Tennis Australia is sitting on a powder keg with Wimbledon wrecking ball Nick Kyrgios threatening to walk out of this month’s Davis Cup quarter-final if Bernard Tomic doesn’t play.
Despite doing a U-turn and making himself available for the grasscourt tie against Kazakhstan in Darwin from July 17-19, Tomic’s incredible attack on TA after his Wimbledon exit on Friday has left the Australian No.1’s position on tenterhooks.
TA powerbrokers, including chief executive Craig Tiley – Tomic’s prime target in his venomous post-match spray after losing to Novak Djokovic at the All England Club – were locked in crisis talks late on Friday night.
Tomic had hours before already revealed his hand – and it didn’t make for pleasant viewing for Tennis Australia.
Not only did Tomic detail – at all places the All England Club – his deep anguish at TA for allegedly abandoning him and his family after he underwent double hip surgery last year, but the Davis Cup spearhead also said Kyrgios was firmly in his corner.
“I always wanted to play Davis Cup. I’m going to,” Tomic said.
“I’m going to go down there and play for the respect of Davis Cup, for the respect of the Australian public, for myself and mainly for the respect of (retiring champion) Lleyton (Hewitt) and the team.
“It’s interesting what’s happened the last week that Nick wasn’t going to play as well. You know, I was not going to play. He said: ‘If you don’t play, I don’t play’.
“It was interesting now looking at this. We are in the quarter-finals and we are sort of about to pull the pin.”
At the heart of the issue is Tomic’s father and coach John’s infuriation that Tennis Australia has ceased funding the family, including 17-year-old Sara, the women’s world No.765.
Ordinarily, Tomic’s extraordinary public spray would command sanctioning.
But also losing Kyrgios – who may well win Wimbledon after scorching into the last 16 for the loss of just one set – would decimate Australia.
Not to mention devastate Hewitt, who is desperate to bow out with a third Davis Cup title in 2015.
Without Tomic and Kyrgios, the country’s top two players, Australia would take on Kazakhstan with Hewitt, Sam Groth, teenage ace Thanasi Kokkinakis and any number of candidates for the last spot in the four-man line-up.
It would likely be a team strong enough to beat the lowly-ranked Kazakhs, but who knows what the state of play would be for the semi-finals in September.
Hewitt, Australia’s Davis Cup captain-elect after interim skipper Wally Masur steps aside, not surprisingly wasn’t keen to weigh in to the messy situation after his first-round Wimbledon mixed doubles win with Casey Dellacqua on Friday.
Masur, though, vowed to pick his strongest line-up – including Tomic and Kyrgios – and let Tennis Australia go from there.