James Duckworth reveals truth about brutal Lleyton Hewitt 'snub'

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·Sports Editor
·5-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
James Duckworth, pictured here at the Paris Masters.
James Duckworth has opened up about being overlooked for Lleyton Hewitt's Davis Cup squad. Image: Getty

James Duckworth has opened up on being overlooked for Australia's Davis Cup squad, saying he holds no animosity towards captain Lleyton Hewitt.

Aussie tennis fans were left stunned when Duckworth wasn't selected in Australia's five-man team to contest the Davis Cup finals, despite being the country's most in-form male player.

'DISGRACE': Photo resurfaces of IOC boss and Peng Shuai's 'attacker'

'FUTURE HUSBAND': Ash Barty's beautiful engagement announcement

Hewitt went with three lower-ranked singles players - John Millman, Jordan Thompson and Alexei Popyrin - ahead of the red-hot Duckworth, as well as picking Aussie male No.1 Alex de Minaur and doubles specialist John Peers.

When Thompson had to withdraw after contracting Covid-19, Duckworth still didn't come in and Alex Bolt was named as Thompson's replacement instead.

Duckworth has since revealed that he was offered Thompson's spot but knocked it back, while pointing out that the squad was already picked before his incredible purple patch of form.

“It seems like it’s been built up like there’s something going on with Lleyton and I,” Duckworth told News Corp.

“They had to name a team quite early for Davis Cup this year, so Lleyton decided just after the US Open to name the team, and at that stage I was sitting fifth in the rankings out of the Aussie boys.

“He called me then and it was a tough decision for me, because I was the one who missed out.

“You’re always going to feel that you should be in the team, but I could understand where he was coming from … it was a close call and I can’t come out and say I should have been in the team.”

Duckworth said he had already made plans to return to Australia when Hewitt offered him Thompson's spot.

“Lleyton asked me if I wanted to come but I just felt it was too difficult to come at late notice,” he said.

“Everyone is saying, ‘How was James not picked?’. I had a really long year and I’d already organised my flight back and my quarantine, and the timing of it was pretty tricky for me.

“Lleyton was really good about it and completely understood. He didn’t put any pressure on me either way.”

James Duckworth, pictured here after Australia's Davis Cup victory over Brazil in 2020.
Alex Bolt, James Duckworth, John Peers, Lleyton Hewitt, Jordan Thompson and John Millman after Australia's Davis Cup victory over Brazil in 2020. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

James Duckworth's incredible purple patch of form

Duckworth became the first Australian since 2018 to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP Masters 1000 event when he made the last eight at the Paris Masters earlier this month.

He has since moved into the world top 50 for the first time in his career after victories over top-40 opponents David Goffin (39), Jannik Sinner (10) and Roberto Batista Agut (19) in recent months.

The 29-year-old Duckworth, playing a brand of aggressive, fearless tennis now he's free from the injuries that have bedevilled him for years, has won 15 of his last 21 matches.

"Team selection is never easy," Hewitt said after naming his squad.

Lleyton Hewitt, pictured here with Alex de Minaur at the Newcombe Medal in 2018.
Lleyton Hewitt (L) with Alex de Minaur (R) at the Newcombe Medal in 2018. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

"We will be led by our No.1 Alex de Minaur, who has had a really consistent three to four years on the tour and has established himself as a top player.

"John Millman gave us the opportunity to play in these Davis Cup Finals a year and a half ago in Adelaide against Brazil. He bleeds green and gold and loves representing Australia.

"Jordan Thompson has played some big matches in Davis Cup in the past. He had a great doubles win with John Peers, beating Colombia two years ago.

"Alexei Popyrin plays his best tennis in the biggest matches and the biggest tournaments. He has a lot of firepower and a lot of weapons and it's nice to have another young gun in the team."

Fans initially questioned how Hewitt could possibly overlook Duckworth.

with AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting