One is as hard-working as they come, a relentless professional who, in the words of all-time great Rod Laver, “won't ever let a match die.”
The other admits to lacking the discipline of an Alex de Minaur, but is as powerful as they come, a talented player who, when playing in the right environment, can beat anyone. “He's probably got the best serve in the game,” Laver said of Nick Kyrgios.
You will struggle to find two more contrasting players on the ATP Tour than De Minaur, who lacks an overpowering weapon but makes up for it with speed and grit, and Kyrgios, who has one of the biggest serves and forehands in tennis but self-admittedly lacks the drive that has pushed De Minaur to a career-high of No. 18.
But tennis has room for all characters, and both of them will lead Team Australia during the inaugural ATP Cup, to be held 3-12 January in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. De Minaur and Kyrgios, alongside John Millman, John Peers and Chris Guccione, will play in Brisbane in Group F against Germany, Greece and Canada.
“Tennis is great to have the both of them playing as well as they are now,” Laver told ATPTour.com. “That's a good team.”
The only man to win the calendar Grand Slam in the Open Era (1969) has things he likes about both De Minaur and Kyrgios. About De Minaur, for instance, Laver especially appreciates the #NextGenATP Aussie's work ethic. The 20-year-old, like Laver in his day, never concedes a point.
“I was always pretty aggressive. I said, 'You are not going to beat me.' You put that out there, and I think a lot of people think, 'Holy s*#!,'” Laver said.
“Love/40 point, and you work to try to win that point, and if you do win it, the next one is possible. And so you're putting something in the other guy's brain that says, 'I better be careful,' and with that, you get more opportunities.”