Bernard Tomic is ‘deliberately damaging’ Australian tennis culture, says TA chief

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Lleyton Hewitt celebrates with teammates after winning their Davis Cup qualifier in Adelaide.
  • Lleyton Hewitt backs Craig Tiley blast at outcast Tomic
  • Australia win qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bernard Tomic is deliberately sabotaging Australia’s tennis culture, according to Lletyon Hewitt and Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley. Hewitt has backed an attack by Tiley on Tomic in another escalation of a bitter feud between the outcast player and tennis hierarchy.

“We expect players to be respectful of the sport and each other,” Tiley said in a statement on Saturday. “Bernard does not meet the standards of behaviour and commitment to himself, the team or the sport. Now he is deliberately trying to damage that culture, and not for the first time.”

Hewitt, asked if he subscribed to the same view as Tiley, replied: “Yep.” Australia’s Davis Cup captain Hewitt has pledged never to select Tomic again after a recent blow-up during the Australian Open.

And Tiley, a week after expressing hope Tomic and Hewitt could mend their fractured relationship, freshly criticised the controversial player. “Our organisation remains deeply disappointed with the ongoing disrespect from Bernard and his father,” Tiley said. “We have given more than a decade of support. Ultimately, we have to draw a line when the behaviour does not warrant the support.”

Hewitt added: “I don’t think it’s that much to ask, to commit to the sport, to want to play for our country. That is all I have asked and I will help any of these guys out as much as I can, but I can’t do it all for them, they have got to meet me halfway.

“There has has been some real success stories over the last couple of years and some of the other stuff [takes] away from the success that these guys have had. We have got some young players now that are serious players that are going to push towards hopefully the top 50, top 20 in the world. I’m just a vehicle there to be able to help them when they need it.”

Tomic, after his first-round loss at the Australian Open in Melbourne, was scathing of Hewitt, saying he was not liked while accusing him of favouring certain players. Hewitt in turn claimed Tomic had threatened his family. Last week Tomic’s father John said Hewitt left his son traumatised in 2010 by pressuring him into revealing who in Tennis Australia was “against” him – but Tiley on Saturday rubbished those claims.

“In regards to an alleged incident in 2010, we are not aware of any formal complaint lodged by either John or Bernard,” Tiley said. “Both Bernard and John have enjoyed a lot of support since in many areas of their lives, including a long and sustained period of personal commitment and wholehearted effort from Lleyton Hewitt as Davis Cup captain. Lleyton is right to say Bernard will not be considered for Davis Cup.”

Hewitt snubbed Tomic for selection in Australia’s Davis Cup tie against Bosnia-Herzegovina, which Australia won 4-0 on Saturday. Last Tuesday in the lead-up to the tie, Hewitt refused to discuss his ongoing feud with Tomic. “I’m not going to waste my time on that now,” Hewitt said at the time.

Australia’s ticket to the revamped Davis Cup finals was sealed when doubles pair John Peers and Jordan Thompson trounced Mirza Basic and Tomislav Brkic 7-5, 6-1 at Memorial Drive in Adelaide. Australia’s debutant Alexei Popyrin completed the rout with a 6-1, 7-6 (7-2) win against Nerman Fatic in a dead rubber, with the scheduled fifth match called off.

“These boys have taken it to another level now,” Hewitt said of his triumphant team. “I had full faith in these guys. The finals are a long way away … but, come November, no matter what the format, we’re going to go there and give it absolutely everything we have got.”