If you thought the Lleyton Hewitt-Bernard Tomic feud was over, think again.
The pair may have wanted to keep their distance but have both found themselves in the US for the New York Open.
After a summer of vitriol and spite with Tomic’s now infamous explosive outburst after being knocked out of the Australian Open, Hewitt poured just a little more fuel on the fire.
One of the many initial criticisms from Tomic was that Hewitt paid more attention to players in his management company and showed them more preference when it came to Davis Cup, alleging he, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis were being unfairly left out.
Hewitt was playing doubles with Alexei Popyrin at the tournament before today’s loss and supporting world no. 60 Jordan Thompson.
The pair previously played doubles together at the Sydney International, making the semi-finals.
“(Hewitt is) a great mentor, if you are willing to do the work he is going to help you. It’s good to have him around,” Thompson said during the Australian Open controversy.
“He was courtside at my match, he saw me in my locker room after. He is very good to me. He’s been there a lot. And I appreciate it.”
Tennis.com writer Cody Fitzpatrick asked Hewitt about whether he’ll watch the Tomic match.
Tomic, after winning his first ATP match of the year earlier in the week against Slovak Lukas Lacko, pushed the tournament’s first seed John Isner but lost 7-6 6-4.
While it’s frosty with Tomic, Hewitt and Thompson have been hanging out in New York with Hewitt still not wanting to engage with the Tomic issue.
Thompson will face Isner in the quarterfinals.
Tomic said he’s desperate to return to the court and regain match fitness.
“Those matches in Kooyong kind of don’t count,” he said before the Isner match. “Obviously losing the (Australian Open) first round to (Marin) Cilic was a tough draw.”
“I need to start playing more. That’s my goal for the next month.”
With plenty of pressure on him, both placed there by himself and others, Tomic said it’s been tough not to be taken down by the pressure and criticism.
“There’s a lot of pressure in this sport and you learn how to deal with it,” Tomic said. “I had a lot of pressure when I was young and I’ve played solid and really well so far in my career, I haven’t won Slams and that but maybe it’s something I have a chance to do in the future. Eight to ten years into my career, I still feel really young.
“For me, it’s been a long journey but I’ve got to keep going doing what I do and hopefully one day it will pay off.”
But the renewed focus on the court comes after the 26-year-old dropped a series of accusations aimed at Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt took the tennis world by storm.
As the tournament continued to play out, the barbs continued to be traded between Tomic, Hewitt and even Nick Kyrgios.
The bitter feud all traces back to 2010 when, as Bernard’s father John put it, Hewitt tried to pressure him into revealing who at Tennis Australia was “against” him.
He said he felt “intimidated” and “harassed”
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley issued a statement saying the organisation was not aware of any incident or complaint of improper behaviour from 2010.
But that’s a statement John has refuted, stating he complained about the alleged bullying of his son at the time but was ignored.
The verbal grenades were lobbed between Tomic and Hewitt throughout the Australian Open with both dropping serious allegations against the other.
When Hewitt finally responded to Tomic’s explosive press conference, he alleged Tomic had threatened him physically and also threatened his family and has attempted to blackmail him since their relationship breakdown.
“I did message him, threatening, I said exact words I said was, ‘if you come one metre from me I will knock you out’,” Tomic said.
“And he knows that, ‘if you ever try talk to me, come one metre from me.’ I stand by that. But did I mention his family? That’s pretty low.
“I stand by my threats towards him, but not to his family, which has nothing to do with nothing.
“That’s so wrong. For him to say that, that’s really low. To go that low and make me look that bad, that’s really low.
“Now the fact that he’s said that; if he comes two metres from me.”