Hewitt: De Minaur definitely in the mix
TENNIS" Lleyton Hewitt has declared young gun Alex de Minaur's inexperience will not count against him as he continues to mull over his best Davis Cup combinations.
The Australian captain is yet to decide who will support Nick Kyrgios in the singles as the hosts prepare for their Davis Cup tie against Germany at the Queensland Tennis Centre, starting on Friday.
With a quarter-final showdown on the line, Hewitt said he had some ideas about how he will approach the matches, including the possible use of the teenage star.
Hewitt was also ramping up the mind games, hinting he could make a shock appearance in the doubles himself after playing in the Australian Open with Sam Groth.
The former world No. 1 said de Minaur was strongly in the mix to snare a singles berth ahead of higher-ranked players, Jordan Thompson and Queenslander John Millman.
The 18-year-old had a breakout summer, making the semi-final of the Brisbane International and the final of the Sydney International, and Hewitt said his age would not be a determining factor.
"We'll have some tough decisions to make come Thursday," Hewitt said.
"(De Minaur) is in the mix. We'll see how it plays out. He had a great summer … the calibre of players that he beat (in the last month), they were quality players.
"I don't think (experience) makes much of a difference if it's the first or second match on day one. Whoever we put in, they can go out there and really have a good crack.
"I have a couple ideas of how I will play it out."
Whoever is selected alongside Kyrgios in the singles will face the daunting task of having to knock over world No. 5 Alexander Zverev, but Hewitt believes the German's lofty reputation meant all the pressure would be on the 20-year-old sensation.
Germany's preparation took a hit when Zverev's older brother Mischa was ruled out of this weekend's tie due to illness.
Team captain Michael Kohlmann said Zverev tried desperately to prove his fitness but the world No. 53 could not shrug off the viral infection that sabotaged his Australian Open campaign.
But while the older member of the Zverev family will be absent, Hewitt was coy when asked about his own playing ambitions at Pat Rafter Arena, hinting he could make a shock appearance in the doubles rubber after his Australian Open outing alongside Groth.
"I wouldn't rule it out," he said.
"I'm going well … (the Australian Open) was a bit of fun. I enjoyed being out there and it was nice playing with Grothy … we went all right.
"I don't know what the Germans think of it … you'll find out Thursday."