Bernard Tomic reacts during his loss to Marin Cilic. Picture: David Gray/AFP
Bernard Tomic reacts during his loss to Marin Cilic. Picture: David Gray/AFP

‘I did the right thing’: Tomic stands by Hewitt rant

BERNARD Tomic has stood by his scathing attack of Lleyton Hewitt and claims to have received plenty of messages of support.

 After his first-round defeat to Marin Cilic on Monday night, Tomic unleashed an almighty spray on the Australian Davis Cup captain

In a blistering rant less than an hour after he was sent packing from the Australian Open in straight sets by sixth seed Marin Cilic, the Australian declared "no one likes" Hewitt and questioned his priorities.

Speaking with the Herald Sun on Tuesday morning, Tomic said: "I said the right thing, I stand by my comments.

"A lot of people messaged me to say 'well said.'"

Tomic, 26, said a number of players had had issues with "someone at Tennis Australia", before naming Hewitt as what he called the root of the issues with Australian players.

"It's all Lleyton. I'm going to say it honestly - no one likes him anymore," he said.

"He's just doing the wrong thing. He's playing Davis Cup - I thought he was retired.

"He's playing all these matches and stuff like this.

"You know what I mean? He used to hate Tennis Australia.

"It's weird. And now he loves them. What's happened here?

"But I guess he's using them for other things and resources and … yep. And it's for his pay cheque, yep."

Tomic claimed that he and countrymen Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios - who begins his Australian Open campaign on Tuesday night - "don't want to play (Davis Cup) anymore because he's ruined the system".

"Go away," he said of Hewitt.

"Like, literally. If you've retired, why are you still in tennis? He still plays these doubles tournaments and stuff … it's funny, all these guys that got wildcards and stuff are under a system."

Tomic alleged that the likes of Alex Bolt, Jordan Thompson and Marc Polmans - who were awarded wildcards for the grand slam - were "under his wing" in a system that he said proved a "conflict of interest".

"Bolty, Polmans, all of these guys - they're under his wing, so they get a percentage of that. So it's conflicts of interest. I think it's terrible.

"The more they get, he earns, the main draws, he takes.

"I think it's wrong.

"It's wrong that he's using the system of Tennis Australia … and then he's in Davis Cup and he's doing the wrong thing and everyone's leaving - even guys who don't want to play anymore.

"I hope he can get moved and we can go back to having a good captain."

Tomic, who has not played Davis Cup since 2016, described Hewitt's predecessor Wally Masur as a "great captain" and believed former world No.1 Hewitt "doesn't put the players first".

Thanasi Kokkinakis was overlooked for a wildcard and last week declined to comment on the snub, while Kyrgios deleted a provocative tweet suggesting that Hewitt had abandoned "us".

"He doesn't put Nick first, he doesn't put Kokkinakis first. He only thinks of himself," Tomic blasted.

Lleyton Hewitt is yet to respond to Tomic’s comments
Lleyton Hewitt is yet to respond to Tomic’s comments

"You're not playing, bro. You're retired. Wally was a great captain and someone that everyone liked. Don't worry - Lleyton's legacy and tennis speaks for itself. But what he's doing now is wrong."

Tomic said he felt like there was "no point" addressing the issue with Tennis Australia.

"Everyone knows," he said with a shrug.

Hewitt's manager said he expected his client to respond on Tuesday afternoon.

"I'm not going to comment on it. There is a number on inaccuracies. I'm sure Lleyton will address all of that this afternoon," David Drysdale told SEN.

Australian tennis legend Pat Cash said Tomic wasn't a lost cause but his comments about Hewitt would do irreparable damage.

"Bernie's outspoken isn't he. He's got some opinions, that's the way he feels,'' Cash said.

"There's obviously been a big clash between him and the Davis Cup and Lleyton and unfortunately that relationship is dead in the water.

"So I don't think he'll be welcome back even if he does get his ranking back up to warrant it. He's got a lot of work to do.

"I understand some of the stuff he's saying. It is a very tight-knit community that group and it's a little too close knit. There's a lot of great info and talent and coaching ability that's out there around the world and that doesn't get welcomed in and I think Bernie feels he's on the outside."

