Nick Kyrgios has been left out. (AAP Image/David Crosling)
Nick Kyrgios has been left out. (AAP Image/David Crosling)Source: AAP

Controversial star Nick Kyrgios has been left out of Australia’s Davis Cup team for next month’s tie against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Top-ranked Aussie male Alex de Minaur leads the team which also features John Millman, Jordan Thompson, John Peers and Alexei Popyrin. The 23-year-old Kyrgios thus won’t feature in the world group qualifier in Adelaide.

Despite crashing out in the first round to 16th seed Milos Raonic, Kyrgios has remained in the spotlight for most of the Australian Open.

Nick Kyrgios grimaces during his first round loss to Milos Raonic last week.
Nick Kyrgios grimaces during his first round loss to Milos Raonic last week.Source: News Corp Australia

The Australian was involved in several social media spats, including one aimed at Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt.

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They have met five times in Grand Slams with Nishikori’s lone win coming in the US Open 2014 semi-final. Djokovic defeated Nishikori in the last eight of the Australian Open three years ago in straight sets and this will be their third consecutive major showdown.

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Pouille, the 28th seed who will turn 25 next month, has a former Australian Open champion in his corner as he tries to reach a first Grand Slam semi-final.

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The Frenchman split with his long-time coach Emmanuel Planque in the off-season and hired Amelie Mauresmo, who won the women’s title in Australia in 2006.

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Raonic, the 16th seed, has blasted through the tournament on the back of his supreme serving, only dropping one set — to former champion Stan Wawrinka — in the second round.

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Ominously for Pouille, the Canadian former world number three thinks he has improved since he achieved his highest ranking in November 2016.

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DAY 10 ORDER OF PLAY

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Rod Laver Arena

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From 11am

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4-Naomi Osaka (JPN) v 6-Elina Svitolina (UKR)

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Not before 1pm

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16-Serena Williams (USA) v 7-Karolina Pliskova (CZE)

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16-Milos Raonic (CAN) v 28-Lucas Pouille

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Not before 7:30pm

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1-Novak Djokovic (SRB) v 8-Kei Nishikori (JPN)

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LIVE UPDATES (if the blog does not appear, click here)

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– with AFP

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Rafael Nadal’s greatest enemy in recent years hasn’t been Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic or anyone else; it has been his body.

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But with another brutally efficient win at the 2019 Australian Open, the Spanish champion is setting himself up for a Melbourne Park breakthrough.

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Nadal breezed past American young gun Frances Tiafoe in straight sets on Tuesday night, 6-3 6-4 6-2, taking an hour and 47 minutes. That makes five straight matches this tournament he has won in the minimum three sets.

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Only twice this tournament has Nadal been forced to win more than six games to win a set; he has played in only one tiebreaker. All five of his matches have been shorter than two hours and 22 minutes.

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In the process, Nadal is keeping his body healthy; something he has been completely unable to do in recent times at hard court events.

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Dating back to the 2017 Swiss Indoors event in Basel, Nadal has withdrawn or retired from 18 of his past 19 tournaments on hard courts. That includes retiring during the fifth set of his 2018 Australian Open quarter-final with Marin Cilic, and after two sets of his 2018 US Open semi-final with Juan Martin del Potro.

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Compare that to his performance on clay; Nadal completed all six events on his favoured surface over that same time period, as well as Wimbledon 2018 where he lost a dramatic five-set semi-final to Novak Djokovic.

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The one hard court tournament Nadal has completed over this period, he won; that was the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada, when he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

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Coincidentally, Tsitsipas awaits Nadal in the semi-finals on Thursday.

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In Tuesday night’s quarter-final, Nadal broke Tiafoe’s first service game in all three sets; he certainly wasn’t trying to take his time.

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That’s in contrast to how long it has been since Nadal tasted Australian Open success; he has won the tournament just once, in 2009. He needs a second win to become the first man in the Open era to earn a career double grand slam.

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If he keeps playing like this, it seems he’s going to beat both Djokovic and Roger Federer (who each need another French Open title) to the crown.

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Of course, he might need to beat Djokovic at Melbourne Park first.

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