Jason Kubler has revealed how he texted Nick Kyrgios to thank him for the opportunity to play in Australia's United Cup team following Kyrgios' controversial withdrawal. Kyrgios was originally slated to spearhead Australia's campaign at the new mixed-gender team event, but announced his withdrawal at the last minute to focus on his fitness for the Australian Open.
With Kyrgios missing, Australia failed to qualify for the second round after a first-up loss to Great Britain eliminated them from contention. But Kubler has emerged as the feel-good story of the tournament for Australia after back-to-back singles wins.
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After coming back from 0-5 in the second set to beat Dan Evans in Australia's first tie, Kubler beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Tuesday night to help Australia beat Spain 3-2. Speaking in the aftermath of his 6-3 4-6 6-3 win in Sydney, Kubler revealed he'd reached out to Kyrgios.
"I actually messaged him after my match against Evo (Evans)," Kubler said. "I messaged him, 'Thank you so much for the opportunity'. Basically (said), 'I hope your body gets better, and we can have a hit before the Australian Open.
"That's the way I see it. He could have played, and he could have done unbelievably well, like I know we all think he can. Fortunately, he gave me the opportunity to play, and I have sort of taken it with both hands and run with it.
"Me personally, as much as I would have loved to see that Rafa-Kyrgios match or the Kyrgios-Norrie match, it's just one of those things where luckily he handed me the opportunity and I'm just going for it."
While Lleyton Hewitt refused to comment about Kyrgios following Alex de Minaur's stunning win over Rafa Nadal, Kubler said there is no ill-will in the Australian camp. Hewitt had previously criticised Kyrgios for his lack of communication when he withdrew.
"I have so many good things to say about Rusty (Hewitt), about Demon (Alex de Minaur), any of the Australian guys," Kubler said. "When I hang around them, when I hang around Nick, Thanasi (Kokkinakis), Thommo (Jordan Thompson), (Christopher) O'Connell, I feel like I get lifted up.
"When I go out there and it's a big situation, when I hang with them, it feels like I should be in those situations because that's what they do. I'm so happy that Rusty was our captain. I'm so happy that I got another opportunity to play in front of him and play in front of a court that he loves.
"Creating these memories with these guys and strengthening our bonds. Now when we see each other at tournaments we're going to have these memories and our friendships are just going to be stronger and stronger."
Jason Kubler set for career-high ranking
Kubler is set to soar to a career-high ranking of around 80 in the world next Monday. His two wins at the United Cup came after a breakthrough year in 2022.
"The feelings I have had on court are crazy," Kubler said. "I'm from Brisbane so I thought Sydney wouldn't be the place (I'd get support). It's unbelievable. I couldn't imagine anything like this."
The 29-year-old was Australia's last player standing at the French Open last May and he then reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon in July. However he was cruelly denied rankings points due to the All England Club's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players.
"I'm honestly just grateful to represent Australia again," he added. "Last year I was lucky enough to play Davis Cup. I just jumped at the opportunity to play for Australia with these guys. We are such close friends and I love going to war with them."
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