Australia’s Davis Cup captain Wally Masur has urged his team to stay strong in the wake of its horror opening-day display against Kazakhstan in Darwin.
Australia is on the brink of elimination in the quarterfinal after Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios lost their opening singles matches on a day of high drama.
Kokkinakis suffered a 6-4 6-3 6-3 defeat to Mikhail Kukushkin, before an emotionally-drained Kyrgios fell 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (7-2) 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to world No.115 Aleksandr Nedovyesov.
Australia’s pairing of Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth must win their doubles encounter against Andrey Golubev and Nedovyesov on Saturday just to keep the tie alive.
The disappointing on-court results capped a forgettable day for Australian tennis, which was rocked by the overnight news of Bernard Tomic’s arrest in America.
Tomic was taken into custody after failing to follow police orders to leave his $A9400-a-night penthouse following a night of loud partying.
Although Australia’s Davis Cup title hopes are now hanging by a thread, Masur said it wasn’t all doom and gloom.
“The mood is good. We’re still smiling,” Masur said. “Losses have to be digested. They’re not that easy to get over, but that’s the nature of Davis Cup.
“It’s not over. We haven’t lost. Whilst Friday was disappointing, it’s all about what’s coming.”
Both Tomic and Kyrgios have been human headlines at various times this year.
Kyrgios, who endured a turbulent Wimbledon campaign earlier this month, conceded his time in the spotlight of late had taken a toll.
“Physically I felt ok. I felt like my body was good,” Kyrgios said after his loss on Friday.
“But mentally, I almost felt a bit drained out there. It was hard to focus. It was hard to dig deep. It was hard to push myself because a lot has gone on.
“The more I experience it, the better I’ll get at it.”
After losing the third set, Kyrgios yelled out “I don’t want to be here”.
Kyrgios said the comment was in relation to the dire position of the match he found himself in, rather than anything else.