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Nick Kyrgios’ United Cup team co-captain Sam Stosur has talked up the world No 22’s chances at the new tournament as he will face Rafael Nadal in an exciting showdown in the New Year. The brand new event sees male and female players join forces to represent their nation, with 18 countries split into six groups of three, battling to make it to the semi-final stage.
Kyrgios will be back in singles action on the ATP Tour for the first time since withdrawing injured from October’s Tokyo Open when he starts his season at the United Cup in his home of Australia. He has only played one tournament since getting injured in Japan, at the doubles during the ATP Finals, and has also lined up some off-season exhibition events.
And Kyrgios will have a tough test from the get-go at the United Cup, as Australia has been drawn in Group D with Great Britain and Spain, meaning that he could face Nadal in a blockbuster clash when the two nations do battle over two days on January 2 and 3. The Wimbledon finalist is known for thriving in a team environment and Australia’s co-captain Sam Stosur believes he will live up to expectations in front of the home crowd.
“I think it’s going to be an awesome experience, sitting out there watching Nick and Alex [de Minaur] and Ajla [Tomljanovic], and Zoe [Hives] or Maddy [Inglis], and whoever else is playing and whoever they’re against,” the former doubles No 1 – who will also play on the team – said.
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“There’s no better seat in the house, I’m sure it’s going to be super exciting. Anytime you wear your country’s colours, something else sort of happens to you. I know what it’s like to be playing out there, so I couldn’t imagine not being excited on the bench seat as well.” And with Kyrgios in the squad, Stosur is excited to see the world No 22 rise to the occasion of representing his country.
The 2011 US Open champion continued: “It’s no secret that he [Kyrgios] loves the team environment, playing in a group and in a team, and it does seem to bring out some of his best tennis.
“I’m sure the United Cup is going to be no different to what we’ve seen him do in those sorts of situations before. He loves playing at home, and it will be at Ken Rosewall Arena and hopefully have great crowds and excitement. It’s going to be good fun.”
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The top-ranked Australian man has also recently added another tournament to his pre-Aussie Open schedule, as he will be playing Adelaide 2 in the week between the United Cup and Australian Open. “I have heard good things about the tournament and the upgraded venue at The Drive,” he said, announcing the news.
“I am looking forward to playing in Adelaide. My good friend Thanasi (Kokkinakis) had a great run last year in front of his home crowd and I hope I can enjoy the same success and support in January.”
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