Brisbane - Australia's No 2 Bernard Tomic will be absent
from this week's Davis Cup quarter-finals but the United States will still have
a fight on their hands in Brisbane due to the impressive form of Nick Kyrgios,
US team captain Jim Courier said.
Kyrgios pushed Roger Federer to the limit in a classic Miami
Open semi-final on Friday and beat world number two Novak Djokovic twice in
succession in the recent US hard-court swing.
The 21-year-old firebrand will shoulder Australia's hopes at
Brisbane's Pat Rafter Arena, with world No 79 Jordan Thompson retained for the
singles while out-of-form Tomic continues his self-imposed exile.
Jack Sock and John Isner are expected to lead off the
singles for the US team, who defeated the hosts at Melbourne's Kooyong Lawn
Tennis Club in the first round last year.
"Nick has been playing some of the best tennis on tour
already this season so he’s in great form and should have a lot of
confidence," Courier told reporters in Brisbane.
"So we’re going to have to do something special to beat
"He's started off probably not the way he wanted to at
the Australian Open, going out early, but since then he’s been a house on fire.
"So he’s playing right there, I mean, he's right there
with Federer, and (Federer) has been the best player this season, so it’s
Kyrgios withdrew from last year's Kooying tie with a virus,
leaving his replacement Sam Groth and Tomic to be ground down by the Isner-led
United States on a purpose-built grass court at the former Australian Open
Tomic opted out of this year's first round tie against an
under-strength Czech Republic at the same venue, where Kyrgios and Thompson
combined to lead the hosts to an emphatic 4-1 win.
Tomic, though currently in a dreadful run of form, has an
impressive 17-4 record in Davis Cup singles and defeated Sock last year before
losing the decisive tie to Isner.
Courier said opposing captain Lleyton Hewitt would miss
Tomic's Davis Cup experience.
"He played last time we played down here and was
awfully tough on us, so I’m sure it’s disappointing for Lleyton and the boys
that he’s not involved this year," said Courier, whose team thrashed a
Federer-less Switzerland 5-0 in the first round.
"But it’s not something that we know a whole lot about.
"We know that Jordan Thompson will be ready to battle
... There’ll be no easy outs for us."
The United States, who celebrated the last of their 32 Davis
Cup titles in 2007, are bidding to reach the semi-finals for the first time
A clash against either Italy or seventh-seeded Belgium
awaits the winner.