Bernard Tomic has warned Lleyton Hewitt that if Australia’s Davis Cup captain tries to talk to him, he will “knock him out” in a feud threatening to overshadow the Australian Open.
Tomic made a series of claims surrounding Hewitt after being knocked out of the grand slam on Monday evening, including the fact he had lost the respect of many of Australia’s top players and that he had “ruined the system”.
The 26-year-old also made allegations that Hewitt was involved in preferential treatment of players who were “under Lleyton’s wing – under the management company”.
Hewitt responded to the claims on Tuesday afternoon, saying he took the comments as “a bit of a laugh” and that “it’s kind of Bernie being Bernie”.
“Especially after a loss last night and going in and complaining about a few things. So, for me, I kind of just laugh it off and move forward,” he told the Nine Network.
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 15, 2019
Tomic added more fuel to the fire on Tuesday, telling the Herald Sun: “Two years ago, I said ‘If he ever tries to talk to me, I’ll knock him out’.”
The same report quoted Tomic as asking Hewitt “to come one metre from me if he is a man”.
Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios were mentioned by Tomic in his initial rant, who said Hewitt did not put either player first “and he only thinks of himself”.
Tomic was also curious why the likes of Alex Bolt, Jordan Thompson and Marc Polmans were given wildcards in the Open.
Kokkinakis did not receive one, despite being ranked higher than all three Australian players.
He eventually won his way through qualifying but felt that extra toll did not help him as he was forced to retire after winning the first set of his clash against Japan’s Taro Daniel on Tuesday.
It hurts😔 at some point I will figure it out and put it together…. appreciate all the support, always an unreal feeling playing @AustralianOpen ❤️
— Thanasi Kokkinakis (@TKokkinakis) January 15, 2019
Asked to comment on Tomic’s allegations, Kokkinakis refused to support Hewitt – or his fellow player – when asked if he supported the former World No.1 remaining as Davis Cup captain.
“I’m not answering that,” he said.
Kyrgios claimed he “didn’t see” Tomic’s comment when asked about them and when quizzed if there was a rift between himself and Hewitt, he added: “Not really”.
Further reaction is expected on Wednesday.
Our wrap-up of the weird and the wonderful on day two of the Open starts with a subject Kokkinakis did want to talk about – Andy Murray.
Andy Murray has a dilemma for his future in tennis – he says he has “two options.” pic.twitter.com/ppKUD0HZkS
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 14, 2019
The Scot may be about to retire, but Kokkinakis hopes that is not the case.
“I remember before, really young, watching him on TV – this guy looks miserable all the time on court,” Kokkinakis said.
“Then when I started to progress onto the tour, play a few more matches, he’s probably the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.
“He went out of his way to reach out to me … when I was playing matches in Hopman Cup last year, he’d send me massive paragraphs about things he thinks I should do on court, what could help me, stuff like that.
“[He is] really genuine. Good guy. Hopefully he doesn’t retire too soon, because, yeah, I love having him around.”
They said what?
He might be the 27th best men’s singles players in the world but Denis Shapovalov is banned from having a Twitter account.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 15, 2019
“There’s some issues with my birth date and stuff … they don’t want to let me back in. Please, Twitter, let me back in,” the Canadian said to laughs from the press pack.
“I feel I’m just a little bit less on my social media now with my Twitter gone – but, yeah, I definitely would love to have that back … they didn’t believe I’m my age or something.
“They said apparently when I created my account, I was too young or something like this – so I need a verification with the parent. Something crazy like this.
“They just kind of kicked me out [and] said, yeah, I need to send a letter or something. I’m trying to fix that.”
Serena Williams dished out an absolute thrashing to German Tatjana Maria on Tuesday.
She triumphed 6-0 6-2, taking the first set in just 18 minutes before needing 31 in the second.
Maria won just five points in the first set, one of the more one-sided sets at the Open in recent memory.
Playing solo this time 😉 pic.twitter.com/hKa4pmTNSM
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) January 15, 2019