The prospect seems remote, but Tennis Australia performance boss Wally Masur believes a closed-doors sit-down could solve the spat between Lleyton Hewitt and Bernard Tomic.
Tomic sent shockwaves around Melbourne Park on Monday night by suggesting Hewitt was selfish and divisive and needed to "go away".
Wally Masur would like to see Lleyton Hewitt and Bernard Tomic patch things up behind closed doors.Credit:Bryan Charlton
Hewitt laughed off the attack, saying it was "Bernie being Bernie and losing and going on and complaining".
But given Tomic's climb through the ranks in 2018 after 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 said.
"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."
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.
But Australian tennis legend John Newcombe, who first introduced Hewitt to the Davis Cup fold as an orange boy back in 1997, is urging the former world No.1 to stick to his guns and continue driving a cultural change in Australian tennis.
Tomic's plea for Hewitt to "go away" came amid claims that not only he but also fellow grand slam quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis no longer want to play Davis Cup under Hewitt.
John Newcombe with reigning Newcombe medallists Ashleigh Barty and Alex de Minaur. Credit:AAP
Newcombe applauded Hewitt for rewarding hard workers with Cup selection – and grand slam wildcards – rather than picking players on reputation.
"I think Lleyton's doing an unbelievable job," Newcombe said.
"I said to Lleyton the other day: 'Things that are being said and all that, take the high ground.
"'You don't have to defend yourself. Everyone sees what you're doing out there. You're busting your arse, you've got a great group of young people working for you that are all working at 100 per cent.
"'They all love you, they respect what you're doing for them and, if people want to bad name you, well OK that's their opinion'.
"The general public can see what Lleyton's doing, but every time Bernie gets a microphone he attacks Tennis Australia or someone in it."
Newcombe's backing of Hewitt is reflected in the rankings.
Alex de Minaur, John Millman and Jordan Thompson – who led Australia in September's World Group playoff in Austria – are now all ahead of Kyrgios, who is projected to slide to No.67 in the world after his earliest Open exit in six appearances.
Tomic (84) and Kokkinakis (132) are further down the pecking order on rankings.
And Australian No.3 Matt Ebden – overlooked for September's World Group playoff loss in Austria – also raised concerns over Hewitt's captaincy credentials.
Ebden said "there's clearly some issues that need to be addressed with the players and Tennis Australia, with Davis Cup and the players and the group as a whole".
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."
Source: Read Full Article