Nick Kyrgios was omitted from the Davis Cup World Group semi-final squad so as to not be a distraction, Tennis Australia president Steve Healy said.
Kyrgios has become a rolling headline in 2015, with tantrums, alleged tanking and sledging the cause for the extra attention – the 20-year-old’s form seemingly suffering as a result.
After peaking at number 25 in the world in June, Kyrgios has slipped to 42nd – and out of Australia’s four-man squad to take on the Andy Murray-led Great Britain in Glasgow in the visitors’ biggest tie since reaching the same stage in 2006.
“First of all we want the team to be completely focused on the tie and not all the controversy around [Kyrgios],” Healy told The Age.
“And I think Nick, he’s risen very quickly, as people like [Roger] Federer and Murray have pointed out, he’s growing up in the public eye and he’s made some terrible errors and deserves all the criticism he gets, but we’re trying to support him, we’re trying to help him understand the consequences of his actions, and some time out of the limelight where he can just reflect on that I think is appropriate, and it’s best for the team and it’s best for him.”
The breaking point of Kyrgios’ dramas came with a distasteful sledge of Stan Wawrinka in Montreal in August.
Kyrgios also dragged down friend Thanasi Kokkinakis in the process, unfairly so – according to Healy.
Kokkinakis was in the headlines days after Kyrgios’ “banged your girlfriend” remark, for an altercation with Ryan Harrison in a qualifying match in Cincinnati.
“One thing I do feel quite keenly about is I think Thanasi’s been dragged into the fray a little bit,” Healy said.
“He did break a racquet when he lost when he cramped in the US, but he’s not the first player to break a racquet out of frustration with himself, and I know Thanasi well enough to know he wouldn’t be proud of that.
“But really, he’s handled himself extremely well, in pretty provocative circumstances in the US with Harrison and so on, and I think he deserves a lot of credit. He’s [got] a great team around him, he’s got a great family around him and I just think he’s been a little hard done by.
“He’s a very mature 19-year-old, he works very hard, and he fits in with the team and so on, he hasn’t ever had an issue with the other players, he’s well respected in the locker room, he trains hard, he’s in great shape, he’s a very stable and mature young guy and I just think he deserves to be judged on his own merits.”