Rising Aussie star draws German big gun
TEENAGER Alex de Minaur said he wanted to make the most of his "dream" selection to make his Davis Cup singles debut on Friday.
De Minaur, 18, reacted with a laugh when drawn to play the opening match of the tie for Australia against Germany's world No. 5 Alexander Zverev.
De Minaur, not daunted by playing the first of two singles matches on Friday, became the 109th man to be chosen to play for Australia.
He's been selected by Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt at the same age at which Hewitt was blooded in 1999 in a tie in the United States.
"It's a great opportunity for me and I'm going to leave it all on court," said de Minaur, who impressed last month by making the semi-finals at the Brisbane International and the final at the Sydney International.
"Lleyton told me all about it (Hewitt's winning tie for Australia in Boston in 1999). It's pretty special to be playing now - it's a dream come true."
Nick Kyrgios will play the second match of the three day tie against German No. 2 Jan-Lenard Struff, ranked No. 58, at Pat Rafter Arena.
Hewitt chose de Minaur, ranked No. 139, for singles despite being Australia's fifth ranked player and Queenslander John Millman having built an impressive record for lifting his game when playing at Rafter Arena.
Hewitt withdrew Jordan Thompson from his named team of five to include Matt Ebden, who was slated to play doubles on Saturday with John Peers.
Hewitt foxed through the week over whether he would select himself for doubles.
"It was a tough decision. I hope I've got it right," Hewitt said.
Hewitt said he liked the mobile de Minaur's game style against the tall, big hitting Zverev.
Zverev, 20, said he noted de Minaur's form in Australia and said he expected their match to be the "first one of many for us".
"He will be great for Australia in the future. I have a lot of respect for him," Zverev said.
Hewitt intercepted a reporter's question to Kyrgios about Bernard Tomic's reiterated claim that Australia cannot win the Davis Cup without Tomic.
Hewitt, who had said on Tuesday that Tomic was "very unlikely" to be chosen for Davis Cup duty again, said the team was concentrating on this tie against Germany.
Asked later if he thought Australian could win the Davis Cup for the first time since 2003, Kyrgios said he did, adding he is always confident.
Ebden and Peers were named to play in the doubles against Germans Tim Pietz and Peter Gojowczyk, but the captains are able to make changes up to one hour before play on Saturday and Sunday.