Enigmatic Aussie tennis player Bernard Tomic has unleashed a savage tirade on Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt in a press conference after his first-round exit from the Australian Open.
Tomic went out in straight sets to world number 6 Marin Cilic 6-2 6-4 7-6 in just over two hours before taking aim at Hewitt with a series of accusations that will raise eyebrows at Tennis Australia.
The world number 88 said Hewitt’s captaincy had fractured the Davis Cup team, that he and several other will refuse to to play under him, and that he shouldn’t be playing in the tournament and taking a spot off younger players.
The 26-year-old also called Hewitt’s integrity into question, suggesting that former world number 1 was promoting players that have links to a management company Hewitt is involved in.
“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.”
Tomic also dragged Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios into the nascent feud, saying that neither of those two want to play for Australia while Hewitt remains Davis Cup skipper.
“We have a lot of issues that not a lot of players are happy about,” Tomic said .
“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.”
Tomic also took aim at at Hewitt for playing himself in Davis Cup doubles matches.
“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, Tomic made it extremely clear who he meant.
“It’s all Lleyton. I’m going to say it honestly. No one likes him anymore,” 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?”
Tomic called for a new Davis Cup captain to replace Hewitt.
“Someone that’s doing the right thing. The honest thing,” Tomic said of his preferred replacement. “Somebody who is not doing stuff for himself, 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.”