Rising star Alex de Minaur and the rest of the Australian ATP Cup team are determined to bounce back after suffering a loss to Spain in their opener on Tuesday. Spain needed only two first ties to clinch victory over Australia as Pablo Carreno Busta beat John Millman 6-2 6-4, before Roberto Bautista Agut beat de Minaur 4-6 6-4 6-4.
Record 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal sat out the tie due to a back issues but Spain easily beat even without him. "It was always going to be tough match ups,” Team Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt said of facing Spain, per Tennis Australia.
“We found out just before, we just finished our warm-up basically, that Rafa wasn’t going to play. So that obviously changed our thinking with who the boys were up against and their focus obviously had to change, tactics and how they’re going to play”.
"Carreno Busta was hitting the ball like a dream the whole match,” Hewitt said. “(He) looked very comfortable on the hard court out there. Johnny had a couple of chances there, (but) wasn’t quite able to take it”.
De Minaur failed to force a deciding rubber
De Minaur won the opening set against Bautista Agut but the Spaniard recovered to prevent the tie from going into a decider. Australia plays next against Greece. "I feel like today I was able to kind of, in a way, dust a bit of the nerves, cobwebs off and I’ll be ready to go tomorrow.
Hopefully I can bring it,” De Minaur said of this likely clash with world No. 6 Tsitsipas. The Australians lost to Spain but de Minaur didn't want to panic. "First match of the Aussie summer. So, look, it’s always a bit of added nerves and pressure, but happy I was able to bring a high level today,” De Minaur said of the positives he would take from the loss. “(I) wasn’t able to sustain it as much as I wanted to, but, hey, it’s work in progress”.