Veteran Lleyton Hewitt insists the backlash from Bernard Tomic’s run-in with staff at a Gold Coast tennis club won’t derail the 23-year-old’s n Open preparations.
Tomic appears to be enjoying the best start to a season of his career after reaching the semi final of the Brisbane International last week.
However revelations he clashed with staff at Gold Coast RACV Royal Pines over a $20 court hire fee leading into the Brisbane International have once again placed the much-maligned Queenslander in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
Tomic, who is the No.1 seed at this week’s Sydney International, has since apologised for the incident.
His close friend Hewitt has come out in support of Tomic, describing it as a misunderstanding.
“I think it was a misunderstanding more than anything,” Hewitt said.
“Bernie had a great week in Brisbane. To beat a quality top 10 player in his first week, that was a great start to the year for Bernie.
“I expect him to play well in the Aussie. He plays well in Sydney. He’s won this title before. Nick and Bernie have got off to a great start and I think they are going to have a lot of crowd support down in Melbourne.”
Nick Kyrgios was unaware of the incident when asked by journalists in Sydney on Monday afternoon, but was quick to point out that the pair had managed to avoid the negative headlines in recent months.
“I actually don’t even know what’s happened,” Kyrgios said when asked of Tomic’s latest drama.
“I don’t think there’s been any of that (negative headlines) the last couple of months.”
Tomic also described the incident as a misunderstanding, apologising to club members.
“I’ve been so focused on preparing for all my matches, I know there’s no excuse for my behaviour,” Tomic told News Corp .
“I didn’t mean to cause any trouble and I apologise to the club members. There seems to have been a bit of a misunderstanding and my practice was interrupted and I got a bit frustrated.”
While Kyrgios and Tomic both head to Melbourne Park with plenty of expectation, there is plenty of emotion around Hewitt’s final fling at his home grand slam.
“He’s always been a guy that I watched,” Kyrgios said of Hewitt.
“It happened pretty quick for me. From watching him on TV to standing next to him in Davis Cup. Now seeing him play his last couple of tournaments, I think it’s pretty sad for the sport.
“He’s given so much and I thought the crowd in Perth got to see what he is really good at – and that’s competing for every point. I like calling him a friend now. He’s helped me out a lot and hopefully he can keep doing that as well.”