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Bernard Tomic Unleashes on Hewitt After Australian Open Loss

Bernard Tomic has launched an astonishing broadside at Lleyton Hewitt on his way out of the Australian Open, accusing the Davis Cup captain of splitting Australia's playing ranks and promoting talent for personal financial gain.

Tomic was defeated 6-2 6-4 7-6 (7-3) by world No.7 Marin Cilic on Monday night on his return to the tournament, a year after losing in qualifying for his home grand slam.

He then closed the door on a Davis Cup return under Hewitt and exposed deep rifts among Australian players.

"No one likes him any more," Tomic said of Hewitt.

"We have a lot of issues that not a lot of players are happy about. We all know who those players are. Myself, (Thanasi) Kokkinakis, (Nick) Kyrgios."

Kokkinakis, who defeated Roger Federer in an injury-ravaged 2018, was overlooked for a wildcard at the 2019 tournament in favour of Alexei Popyrin, Marc Polmans and Alex Bolt.

Tomic alleged that Hewitt's promotion of Open debutant Polmans, the world No.169, and Bolt, who has at played three majors without winning a match, was improper.

"He used to hate Tennis Australia, it's weird. Now he loves them. What's happened here?," he said.

"I guess he's using them for other things and resources and for his pay cheque.

"All these guys that got wildcards are under a system ... Polmans, Bolty, Jordan Thompson.

"They're all under his Lleyton's wing under the management company. It's all conflict of interest.

"And then he's in Davis Cup and he's doing the wrong thing and everyone's leaving.

"I played Davis Cup for 10 years. I think I played at the youngest age of Australian history when I was 15.

"Lleyton's legacy and his tennis speaks for itself. He's an unbelievable champion. But what he's doing now is wrong.

"I hope he gets moved and we can go back to having a good captain."

Tennis Australia has been approached for comment on the allegations.

Tomic's incendiary remarks were in contrast to his performance against Cilic, where he pushed last year's finalist and came back from 5-2 down in the third set to force a tiebreak.

The divisive Gold Coast talent had the support of the Margaret Court Arena crowd despite his reputation as a part-time tennis player and party boy.

Tomic rebuilt his world ranking after a sabbatical in 2018 - which included a stint on reality TV show 'I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!' - with two titles that earned him direct acceptance into the 2019 Open.

He said he wanted to climb closer to a career-best ranking this year - but not at any cost.

"It's important the next four or five months to get back in the top 50, 40, 30. So that's going to be my goal," he said.

"I don't want to play too much because there are better things to do than play tennis but we'll see," he added, winking at journalists and laughing.

He laughed off the fact that his match wasn't broadcast by Channel Nine given the heavyweight players in action on Monday night.

"I think Federer and Murray have priority over me huh?" he said.

Tomic is not scheduled to play men's doubles, and is likely to leave Melbourne Park following his first-round defeat.

AAP

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