Australia’s Alex de Minaur has come out in support of his Davis Cup teammate Nick Kyrgios, saying he is often ‘misunderstood’ but is one of the nicest guys on tour.
It is somewhat of a departure from Kyrgios’ image as tennis’ enfant terrible.
The maverick Australian, whose talent is rarely in question, is known more for his on-court antics and unpredictable behavior. Kyrgios has, on multiple occasions, been fined for not giving his best on the tennis court.
“Nick’s one of the nicest guys out there,” de Minaur said on the TODAY show.
“He’s that person that’s always going to have your back, no matter what.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be in Davis Cup ties with him and get to know him better and play side by side with him and he’s one of those guys that has always had a lot of confidence in me and has always, from basically a junior, telling me to believe in myself and to go out there and take it.
“He’s very misunderstood but he’s one of the nicest guys out there and he’ll always have your back. We’re almost brothers – pretty close,” added the 21-year-old, who became the first ATP champion of 2021 when he won the Antalya Open.
Tennis’ bad boy
Though Kyrgios hasn’t played for almost a year he has been in the news for his incessant commentary on social media. The 25-year-old from Canberra slammed fellow players for their behavior during the pandemic, taking on the likes of Novak Djokovic and Boris Becker.
Recently, Kyrgios called World No 1 Djokovic, ‘a tool’, for sending Craig Tiley a letter suggesting better food and training conditions for players under quarantine.
“No matter how many majors Novak wins, he will never be the greatest to me,” he said this week. “I played against him twice, and if he can’t beat me, you are not the greatest of all time.”
De Minaur and Kyrgios had led Australia’s campaign at the 2020 ATP Cup, guiding the team to the semi-final. But the latter will be missing in action at the 2021 ATP Cup, which will take place the week before Australian Open.