Roger Rasheed has smacked down Lleyton Hewitt after the Aussie Davis Cup captain levelled stunning new claims against Bernard Tomic.
On Thursday night, Hewitt sensationally claimed Tomic physically threatened him and his family and said he’ll never play Davis Cup as long as he’s involved as captain.
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Speaking after his Australian Open doubles exit, Hewitt says he’s cut all contact with Tomic following the alleged abuse over the past 18 months.
“Both (physical and verbal) – blackmail and physical,” Hewitt said on Thursday night.
“The threats that I’ve received for me and my family that I’ve had had for a year and half now, I don’t think anyone would reach out to a person who speaks like that.”
The startling claims sent shockwaves through the Australian tennis community, but they’ve rubbed a number of high-profile identities up the wrong way.
Hewitt’s former coach Roger Rasheed has hit out over the fact that Hewitt has now added fuel to the feud in the most public of ways.
“I just wouldn’t have said a word, personally,” Rasheed said on SEN Radio on Friday.
“I don’t like it when that is aired. Lleyton didn’t need to. What he’s done speaks for itself.
“He’s the Davis Cup captain so he can decide to lead the team and the culture you want in the team, that’s your prerogative.
“We want that sort of stuff to be behind closed doors and I think now there would need to be an investigation around it.
“I’m sure Tennis Australia and the management would want to lock this away, do their due diligence and try and move forward. They’ve (TA) got some really good stories on the tennis court and that’s what we should be celebrating.
“It’s a rough one. It’s an interesting situation.”
Former Aussie player Jelena Dokic also criticised the fact the public nature of the feud had overshadowed the success of some unheralded young locals.
“To hear that is pretty horrible,” Dokic said on the Today Show. “It’s not the way you want to go about things, so absolutely something needs to be done.
“It’s just hard to be hearing all these things when for the first time in 15 years we’ve got five Aussies in the third round, which is incredible.
“It’s being a little bit overshadowed by this. With Bernie, you know, things have been coming out for a while.”
The world’s media has also been left stunned by the sorry saga, with a number of prominent international journalists tweeting their amusement.
The Lleyton Hewitt press conference was WILD, y'all. Blackmail, threats, disowning. This country really is a tennis soap opera. #AusOpen
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 17, 2019
Lleyton always loved a good press conference. https://t.co/eAivp01g9u
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 17, 2019
‘I really went out of my way to help him’
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.
Describing him as a “clown”, he said he was disappointed by Tomic’s most recent comments.
“For me, the biggest frustration is that I really went out of my way to help him,” Hewitt said.
“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.
“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.”
Agassi’s wake-up call for Tomic, Kyrgios
Andre Agassi suspects there will only ever be one winner in Australia’s Davis Cup war.
Agassi, one of tennis’s great rebels before ending his career as a statesman and icon, admitted he regretted his clashes with some of his Davis Cup captains.
“I don’t know about the politics and what-not that go on and as Davis Cup captain what his responsibilities are,” the American told AAP during his trip to Melbourne as a global ambassador for Lavazza.
“I can only imagine. I only saw it as a player.
“I probably took a lot for granted and I said regretful things in my own life about captains when things didn’t go the way I wanted them to go.
“Lleyton, he’s been nothing but a competitor for this sport. I’ve always respected him.
“He’s a fighter and I’m sure he’s going to fight on behalf of making his team as good as possible.
“I’m sure he’s a pretty smart dude as well when it comes to that.
“It’s not easy if you don’t get the support from certain players, but Lleyton has won more battles than that.”