'I'll knock him out': Shock details emerge in Tomic-Hewitt feud

The full extent of Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt’s falling out is being laid bare.

Tomic sent shockwaves around Melbourne Park on Monday night by suggesting Hewitt was selfish and divisive and needed to “go away”.

Hewitt laughed off the attack, saying it was “Bernie being Bernie and losing and going on and complaining”.

Tomic and Hewitt used to be on good terms, but things turned sour in 2017, with new claims that Tomic threatened to punch the Davis Cup captain.

According to The Herald Sun, Tomic said: “Two years ago, I said ‘If he ever tries to talk to me, I’ll knock him out’.”

Tomic also reportedly dared Hewitt to “come one metre from me if he is a man.”

Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt in 2016. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt in 2016. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Tomic was a regular in Davis Cup up until 2017, when he pulled out of a number of ties due to ‘scheduling issues’.

Fed up with Tomic’s constant unavailability, Hewitt has failed to pick the controversial player ever since.

Tennis Australia wants reconciliation talks

The prospect seems remote, but Tennis Australia performance boss Wally Masur believes a closed-doors sit-down could solve the spat.

But given Tomic’s climb through the ranks in 2018 after a self-imposed exile, and Hewitt’s position at the head of Australian male tennis, a reconciliation is plainly in the sport’s best interests.

“What I want to get away from is the public tennis game, it being played out in the press,” Masur told AAP.

“I’d rather those guys got in a room and they sort it out privately … and I think there’s a chance.

“The tournament is in full swing. I wouldn’t say it’s on both of their agendas at the moment but it would be something I am keen to explore.”

Bernard Tomic and Llewton Hewitt used to be on good terms. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)
Bernard Tomic and Llewton Hewitt used to be on good terms. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)

Masur, who was Davis Cup captain in 2015 when Australia reached the semi-finals with both Hewitt and Tomic as players, said tennis lent itself to strong personalities.

“To be a good tennis player you’ve got to be stubborn,” he said.

“And these guys have quite a past.

“Maybe there’s a sense of frustration from Lleyton that Bernie hasn’t maximised his potential.”

And maybe there’s a frustration from Tomic that Hewitt hasn’t helped him match his potential, having wanted the dual grand slam champion to coach him full-time.

Aussie stars fall short of supporting Hewitt

Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios were named by Tomic as players unwilling to play under Hewitt in his explosive rant.

On Tuesday, Kokkinakis admitted disappointment not to receive a wildcard into the 2019 tournament but chose not to comment on Tomic’s diatribe.

Kyrgios said he was available for Davis Cup but didn’t think he’d be picked because “there’s a lot of good players right now”.

Australian No.3 Matt Ebden suggested the division that Tomic hinted at was real.

“There’s clearly some issues that need to be addressed with the players and Tennis Australia, with Davis Cup and the players,” he said.

“I’m not going to lie, there’s definitely some issues that need to be resolved on both sides.”

Samantha Stosur, the only other Australian aside from Hewitt to have won a grand slam title this century, cheekily suggested the answer to the rift could be closer than Tennis Australia realised.

“They’ve got their issues. We don’t have anything to do with what the men do,” she said.

“It would be a shame if it put a dampener on things as a whole.

“The women’s side is in a really good spot. We all really genuinely support each other and like to see each other do well.

“We haven’t had a problem for a very long time so we must be doing something alright.”

with AAP