Lleyton Hewitt speaks with Nick Kyrgios.
Lleyton Hewitt speaks with Nick Kyrgios.

Tomic goes nuclear in Lleyton outburst

AUSTRALIAN tennis is on the verge of exploding again after Bernard Tomic unloaded on Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt in an extraordinary post-match tirade.

Tomic was bundled out in straight sets against World No. 6 Marin Cilic, 6-2 6-4 7-6 in a match that lasted just over two hours.

The 26-year-old world No. 88 was in a chirpy mood after the defeat and spoke with a broad grin across his face as he poured fuel on his rift with Hewitt and Tennis Australia.

Tomic made a series of sensational accusations against Hewitt, including:

- A suggestion Hewitt has been promoting Aussie players in the Davis Cup team that have a link to the management company he has a partial ownership stake in.

- A claim that fellow Aussie stars Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios are also boycotting the team while Hewitt remains captain.

- A claim that the Aussie Cup Davis Cup system has become broken under Hewitt's leadership; and

- A demand that Hewitt must be replaced by a new captain who is more like former Aussie Davis Cup captain Wally Masur.

Tomic's dramatic press conference lasted only five minutes before an Australian Open media official shut it down.

Bernard Tomic lit a Davis Cup fuse.
Bernard Tomic lit a Davis Cup fuse.

The former top 20 player left the room with a grin and joked on the way out that he wanted reporters to "have fun with that."

"We have a lot of issues that not a lot of players are happy about," Tomic said when first asked if he expects to play Davis Cup this year.

"The players that I have spoken to aren't. Myself, Kokkinakis, Kyrgios. I think once that sort of gets resolved we'll see. I stand by my call a couple years ago. I knew something was wrong in the Davis Cup. And now there is Kokkinakis and Nick as well who aren't playing because they have issues with some people. Hopefully that can be arranged and the best players can be playing for Australia."

It comes less than a week after a bombshell report claimed Kokkinakis has also fallen out with Hewitt over a selection snub.

Kokkinakis referred to the report as "bulls****" on the eve of the Open.

Tomic said he, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis will only consider returning to play Davis Cup when "the best players in Australia" are being selected to play the singles rubbers.

"It just sucks to see some of the people who are there doing the wrong things," he said.

"I think we all know who those people are. Hopefully it can be resolved and the best players can be playing. Until then, the person that's there isn't letting the players play."

When asked to clarify his position, he unloaded on Hewitt.

 

Lleyton Hewitt was in Tomic’s crosshairs.
Lleyton Hewitt was in Tomic’s crosshairs.

 

He also took an extraordinary pot shot at Hewitt for playing himself in Davis Cup doubles rubbers at the expense of younger players.

"It's all Lleyton. I'm going to say it honestly. No one likes him any more," Tomic said.

"He's doing the wrong thing. He's playing Davis Cup. I thought he'd retired. He's playing all these matches and stuff like that.

"Absolutely, Kokkinakis, Kyrgios, we don't want to play anymore because he's ruined it. He's ruined the system. Like, go away. I thought he'd retired, like, why are you still in tennis? Why do you still play all these doubles tournaments?"

His most dramatic accusation was a suggestion there is a conspiracy in the Davis Cup camp to favour players who belong to Hewitt's management company.

"It's funny all these players who got wildcards under our system, I think it's guys like (Alex) Bolt … They're all under his wing so he gets a percentage of that," Tomic said.

"It's a conflict of interest and I think that's terrible. Am I right or am I wrong?

"They're all under his wing, under the management company. So it's all a conflict of interest. The more they make here, the more he takes. You know what he's doing and I think it's wrong.

"He's in Davis Cup and he's doing the wrong thing and we don't want to play anymore. I hope he can get moved and we can go back to having a good captain."

Bernard Tomic talks tactics with Hewitt in a previous Davis Cup.
Bernard Tomic talks tactics with Hewitt in a previous Davis Cup.

Tomic said fellow disgruntled Aussie players have told him Hewitt has not put them first.

"He doesn't put the players first, from what I've heard in the past year," Tomic said.

"He doesn't put the players first. He doesn't put Nick first. He doesn't put Kokkinakis first. He always thinks of himself and it's not good. You're not playing any more bro. You're retired. It's not good. Wally was a great captain. Wally Masur was an unbelievable Davis Cup captain. He was somebody everyone liked."

He said he still has immense respect for Hewitt as a player, but believes he has lost the plot as Davis Cup captain.

"There's no way Lleyton's legacy … his record in tennis speaks for itself," Tomic said.

"He's an absolute champion, but what he's doing now is wrong."

He said Australia needs a very different Davis Cup captain.

"Someone that's doing the right thing. The honest thing. Somebody who is not doing stuff for himself," Tomic said when asked to name his preferred candidate to replace Hewitt.

"Somebody who is doing what's best for the team. It's all about the players. Davis Cup is all about the players. It's not about the captain sitting down on the chair."

He said he has not spoken to Tennis Australia about his concerns, but says they already know about his grievances.

News Corp Australia


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