Reacting to the rant, former player Sam Groth suggested it was time for Tomic to go and focus on himself.

"It's interesting, from Bernie. He has done well to stay out of the spotlight for most of the summer," Groth said.

"A few comments last week when he was playing the event before coming here to Melbourne Park. Maybe it's time for him to push on and to go look after his own tennis I think."

Hewitt's former coach Roger Rasheed has come to his ex-charge's defence, labelling Tomic's comments as a "pot shot".

"(Hewitt) gave everything to the sport and you've got someone having pot shots," he said on Sky Sports Radio.

"Regardless of what the situation is I don't think it's the right thing to do.

"For Bernie I'd love him to just put his head down, get himself in the condition that he needs to be to play tennis at a professional level, day in day out, week in week out, and offer himself to the challenge. But at the moment we don't see that product.

"To then be making the comments that he made, I think you've got to be looking after your own backyard."

Bernard Tomic lost in the Australian Open first round. Picture: Michael Klein
Bernard Tomic lost in the Australian Open first round. Picture: Michael Klein

 Todd Woodbridge, who won 16 doubles grand slams, described the rant as a "poor attempt to deflect".

"One of the most disappointing things here is that through habit is we expect the loss," he told 3AW on Tuesday morning.

"Lleyton copped it last night - a few years ago it was Rafter at Wimbledon.

"Myself, Rafter, Hewitt, we have a wealth of experience and developing players.

"It's time Tomic uses the tools we have given him. Last night was a poor attempt to deflect."

Tomic was managed by Hewitt's long-time management - led by David Drysdale - for a period before splitting in 2017 as the Davis Cup rift widened.

W Sports and Media - which manages Hewitt - also manages a number of Australian players, including Alex de Minaur.

John Newcombe also backed Hewitt.

"I absolutely support Lleyton, 100 per cent," the former world No 1 said.

"As I said to him last week, you take the high road. Everyone knows who you are."

The Herald Sun is contacting Tennis Australia, and Hewitt, for comment.

Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt during a Davis Cup encounter.
Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt during a Davis Cup encounter.

THE MANY CONTROVERSIES OF BERNARD TOMIC

Sept 2009: Declines a practice session with Lleyton Hewitt, with a representative reportedly telling Hewitt's team the two-time grand slam winner "isn't good enough." Tomic denies this, saying he turned down the session because he had swine flu.

Jan 2012: Fined three times in one day for speeding offences while driving his orange BMW around the Gold Coast.

Sept 2012: Accused of tanking by John McEnroe after a 6-3 6-4 6-0 loss to Andy Roddick in the second round of the US Open.

Jan 2013: Loses his driving licence after getting caught speeding again, this time in a yellow Ferrari.

May 2013: Tomic's dad John headbutts his son's hitting partner, Frenchman Thomas Drouet, during an argument in a Madrid street, breaking Drouet's nose. John Tomic claims it was in self-defence.

Nov 2013: Photographed getting a lap dance from two women during the annual Schoolies celebration on the Gold Coast.

Jan 2014: Booed by his home crowd at the Australian Open when he pulls out of a heavily hyped match against Rafael Nadal after one set citing a groin injury.

March 2014: Suffers the fastest loss in ATP history, losing to Finland's Jarko Nieminen 6-0 6-1 in just 28 minutes.

July 2015: Goes on an epic rant against Tennis Australia at Wimbledon after then-TA performance director Pat Rafter threatens to withdraw TA funding for his family. Tomic calls Rafter a "good actor" and a "mask" for TA boss Craig Tiley.

July 2015: Arrested in Miami after a party noise complaint in a $10,000-a-night hotel penthouse. He spends a day in jail and his shirtless mug shot is shown around the world.

May 2016: Concedes a match to Fabio Fognini at the Madrid Open by holding his racquet backwards on match point. Later, he says he didn't care about the match because he is "23 and worth over $10 million."

May 2016: He and Nick Krygios are warned by Olympic team chief de mission Kitty Chiller they may not be selected for Rio if their behaviour does not improve.

Jan 2018: Falls in the final round of Aus Open qualifying and as he leaves the court says "I'm off to count my millions",before appearing on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

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