Nick Kyrgios fuels feud with Lleyton Hewitt amid Aussie tennis dramas

Rarely have Nick Kyrgios and Lleyton Hewitt seen eye to eye, but the 2022 Wimbledon finalist seems determined to get the last laugh.

Nick Kyrgios grimaces after playing a shot.
Nick Kyrgios has taken another swipe at Lleyton Hewitt following Ajla Tomljanovic's withdrawal from the United Cup. (Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Nick Kyrgios has inadvertently drawn Australian tennis great Sam Stosur and fellow star Ajla Tomljanovic into his feud with Lleyton Hewitt, amid Australia's crumbling United Cup campaign. Kyrgios had earlier left Hewitt frustrated by his abrupt withdrawal from the event earlier in the week.

Tomljanovic was the latest withdrawal from the team tournament, which is being held at venues across the country in the lead-up to the Australian Open. After being criticised for his own withdrawal earlier in the week, Kyrgios took to Twitter to question whether or not Cup co-captain Stosur would call out Tomljanovic, as he felt Hewitt had done to him.

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"I wonder if Stosur will throw her under the bus like our captain did for me….. ‘hard to prepare when you don’t know what’s going on’" Kyrgios wrote on Twitter. Hewitt had made the comment about not knowing who would be playing following Kyrgios' announcement on Wednesday.

Great Britain won their United Cup over Australia as a result, however Jason Kubler provided a highlight with a stunning win over world No.27 Dan Evans. Hewitt had been left dismayed by the late call regarding Kyrgios' withdrawal from the tournament.

Hewitt said he only learned of Kyrgios' withdrawal at the same time as the rest of the team - about 10 minutes before a scheduled press conference on Wednesday. When he then tried to contact Kyrgios, Hewitt he didn't immediately receive a response.

"For the whole team, it was pretty tough not knowing what was going on the last 24 hours," Hewitt said. "It was more probably the lack of communication.

"If it was just worrying Nick, that's one thing, but when it revolves around the team and other people and I guess their preparation ... they want to be playing as well as they can not just in this event but also leading into the Australian Open. That's probably the hardest thing."

Alex de Minaur had originally been slated to face the aforementioned Evans, but instead had to face rising star Cam Norrie. The Brit squared the overall ledger between the two, with de Minaur having won their first meeting back in April.

Ajla Tomljanovic, pictured here with Sam Stosur at the United Cup.
Ajla Tomljanovic with Sam Stosur at the United Cup. Image: Getty

Jason Kubler shows heart to earn gutsy United Cup win

Australia had lost its first tie against Great Britain by the time Kubler made it onto Ken Rosewall Arena on Friday night but the 29-year-old took no notice of previous results as he claimed the first set 6-3. Just when Evans looked like he was going on with the contest up 5-0 in the second set, Kubler parlayed home court advantage into two break points that helped him draw level 5-5.

After forcing the match into a tiebreaker, the Australian edged his way to a memorable win 6-3 7-6 (7-3) and sent the locals into a frenzy. The win capped off a stellar calendar year for Kubler that included the biggest win of his career against world No.9 Felix Auger-Aliassime and a Wimbledon campaign that stretched into the round of 16.

It also marked his first time representing Australia before a home crowd. "It definitely ranks pretty highly," Kubler said of his latest victory.

Australia's Jason Kubler gestures to the crowd after defeated Dan Evans at the United Cup.
Australia's Jason Kubler enjoyed a breakthrough victory against world No.27 Dan Evans at the United Cup. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

"(The home crowd) was a big reason I was able to come back. When you're playing tournaments by yourself, it's very tough in those moments to come back but then tonight, all credit to them they really helped me get over the line."

A horror run of injuries earlier in his career has given Kubler all the more reason to savour such moments. Tipped as a first-rate prospect in his youth, Kubler had undergone six knee surgeries by the time he turned 24 and between March 2012 and May 2015, played only on clay for fear of doing more damage.

"Honestly, the last six to nine months have just been sort of a whirlwind for me," he said. "I've done a lot of things that I didn't know if I was going to be able to do.

"If anything, tonight just adds to that list where I'm surprising myself. I definitely feel like now that I'm getting a little bit older, I'm definitely chasing these moments. These moments are the reasons that I play now. I want to try and play on all the big courts, it's like I almost have an imaginary checklist and each time I get to play in these big matches, it's like a little tick."

With AAP

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