Alexei Popyrin and Alex Bolt have made Bernard Tomic’s swipe at Lleyton Hewitt look very foolish.
Bolt and Popyrin, both wildcards, sent seeded stars Gilles Simon and Dominic Thiem crashing out of the Australian Open on Thursday in stunning upsets.
‘THREATENED MY FAMILY’: Hewitt-Tomic feud takes disturbing twist
CRAZY SCENES: Australian Open match ends at 3am after bird poo fiasco
The unexpected victories have given the Aussies their best start to the Australian Open in 15 years, with five players (Bolt, Popyrin, Alex de Minaur, Ash Barty and Kim Birrell) into the third round for the first time since 2004.
Bolt and Popyrin’s spectacular forays into the last 32 have blown Tomic’s assertion that they were only gifted entries into the grand slam because they were under Hewitt’s wing, out of the water.
Thanasi Kokkinakis, one high-profile player who wasn’t granted a wildcard, exited in the first round – albeit because of another injury.
Tomic also said he, Nick Kyrgios and Kokkinakis no longer wanted to play for Australia on Hewitt’s watch, while criticising the skipper for spending too much time watching Alex de Minaur.
But all of Tomic assertions have proven to be of little sense.
Bolt and Popyrin not only vindicated their wildcard selections, but De Minaur, John Millman, Matt Ebden and Jordan Thompson are now Australia’s four highest-ranked players, ahead of Kyrgios and Tomic.
So even if Tomic, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis did want to play Davis Cup, would they be picked?
Agassi’s wake-up call for bad boys
Andre Agassi suspects there will only ever be one winner in Australia’s Davis Cup war.
And judging by Hewitt’s sensational return of serve to Tomic and the incredible runs of Bolt and Popyrin, the former world No.1 and four-times Melbourne Park champion may well be right.
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.”