Lleyton Hewitt has lashed out at a last-minute United Cup withdrawal from Nick Kyrgios which left the host nation fighting to survive an opening tie.

Team skipper Hewitt could not have been less impressed with the absence of the unpredictable Kyrgios, who cited an ankle injury for his decision as he withdrew on Wednesday, a day before the start at the event spread over Sydney, Brisbane and Perth..

The Wimbledon finalist is currently training in preparation for the January 16 start of the Australian Open, but said he did not need the stress of the team event .

The 18-nation mixed event is sanctioned by both the ATP and WTA.

His pullout thrust Alex de Minaur into the top team role; but the No. 24 was beaten on Thursday by Britain’s Cam Norrie as the Aussies fell into a 0-2 hole in the five-match tie played over two days.

“For the whole team, it was pretty tough not knowing what was going on the last 24 hours,” Hewitt said. “It was more probably the lack of communication.

“If it was just worrying Nick, that’s one thing,” Hewitt said.

“But when it revolves around the team and other people and their preparation … they want to be playing as well as they can not just in this event but also leading into the Australian Open.”

Main photo:- Lleyton HEWITT and Nick KYRGIOS chat during Australian Open 2022 by George Sal/TENNIS AUSTRALIA