Australian ATP Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt knows his players have their work cut out for them as Alex de Minaur and John Millman lead the charge against Spain and Greece in Group B.
Hewitt will once again be counting on World No.23 De Minaur in the pivotal role as Australia’s No. 1 singles player, a position he thrived in last year when he posted a come-from-behind upset over Alexander Zverev and pushed World No. 2 Rafael Nadal to the limit in a three-set marathon.
The 21-year-old also comes into this year’s tournament as one of the players with the most momentum after starting the season with a victory at the season-opening Antalya Open, an ATP 250 event.
Listen to Hewitt’s ATP Tennis Radio interview:
“He’s got to be, in my mind, probably the quickest guy out there on Tour,” Hewitt said in an interview with ATP Tennis Radio. “How he gets back into his position after each shot is fantastic. He’s got great footwork, he’s got really good balance and he’s starting to add some real weapons to his game.
“He had a hell of a match against Rafa last year in Sydney… He knows it’s going to be an awfully big challenge, but one thing for Alex: he’s going to leave it all out there for us.”
The former World No. 1 was the captain a year ago as Australia reached the last four of the inaugural ATP Cup, only to lose in a heartbreaker against Spain. Now they’ll get another shot at the No. 2 seeds, a strong team led by Rafael Nadal that also features Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta and Marcel Granollers.
“They’re one of the strongest nations, led by Rafa obviously but Bautista Agut is also a quality player. He’s certainly one of the strongest No. 2s they can put on any team,” Hewitt highlighted. “We’re going to have to be on our game… We know it’s going to be a challenge, but I’ve got a good feeling that our boys are going to enjoy feeling like the underdogs in this one.”
Check out more from the ATP Tennis Radio interview to hear Hewitt discuss how Millman will be a big asset, why doubles will play a very important role, and what the ATP Cup means for Australian tennis.