Alex De Minaur has burst on to the scene in 2018. Picture: Mark Stewart
Alex De Minaur has burst on to the scene in 2018. Picture: Mark Stewart

Aussie No.2 snubbed for the Demon

TENNIS: Being the second-ranked Australian has not been enough to earn Matt Ebden a recall for a Davis Cup tie against Germany in Brisbane next week which may be the site of Alex De Minaur's debut match for Australia.

There is no room for Ebden in a five-man Australian team which includes 18-year-old Alex De Minaur, who stirred excitement about his prospects this month by making the semi-finals of the Brisbane International and the final of the Sydney International.

The Australian team is understood to be Nick Kyrgios, Jordan Thompson, John Millman, De Minaur and doubles specialist John Peers for the tie against Germany at Pat Rafter Arena from February 2-4.

Ebden, 30, will travel to Brisbane for pre-tie practice and under recent Davis Cup rule changes a maximum of two changes to a five-man team can be made within one hour of the draw, which will be on February 1.

Ebden rose in the rankings from No.699 to No.76 during 2017 and took Kyrgios to a deciding set in their second-round match at the Brisbane International before making the second round of the Australian Open.

Matt Ebden has been left out of Australia’s five-man squad. Picture: Darren England
Matt Ebden has been left out of Australia’s five-man squad. Picture: Darren England

De Minaur's claims for singles selection are strong and his captain Lleyton Hewitt coincidentally played his first Davis Cup match at age 18.

Millman's retention for the Brisbane tie, which would be his first in his home city, comes after his Davis Cup debut last September in Australia's semi-final loss to Belgium.

Millman, who made the second round at both the Brisbane International and Australian Open, had a better Australian circuit for results than Thompson.

De Minaur is No.139 on live rankings, behind Kyrgios (14), Ebden (74), Thompson (102) and Millman (108) among Australians.

The German team, which has three top-60 singles players to Australia's one, has set up a practice base at the Gold Coast and expected to call on world No.4 Alex Zverev, who did not play in their most recent tie in September.

Nick Kyrgios loves his time in green and gold.
Nick Kyrgios loves his time in green and gold.

Under Davis Cup scheduling rules, a Kyrgios showdown with Alex Zverev, if both are available, would be in the fourth rubber of the five-match tie, on its last day.

Kyrgios said after his fourth-round loss at the Australian Open on Sunday that he wanted to excel again at Rafter Arena on Davis Cup duty, nine months after he won two singles matches there in a Cup win over the United States.



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