Australian tennis greats Lleyton Hewitt backed Nick Kyrgios to do a deep run at this year’s Australian Open, despite his long layoff in 2020.
Kyrgios did not travel overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic and revealed he hadn’t hit a ball for five months at one point in a candid interview ahead of the ATP Cup.
The 25-year-old will be in action at this week’s Murray River Open, and Hewitt believes the dismissal will only improve Kyrgios’ prospects on the pitch in 2021.
“I think, overall, having a little bit of a break away from sport – where he’s positioned, for his body and his mind – is a good thing,” Hewitt said.
“Because he hasn’t played a game for so long, however, it won’t be easy for him to come out and turn it on either.
“It’s important for him to get rid of some of these nerves this week, so come to the Australian Open in a little over a week, he’s good to go.
“Trying to just activate him for five-set tennis, when you haven’t played for almost a year, won’t be easy. (But) he hits the ball well enough to push deep into the Open from Australia, because sure. “
Kyrgios played for the Australian in the inaugural ATP Cup last year, but won’t feature this year, along with Alex de Minaur, John Millman, John Peers and Luke Saville in Hewitt’s Australian squad.