July 4, 2015 / 1:22 AM / 2 years ago

Tomic slams 'disrespectful' Tennis Australia, 'actor' Rafter

(Reuters) - Bernard Tomic launched a blistering tirade against Tennis Australia and its head of performance Pat Rafter after his third round exit at Wimbledon on Friday.

Bernard Tomic of Australia hits a shot during his match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

The attack came after former world number one Rafter said he would end funding for players in their 20s and that Tomic’s sister Sara would also have her funding cut off because of the uncooperative attitude of their father John.

Tomic accused Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley and president Steve Healy of neglecting him and Rafter of being an “good actor”.

”Don’t get me wrong,“ the 22-year-old said after his loss to defending champion Novak Djokovic. ”A lot of money was invested in me, for sure. But whatever they invested in me, they got in return 10, 20 times more. That’s 100 percent certain.

“Now all of a sudden, they are neglecting me, for some reason. They are not supporting me, not respecting me.”

The world number 26 gave as examples the fact that Tennis Australia had not called him when he had hip surgery last year and that he had been forced to pay for court time and balls when he was preparing for the season-opening Brisbane International.

“What’s going on? Where is the support? How can you do this?” he asked.

    “It’s not about the money. It’s about the respect.”

“Really, guys,” he added. “You should be aware these guys down in Tennis Australia, Tiley, Healy, these guys, no one knows what they are doing, but they are doing not so good things.”

Tomic said he had now decided not to boycott the Davis Cup quarter-final against Kazakhstan in Darwin on July 17-19 in part out of respect for Lleyton Hewitt, who will be playing his last match for his country.

He also suggested world number 29 Nick Kyrgios had been considering pulling out in support of him.

”I always wanted to play Davis Cup,“ he said. ”I‘m going to.  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, you know, Lleyton and the team.

“It’s interesting what’s happened the last week that Nick wasn’t going to play, as well. I was not going to play. He said, If you don’t play, I don’t play.”

Tomic said his row was not with Rafter, who stood down as Davis Cup captain in January, before paying a backhanded compliment to the former U.S. Open champion. “People think I‘m at war with Pat Rafter. It’s not true,” he said.

    ”Pat is a nice guy. If the Australian public don’t know Pat, he’s a good actor, he’s well‑spoken, always prepared and knows what to say. He’s prepped by Tennis Australia to know what to say.

“Deal with it, Pat. You’re the mask. He’s a mask for these guys, Craig and Steve. They don’t want to deal with this. They give it to Pat. You do the work.” 

Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Greg Stutchbury

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