MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt said on Thursday he had received physical threats from compatriot Bernard Tomic, leading him to cut ties with the player and ban him from the Davis Cup team.
Twice Grand Slam champion Hewitt, 37, told reporters at the Australian Open that Tomic had made several threats against him and his family, including blackmail, over the past 18 months.
“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 at Melbourne Park.
“For me, it was the abuse I copped from him at the end. I drew a line in the sand and I haven’t spoken to him since. He won’t play Davis Cup while I have anything to do with it.”
Reuters was not immediately able to contact Tomic for comment.
Tennis Australia declined to comment on Hewitt’s allegations. A spokesperson said the governing body was unable to contact Tomic and did not know if the player was still in Melbourne.
World number 88 Tomic, who has been in and out of the Davis Cup team for years, pilloried Hewitt in his post-match media conference after bowing out in the first round on Monday.
Tomic, 26, accused Hewitt of favouritism in the awarding of wildcards to local players for the year’s first Grand Slam, and said he should be replaced as Davis Cup captain.
“It’s all Lleyton. I’m going to say it honestly, no-one likes him anymore,” Tomic told reporters. “I hope he can get moved and we can go back to having a good captain.”
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Ken Ferris)