Bernard Tomic has committed to this month’s Davis Cup quarter-final against Kazakhstan but launched an extraordinary attack on Tennis Australia.
After threatening to boycott the tie, Tomic has backflipped and says he will now play out of respect for retiring champion Lleyton Hewitt and the prestige of the century-old competition despite claiming to have been abandoned by TA.
Hitting back in sensational fashion after Pat Rafter vowed to stop the governing body’s funding to the Tomic family, including his younger sister Sara, Tomic described Australia’s director of performance as a “mask” for TA boss Craig Tiley.
Feeling angry and let down, Tomic used his post-match press conference following a third-round Wimbledon loss to Novak Djokovic to take TA to task.
During his rant, the 22-year-old demanded an investigation into TA’s own conduct after Rafter used Tomic’s father and coach John’s “intolerable” behaviour as the chief reason for no longer funding the family.
“Personally inside it’s been very difficult for me the last year or so in the Tennis Australia group,” Tomic said.
“People think I’m at war with Pat Rafter. It’s not true. Pat is a nice guy.
“(But) if the Australian public don’t know Pat, he’s a good actor, he’s well-spoken, always prepared and knows what to say. He’s prepped by Tennis Australia to know what to say.
“He’s always ready to fire back questions that we answer to. Behind that, I think (I’m) very disappointed in Craig Tiley in Tennis Australia.
“He’s the reason the last few years (have) been up and down for me. There has been (a) lack of support towards me. There has been no respect, I think, towards me.
“It’s been difficult.”
While acknowledging TA helped him reach the world stage, Tomic said things began to change after he underwent double hip surgery following last year’s Australian Open.
“I didn’t get one phone call from Tennis Australia asking: `Can we help you, Bernard? Can we do this? Do you need something?’
“No phone calls were there. I was on my own and felt really bad (because) Tennis Australia (had previously) supported me along the way very well.
“Don’t get me wrong, from what Pat said, a lot of money was invested in me for sure.
“But whatever they invested in me, they got in return 10, 20 times more. That’s 100 per cent certain.
“Now all of a sudden they are neglecting me for some reason. They are not supporting me, not respecting me.”
Tomic said he was left mystified by allegedly being asked to pay for the use of courts at Royal Pines and then even at Pat Rafter Arena before this year’s Brisbane International.
“I got a call from Tennis Australia: `You have to pay for your own courts.’,” he said.
“Now, I thought it was funny. You know, okay, okay, I paid for the court, no problem.
“So rain’s started again. Maybe I will go up to Pat Rafter Arena and practice there.
“I went up there, organised 10 days before, nine days before. Practice and stuff. Guy coming to me: `You have to pay the court and balls.’
“Do you think that’s fair, honestly?
“Certainly not. That’s where things started changing. I couldn’t believe it.”
Tomic said he took the receipt and claimed to have learned that Tiley and Rafter had decided he needed to pay.
“What’s going on? Where is the support? How can you do this?,” Tomic said.
“It’s not about the money. It’s about the respect.”
Incensing Tomic further was his claim that TA had been splashing money on eastern European imports Daria Gavrilova and Ajla Tomljanovic and “doing this, doing that … instead of supporting us, junior players”.
“Now, why I have to play Davis Cup for these people and administration down there, Tiley and these guys?” he fired.
“No one is mentioning him (Tiley) … they are holding so much money down there and doing what they want; increasing their salary, this, that, giving Pat a salary.
“It’s like saying: `Here, Pat, here’s a salary’. They are giving him a budget. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. What’s his job?
“(They’re saying): `Deal with it, Pat. You’re the mask’.
“He’s a mask for these guys – Craig and (TA president) Steve (Healy).
“They don’t want to deal with this. They give it to Pat: `You do the work. You take care of this’.
“It’s crazy. Meanwhile, he’s charging me for balls.”