-tournament press conference, and made a point of emphasising how much her new-look 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 news to all of us and we just move forward now. We’re all happy to be here and keen to get out there.“I think now that’s out there (Kyrgios pulling out) and we just move forward.“… Obviously had some interesting moments. We’re all here. We’re all really keen to get out on the court and do our best in every single match.”The team Australia press conference was due to start at 1.30pm in Sydney, and after an unexplained delay, tournament director Stephen Farrow entered the room instead of the Australian team to break the news to waiting media that Kyrgios was a no-show and out of the Cup.Stosur declined to comment on the nature of Kyrgios’ injury issues and what impact it might have on his Australian Open.“I’m not going to speak for Nick’s summer. I’ll leave that for him,” Stosur said.Top-ranked stars like Nadal are due to be paid $200,000 at the United Cup, but Kyrgios was only in line to pocket $60,000 due to his ranking in the 21-30 bracket.In Kyrgios’ absence, de Minaur now moves into the No.1 placing for Australia’s United Cup where he will be pitted against Cameron Norrie in the event starting on Thursday night in Sydney against Great Britain, and later will come face-to-face with Rafael Nadal.Sydneysider de Minaur also emphasised Australia’s “team first” mentality in the wake of Kyrgios departure.“We’ve all just heard. Ultimately we’re just going to get ready. We’ve got a great team and we’re going to be out there doing our best,” he said.“For me it’s a great opportunity. Playing Cameron Norrie and Nadal now obviously.“It’s a great test for me. I’m excited to put myself up there.”Earlier, defending Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal declared Kyrgios could break through and win his home grand slam, after breaking through to the Wimbledon final earlier this year.“He can win against any player. Of course he can,” Nadal said.“He can win in any tournament that he is playing. He has all of the talent and the weapons to win against any player.”

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