Lleyton Hewitt accuses Bernard Tomic of 'physical' threats and blackmail
Lleyton Hewitt accuses Bernard Tomic of 'physical' threats and blackmail
Nick Kyrgios’ post. Image ProvidedMore
18 January, 2019, 05:14
Speaking after his Australian Open doubles exit, Hewitt says he's cut all contact with Tomic following abuse over the past 18 months.
"I had to draw a line in the sand and that will continue".
Tomic claimed some players were picked for the Davis Cup team - and given Australian Open wildcards - because they were represented by a management company owned by Hewitt.
"The threats that I received to me and my family that I've had for a year and a half now..."
And when asked by reporters to specify the nature of the blackmail, Hewitt claimed Tomic had threatened not to play the Davis Cup.
The two have been feuding for more than a year after Tomic claimed that Australia couldn't win without him and Hewitt countered by saying Tomic wouldn't be chosen for further worldwide duty as long as he was in charge.
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Tomic, who has long had a fractious relationship with Hewitt and Tennis Australia, claimed that he and countrymen Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios "don't want to play (Davis Cup) any more because he's ruined the system".
Kyrgios has twice in recent weeks had a dig at Hewitt's courtside support of the country's No.1 Alex de Minaur above other Australian players.
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"The biggest frustration is I feel like I really went out of my way to help Bernie. spent a lot of time with him one-on-one at a lot of tournaments", Hewitt said.
"Like please explain to me the similarities between [AFL football] and tennis".
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"Go away, like literally, if he's retired, why are you still in tennis?" he continued.
Tomic has not played in the Davis Cup since 2016.
Hewitt said Kyrgios was not lost to the Davis Cup cause but needed to match the cultural standards set by the team.
He rejected the notion that Australian men's tennis was in disarray, saying it's disappointing that the performances of de Minaur, Popyrin, Bolt and Millman were overshadowed by all the attention on Tomic's comments.
Hewitt didn't go into specifics about the alleged threats, except to say it revolved around wild cards and Davis Cup selection and that he didn't feel personally threatened. "Tried to get a coaching structure around him to give him the best opportunity". All I want guys to do is commit to the sport and work hard and want to play for Australia'.
Hewitt said Kyrgios' antics on social media was "one of the standards" he was not meeting but acknowledged the 23-year-old's Davis Cup career was "salvageable".
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