Bernard Tomic has slammed Lleyton Hewitt's Davis Cup captaincy, saying the former No. 1 has driven away the best players and is involved in a conflict of interest with his management company.
Following his opening-round defeat at the Australian Open, Tomic was asked about a potential return to playing Davis Cup and said there were "a lot of issues that not a lot of players are happy about."
"It’s all Lleyton. I’m going to say it honestly. No one likes him anymore,” Tomic told press. "We all know who those players are—myself and Kokkinakis, Kyrgios.
“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."
Tomic has had an on-and-off relationship with Hewitt but regularly featured on the Davis Cup team for Australia until a couple of years ago.
Kokkinakis is rumored to still be bothered by Hewitt's decision not to select him for Davis Cup in 2017, and also described himself as "obviously a little bit disappointed'' by Tennis Australia's decision not to give him a wild card into the Australian Open. The oft-injured 22-year-old qualified for the event, having received a wild card in 2018.
Kyrgios recently responded to a tweet about Hewitt watching Australian players courtside by saying that the captain's attention was not on him and Kokkinakis anymore, though he subsequently deleted it and said it was a joke.
Tomic insisted that all three had been had turned off playing Davis Cup by Hewitt, saying, “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?
"He used to hate Tennis Australia. Now he loves it."
Tomic also alleged that the two-time Grand Slam champion has a conflict of interest when it comes to which players get selected for Davis Cup or tournament wild cards.
Hewitt is involved with Signature Sports Management, a company organized by his agent that represents some Australian tennis players. Tennis Australia also has or has had a player representation department.
Wild cards for the men's draw were given to Marc Polmans, Alex Bolt, Alexei Popyrin, Jason Kubler and James Duckworth. According to Tomic, the first two players, along with Jordan Thompson, are represented by Hewitt's company.
"It’s funny all these players who got wild cards under our system, they are 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," said Tomic.
Management companies do not typically get a percentage of player winnings.
Tomic added that he would like to have another captain.
"He's an unbelievable champion. But what he's doing now is wrong," he said of Hewitt. "He’s in Davis Cup and he’s doing the wrong thing and we don’t want to play anymore. I hope he can get moved and we can go back to having a good captain.
"He doesn’t put the players first. He doesn’t put Nick first. He doesn’t put Kokkinakis first. He always thinks of himself."
Hewitt plans to respond to Tomic's comments on the second day of the Australian Open.
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