HAD anyone predicted just a couple of years ago that Lleyton Hewitt and Bernard Tomic would become friendly Davis Cup teammates and regular practice partners, they would have been laughed out of Melbourne Park.
But Hewitt plans to speak to Tomic about the Queenslander’s decision to boycott Australia’s second Davis Cup tie this year, and perhaps try to use his new-found influence to prompt a rethink.
Captain Pat Rafter, with Tennis Australia’s backing, suspended Tomic from next month’s opening Asia/Oceania tie against Taiwan for his unprofessionalism and questionable efforts at times last year. In Perth and Sydney in the past week, Tomic has countered by declaring himself unavailable for the second tie, in April. After his opening win at Kooyong’s AAMI Classic on Wednesday, Hewitt admitted he was disappointed to hear it.
”I’d like to have a chat with him obviously at some stage about it more, and just see, because I know Pat, he’s pretty frustrated,” Hewitt said. ”For one, he wants to have the best possible team he can have, and Bernie’s in that, there’s no doubt about it, so it’s a tough one.
”Obviously he had to work on a few things before he got back in the tie, and whether that’s had any influence on him missing the second tie, I don’t know. I personally haven’t spoken to Bernie about it; but I feel like the last year-and-half, two years, I’m probably the closest out of anyone with him, which a lot of people would find amazing after a few years ago.”
So the chat will come, but not immediately. And the next selection call, whenever it is made, will involve Rafter, new Davis Cup coach Josh Eagle, and veteran mentor Tony Roche, said Hewitt, Australia’s most successful cup warrior. Tomic himself has declared he will not be back until the world group play-off round in September.
”I’m not going to talk to him right now about it – it’s not the right time,” said Hewitt, the former world No. 1. ”So it’s disappointing that he’s not playing the first tie, but that’s for other reasons than Bernie missing it himself … So there’s still a bit of time before the second one; we’ll have to wait and see.”
The previous ill-feeling between Hewitt and Tomic can be traced back to a practice incident at Wimbledon in 2009, when the senior player’s invitation to Tomic to hit was rejected, and the then 16-year-old approached Juan Carlos Ferrero instead. ”To say that we were less than impressed would be an understatement,” said Hewitt’s manager, David Drysdale, at the time. Things, clearly, have changed. And, in the interests of Australia’s Davis Cup prospects, something else might soon need to.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.