For Australian Men, Off-court Drama Overshadows The Tennis
But it was clear Kyrgios also had soured on Hewitt after he posted a picture on Instagram on Wednesday of Hewitt watching Alex de Minaur, the recent Sydney champion who has become his protégé, and implying that Hewitt would not be watching any other Australian player.
Hewitt, 37, responded by saying Kyrgios’s post was “one of the standards we can’t put up with.”
“Just for the culture of Australian tennis moving forward, can’t do it,” Hewitt added. “I don’t think it’s a good look. I’ve spoken to Nick about it. He understands that. Whether he learns from it, that’s another thing.”
On Sunday, Kyrgios posted a photo of himself with de Minaur on Twitter, seeming to clarify that any bad blood is strictly intergenerational.
De Minaur, 19, is currently the highest-ranked Australian man, at No. 29. He has a game built on dazzling defense, with some of the flashiest footwork on tour. Increasingly, he is presented as a golden boy of the sport in contrast to the ne’er-do-wells Tomic and Kyrgios. De Minaur is so committed to playing for Australia that he has “109” tattooed on his chest because he was the 109th player to represent the country in Davis Cup.
As all of this was playing out, Matt Dwyer, the chief tennis officer of Tennis Australia, got involved, too, issuing a statement on Friday that highlighted de Minaur, Alex Bolt and 19-year-old Alexei Popyrin, all of whom made the third round here, and praising “each player’s unwavering passion to compete and their genuine love of the game, all underpinned by the Tennis Australia values of excellence, loyalty, teamwork and humility.’’
“Support and opportunities will be offered to players who live these values and demonstrate the commitment to maximize their potential, with our ultimate ambition being to develop and foster athletes we can all be proud of,’’ the statement added.