Bernard Tomic has opened up about his turbulent relationship with his ‘idol’ Lleyton Hewitt, and the moment his entourage told the former world No.1 he wasn’t good enough to train with.
Tomic, one of Australia’s tennis bad boys, denied allegations he threatened and blackmailed Hewitt in an interview with A Current Affair and the Sydney Morning Herald.
When asked about whether the allegations were true, Tomic responded ‘No that did not happen’.
‘I was just a little bit forceful about him and said ‘if you come near me I’ll do x and x’,’ Tomic said.
‘But it was something stupid I said at the time … I’ve done a lot of other things that I regret, that I shouldn’t have said, that I shouldn’t have done – especially with him.
‘If I could take those things back now I would, but I can’t and it’s in the past.’
Bernard Tomic has opened up about his turbulent relationship with his ‘idol’ Lleyton Hewitt, and the moment his entourage told the former world No.1 he wasn’t good enough to train with
Tomic’s relationship with Hewitt has been rocky throughout his career and didn’t start well.
When Tomic was just 16-years-old playing at Wimbledon, Hewitt offered to have a practice hit with the teenager only for his entourage to shut him down.
Speaking about the incident, Tomic said he was just a kid at the time.
‘I was influenced by the people and I didn’t have my say. If I could have had the opportunity to hit with Lleyton I would. He went on to inspire me,’ he said.
‘He was one of my idols. He went on to be my coach for four or five years after that … I learned a lot [from] him. His legacy, his tennis speaks for itself.’
The 29-year-old said he’s hoping he can make amends with his former mentor and offered to meet up for coffee with him.
The allegations over threats came after Hewitt didn’t pick Tomic for the Davis Cup or as a wildcard for the Australian Open.
‘But for sure at the moment when he didn’t give me the wildcard, I probably wouldn’t have given me the wildcard. I was 250 in the world. The moment when he didn’t let me play Davis Cup, I wouldn’t have let me play Davis cup for Australia,’ Tomic admitted.
The pair’s relationship got off to a rocky start after Tomic’s entourage told Hewitt he wasn’t good enough to train with a 16-year-old Tomic at Wimbledon
Tomic (pictured with new girlfriend Keely Hannah) has also vowed to make a career-defining comeback.
Tomic is seen next to tennis champions Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Ash Barty after being awarded Male Junior Athlete of the Year in 2010
Meanwhile, the world No.257 has revealed he’s planning to make a career-defining comeback, saying he wants to retire ‘guilt-free’, having been dubbed by many critics as a waste of talent.
He was tipped to take the tennis world by storm at the age of 14 when he signed the biggest Nike deal for any athlete his age after winning the Junior Australian Open.
He became the youngest male to win a match at the Australian Open at 16-years-old and at the age of 18 he took on Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, the youngest player to do so since 1986.
But the mounting pressure that comes from life in the limelight got the better of Tomic who earned himself the nickname ‘Tomic the Tank Engine’.
‘At times, I didn’t want to play tennis,’ he said.
‘It was not something I enjoyed 100 per cent doing. But I was beating everyone and with winning comes a lot of good feelings with emotions as a young kid. And it grew on me.’
When facing intense criticism for tanking out of matches, Tomic says his behaviour was him trying to send a message that he was struggling under the constant scrutiny.
Tomic was tipped to take the tennis world by storm at the age of 14 when he signed the biggest Nike deal for any athlete his age
After losing to Djokovic three years ago, Tomic recalled the now world No.1 said to him at the time ‘Bernard, if I had half your talent, where would I be?’
In 2018 after losing his Australian Open qualifier he famously told reporters: ‘I just count money, that’s all I do. I count my millions’.
But he said at times he was left ‘disappointed’ when nobody reached out to ask if he was OK.
‘I’m a human. I have emotions. I’m not a switch where you can just flick on and flick off like a robot,’ he said.
He said the criticism from Australians became so bad it pushed him to spend the past ten years living overseas, having been hit with death threats and remarks to ‘leave this country’.
After losing to Djokovic three years ago, Tomic recalled the now world No.1 said to him at the time ‘Bernard, if I had half your talent, where would I be?’.
Tomic pictured with his girlfriend. The tennis star said the scrutiny he faced in Australia prompted him to move overseas
Despite flaunting his wealth in luxury cars, Tomic admits life in the fast lane quickly lost its shine and ‘doesn’t fulfil you at the end of the day’.
He also addressed his whirlwind romance with Only Fans star Vanessa Sierra which ended last year after a very public spat which saw Ms Sierra post a video of Tomic smashing her laptop.
He’s since moved on with Gold Cost influencer Keely Hannah.
‘Don’t do Only Fans!’ he said about his former relationship.
His focus is now on retiring as the best tennis player he can be, saying he feels as if he’s at ‘rock bottom’ in his career.
Tomic said life in the fast lane quickly lost its shine. He famously said in 2018 ‘I just count my millions’
He was dumped out of this year’s Australian Open in a qualifying match, crediting Covid-19 for his unimpressive performance.
Trailing 1-2 in the second set, Tomic told chair umpire Aline Da Rocha Nocinto at the change-over he believed he’s soon test positive to the virus.
‘I’m sure in the next two days I will test positive, I’m telling you,’ the 29-year-old said from his chair.
‘I’ll buy you dinner if I don’t test positive in three days, otherwise you buy me dinner.’
He later returned a positive test result.
Tomic is now planning to win Wimbledon before he puts down the racquet for good.
‘There’s a window coming in the next five or six years before I retire and I’m going to do it. I’ve got my eyes on it and I will do it,’ he said.
Tomic who is currently ranked 257th said he plans to win Wimbledon before he puts down the racquet for good (pictured at Australian Open qualifying match)