Australia’s Hopman Cup title defence is over after a shock 2-1 loss to the lowly Czech Republic in Perth on Tuesday night.
Firebrand Nick Kyrgios won his singles match over Czech Adam Pavlasek to temporarily keep hopes alive, but those hopes were snuffed out when Daria Gavrilova lost her singles, then the pair lost the doubles.
Kyrgios hobbled at times during his 7–5 6–4 win but has told everyone to “relax” about his niggling knee injury, saying it’s nothing serious and won’t hinder his Australian Open campaign.
The world No.13 rushed through points in the first set to ensure he didn’t get stuck in any long rallies.
He even unleashed a series of monster second serves in a bid to make the points quick.
In one game, he served two double faults in a row attempting to go for a second-serve ace.
Kyrgios moved much better in the second set as his strapped left knee warmed up, and after the match he allayed fears about the injury.
“I was feeling it a little bit. But as the match went on and I got warmer (it was ok),” Kyrgios said.
“That’s the key to the knee – I’ve just got to get warm before I run out.
“I didn’t really have too much time to warm up before this match. I was in the physio getting it taped, and I ran out of time.
“So next match I’m going to do a better warm up and go out there with a bit of sweat and warm it up a little it.”
On Sunday, Kyrgios claimed he hurt his left leg in a minor basketball mishap just before the Hopman Cup.
But on Tuesday, the 21-year-old said he injured it while training a few weeks ago, and it was so minor that he didn’t even undergo scans on it.
Kyrgios laughed off the injury fears when probed further about his knee.
“Don’t overthink it guys. Just relax. Jesus Christ. Far out,” Kyrgios said.
Gavrilova succumbs to Hradecka
World Ho. 25 Daria Gavrilova had the chance to give Australia an unassailable 2-0 lead in the tie against the Czech Republic.
But she misfired against world No.166 Lucie Hradecka – a late call–up for the injured Petra Kvitova – in an epic three-setter, going down 4-6 6-4 6-4 in a match that lasted 130 minutes.
It meant Australia, who lost their opening tie 2-1 to Spain, needed to win the Fast4 mixed doubles in order to stay in the hunt for a berth in Saturday’s final.
But Kyrgios and Gavrilova succumbed 3-4 4-3 4-2.
The undefeated US pair of Coco Vandeweghe and Jack Sock, who posted 3-0 wins over the Czech Republic and Spain, are guaranteed a spot in the final from group B.