Patrick Rafter hopes that fellow Australian Bernard Tomic will continue to play Davis Cup but says that there will be no funding for the Tomic family because of John Tomic’s frequent criticism of Tennis Australia.
Bernard's father and coach has decided that the 22-year-old will not play in the Davis Cup quarterfinals the week following Wimbledon, partly because he is angry that his daughter Sara is not receiving financial support from the Australian governing body.
“On which basis can he [Rafter] cut funding in Australia? It is not his private company,” John Tomic was quoted as saying in the Herald Sun. “It means money will left in TA budget that he can use for his self and all administration. Why he did not cut TA administration [and] their high expenses overseas—hotels, first-class flight tickets, food. All of them taking wives and kids on TA expenses. Why [is] he cutting grassroots? It means that he is in political situation that he [is] doing how his bosses want. He don’t care for Australian tennis.”
Rafter, a former Davis Cup captain who works for Tennis Australia as the director of performance, said that the development program has given the Tomics a substantial amount of money over the years. “I think the disappointing part from our side is when you invest so much money in an individual—and it has been an incredible amount of money invested in the Tomics, ridiculous amounts,” Rafter told AAP. "And whether or not John will not admit that—he may, I don’t know—but that’s stopping. And then for him to say ‘I’m not going to [allow Bernard that] play Davis Cup because I’m not giving you extra money, that is really disappointing.”
Rafter added that other Tennis Australia figures are supporting him, such as current Davis Cup captain Wally Masur, coach Josh Eagle, Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik and head of women’s tennis Nicole Pratt. “We’ve talked amongst our team and we have decided we are now not going to support kids whose parents are vocally against everything we’re trying to do,” Rafter said. “Either nasty people or people who go online on Twitter and stuff all the time and are just being abusive. We’re making a stand on that.
"So we’re not funding Sara, which is a bit of a shame for Sara because I think she’s a great girl and she has a very good rapport with a lot of TA staff and she always comes across as friendly. But unfortunately she is getting roped in because we are not going to tolerate John’s behavior.”
Rafter also says that the Tomics, Bernard included, have been problematic on the Davis Cup team for years. “This whole thing with the Tomics has been going on pretty much since I got involved with Davis Cup. Because I've always tried to tell the boys exactly how I feel and this is how it is and if you keep going down these particular paths, these are the things that will happen ... The problem with the young kids having such stardom at such a young age is that they're probably a little bit immature in lot of ways, and most people are.”
Rafter stepped down as Davis Cup captain in part because of these issues and is now leaving younger players like Tomic to make their own decisions. “I just feel like it's fallen on deaf ears for the last four or five years and so now I just take a step back and watch them unravel, or they just become their own men and deal with it or they mature in time,” Rafter said.
Bernard Tomic played in Australia’s Davis Cup tie against the Czech Republic in early March, winning both of his matches. Lleyton Hewitt also played the tie and is helping captain Masur. Hewitt hit with Tomic at Wimbledon on Friday.