Bernard Tomic has branded Lleyton Hewitt a liar, denying he ever threatened the Davis Cup captain’s family as an ugly war of words between the two dramatically escalated on Friday.
“I got nothing to do with your family and I don’t care what’s wrong with you, you liar,” Tomic told News Corp.
“I have never threatened his family.
“Nice, Lleyton. To think how low of a person you actually [are] and [it’s] why the Australian public never liked you,” he said.
Tomic’s angry response comes as Hewitt unleashed at a Thursday night press conference, sensationally claiming he had been blackmailed and had received physical threats from his one-time Cup spearhead.
“I haven’t spoken to him for more than a year due to the abuse me and my family have received from Bernie,” Hewitt said.
Asked about the abuse, Hewitt said, “Blackmail threats – and physical” and added they were also aimed at his “close-knit family”.
“It started because of blackmails to do with wildcards,” he said.
“I think 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 that speaks like that.”
Tomic initially sparked the war of words with a vicious verbal attack on the former world No.1 following his first-round Australian Open loss on Monday.
— ABC Grandstand (@abcgrandstand) January 18, 2019
Despite Tennis Australia’s head of performance Wally Masur telling AAP he hoped the two could somehow resolve their differences, Hewitt said Tomic would never play Davis Cup again on his watch.
Speaking after his Australian Open doubles exit, Hewitt said he’d cut all contact with Tomic following the alleged abuse during the past 18 months.
Hewitt, 37, said he tried to help Tomic but now considered the 26-year-old former Wimbledon quarter-finalist a lost cause.
Hewitt said he’d received multiple threats from Tomic, who he declared a “clown”.
“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.”
Hewitt said he didn’t feel threatened by Tomic’s abuse but was frustrated after trying to help the world No.88 and one-time No.17.
“I spent a lot of time with him at a lot of tournaments and tried to get a coaching structure and physical team around him to give him the best opportunity.
“But at the end of the day he kept making the wrong mistakes,” Hewitt said.
“Deep down, Bernie knows what I’ve done for him … for Bernie to come out and have a go but more to get all of his facts wrong, that’s probably the most disappointing thing.”