Lleyton Hewitt has made explosive allegations against Bernard Tomic, accusing his former Davis Cup teammate of “blackmail” and “physical” threats towards him and his family.
- Lleyton Hewitt claimed he had receieved threats from Bernard Tomic for “a year and a half”
- Hewitt labelled Tomic a “clown” and said the Queenslander would never play Davis Cup again while he was captain
- The door has been left open for Nick Kyrgios to return to Davis Cup, but Hewitt says he has to meet “cultural standards”
Hewitt said he had not spoken to Tomic, who he labelled a “clown”, for some time and declared the controversial Queenslander would never play Davis Cup again for Australia while he was captain.
The former world number one addressed the media for only the second time since he was strongly criticised by Tomic for his role as Australian Davis Cup captain earlier this week.
“The threats that I’ve received, for me and my family, that I’ve had for a year and a half now, I don’t think anyone would reach out to a person who speaks like that,” Hewitt said.
When asked whether he had received physical threats, Hewitt replied: “Both. Blackmail threats and physical.”
Tomic told the Herald Sun earlier this week that he had threatened Hewitt two years ago he would “knock him out” if he tried to talk to him.
Hewitt’s accusation of blackmail related to the awarding of Australian Open wildcards and Tomic threatening not to play Davis Cup.
“It started because of blackmails to do with [Australian Open] wildcards. This was over a year ago,” Hewitt said.
Tomic has not played Davis Cup since 2016, Hewitt’s first year in charge.
Hewitt said he had tried to reach out to Tomic until recent years but was left with a feeling of being let down.
“For me, the biggest frustration is I feel like I really went out of my way to help Bernie, especially when I first came into the role,” he said.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with him one-on-one at a lot of tournaments, tried to get a coaching structure and physical team around him to give him the best opportunity. At the end of the day he still kept making the wrong mistakes.
“For me, It was probably the abuse that I copped from him that in the end I drew a line in the sand and I haven’t spoken to him since.”
Hewitt said he had no answers as to how Tomic had behaved.
“I don’t know what’s happened, why Bernie’s Bernie,” he said.
“I have no idea. It’s probably his upbringing, I would say, has a big part to do with it.”
Hewitt said had tried to implement “cultural standards” within the Australian Davis Cup team and they had not been met by Tomic.
Hewitt leaves door open for Kyrgios to play Davis Cup
Hewitt’s media appearance came a day after Nick Kyrgios took a swipe at the two-time major winner in a social media post, which was promptly deleted.
Hewitt said he wanted Kyrgios playing Davis Cup again but stressed the 23-year-old had to make the effort to improve his behaviour on and off the court.
“We feel like we have a responsibility to set a cultural standard and right now Nick’s not meeting those either,” Hewitt said.
Hewitt said he was “disappointed” Tomic had accused him of giving preferential treatment to some Australian players.
He also ignored Tomic’s suggestion that he managed Australian players and was receiving a percentage of their income.