Bernard Tomic turns on one-time mentor Lleyton Hewitt

Bernard Tomic turns on one-time mentor Lleyton Hewitt
Tennis player Bernard Tomic. Photo: Tatiana, Wikimedia Commons

After being beaten by Marin Cilic in the first round of the Australian Open, Bernard Tomic unleashed an extraordinary spray against Australia’s Davis Cup captain, Lleyton Hewitt. Tomic accused Hewitt of favouritism and bias in his selections for Davis Cup matches, and of influencing Tennis Australia to support his favourites and take a position against Tomic.

Tomic has been through a rollercoaster in his career, after bursting onto the world stage as a teenager before suffering accusations of tanking and making some ill considered comments in the media. After losing his fitness he failed to qualify for the Australian Open last year and was not offered a wild card by Tennis Australia (he went on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here instead, which he walked out of in the first week).

Tomic also criticised Hewitt’s predecessor as Davis Cup captain, Pat Rafter, after being left out of the team. It should be noted that every time he has been left out he was not one of the two highest ranked Australian men available (the Davis Cup needs two singles players and a doubles team).

In Tomic’s latest outburst he also dragged Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis into the spotlight, claiming they had similar frustrations with Hewitt and Tennis Australia after being forced to qualify for the main draw of the Australian Open rather than being given wildcards. Tomic also claimed that the trio were all unwilling to play for Australia while Hewitt is the captain.

Hewitt responded to Tomic yesterday afternoon, denying claims of a rift between himself and the Australian team and laughing off the accusations. The former world number 1 and two time Open champion also stated that he is disappointed with Tomic’s comments overshadowing some great play from Aussie tennis players, and that Tomic has thrown Kyrgios and Kokkinakis “under the bus”.

Kokkinakis rubbished reports that he and Hewitt have fallen out the day before Tomic’s statement, describing the rumours as “bullshit”. Kyrgios faced the media after his first round loss last night, and said he hadn’t seen Tomic’s statement. He also denied that he and Hewitt have fallen out, and declared that he is available to play Davis Cup – but that he does not expect to be picked due to the form of other Australian tennis players ranked more highly than him.