Nick Kyrgios ready for Brisbane International title defence after spider bite

Nick Kyrgios in action at the Shanghai Masters
Nick Kyrgios ended his 2018 season in October

Nick Kyrgios says he is ready to defend his Brisbane International title despite being taken to hospital on Christmas Day with a spider bite.

The Australian, 23, was put on antibiotics after waking with a swollen foot, but practised in Brisbane on Saturday.

The world number 35 will face American Ryan Harrison, whom he beat in the 2018 final, in the first round on Monday.

"I didn't take it (bite) seriously," said eighth seed Kyrgios.

"I just felt an irritation on my foot the day before Christmas. There's worse things in the world but I think I'll be OK."

As he prepares to return for the first time since October, Kyrgios said he plans to reduce his 2019 schedule after struggling with his mental health last season.

He endured a frustrating 2018, dropping from 21 in the rankings before being forced to cut his season short because of a recurring elbow injury.

"Just being away from home was the toughest bit," Kyrgios said. "Battling injuries, going to tournaments and not even playing was tough, but they're not really big problems.

"I'll have a lighter schedule and when I play, enjoy playing and just compete."

He added: "Being home solved a lot of my problems. It was more mental than anything. I was away from home for five and a half months. I don't ever want to do that again.

"If I was to win the US Open or something, I won't play again for the rest of the year."

Kyrgios could meet Japanese second seed Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals in Brisbane, with Britain's Kyle Edmund - seeded third - in the same side of the draw.

On the other side, Britain's Andy Murray returns and will face Australia's James Duckworth in the first round. He could play Spain's Rafael Nadal in the semis.

Meanwhile, Britain's Harriet Dart qualified for the main draw of the women's singles by beating former world number nine Andrea Petkovic.

She will play Australian wildcard Priscilla Hon in the first round, while Briton Johanna Konta faces world number six and third seed Sloane Stephens.

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