Brazil’s odds no longer Wild against Aussies
ALL of a sudden, we have a contest.
What appeared a near formality just a week ago, with Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur in the box seat pre-injuries to lead Australia in this week's Davis Cup knockout tie against Brazil, is now on a much more even keel following a stunning maiden tournament win at the weekend for teenager Thiago Seyboth Wild.
The 19-year-old Brazilian clinched the ATP 250 Santiago Open clay court title as a wildcard entrant where he saw off world No. 38 player Casper Ruud in the final in addition to home favourite, and top 20 player, Cristian Garin earlier in the tournament.
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"It's an incredible achievement. It's something I've always dreamt about," Seyboth Wild said, ominously perhaps for Australia.
"As the matches went by I felt like I could go (on) step by step.
"When I got to the final, I needed to play it just like another match, like I had been playing the whole week and take my chances."
Aussie James Duckworth, who is hoping to make his Davis Cup debut in Adelaide this week, is aware what Seyboth Wild - who now rockets from a ranking of 182 up to 113 - and his compatriots are capable of.
"I was watching a little bit of him playing yesterday, he is playing well, he's confident," he said.
"Thiago Monteiro (Brazil's top ranked man at 88) has been around for a while, a lefty, good forehand, he has played well in last few weeks in South America.
"They have some good players."
Duckworth said that no call had been made yet as to who might turn out in Friday afternoon's two opening singles rubbers.
"We are still working out who is going to play what. I don't really care what I play, singles or doubles," he said.
"I think Lleyton will decide just before the draw is done, we have been playing a mix of singles and doubles, all of us.
"There are a few options which is good, we all been playing pretty well."
The five man team - Duckworth, John Millman, Jordan Thompson, John Peers and Murray Bridge's Alex Bolt - has been not been adversely affected the loss of star duo Kyrgios and de Minaur last Friday, Duckworth said.
There has been room for a lighter side, however, with the championship Grange golf course in Hewitt's childhood backyard the venue.
"A few of the boys are going to play golf this afternoon (Monday)," Duckworth said.
"Jonny Millman has been talking it up quite a bit.
"I think him and Lleyton have got a bet on it, it will be interesting to see who comes up trumps."
Is Millman the best golfer then?
"No, but he is the best talker that's for sure. I think Lleyton is the best."