LONDON – Bernard Tomic will make himself available for Davis Cup for Australia in their upcoming quarterfinal tie against Kazakhstan but in confirming his decision, he made it clear he is doing it out of respect for his teammates and love of his country, not for his federation. On Friday at Wimbledon, Tomic criticzed Tennis Australia and its CEO Craig Tiley for their lack of support for his career.
"I'm going to go down there because I believe we can win," Tomic said. "I believe we can get into that semifinal spot, potentially have a chance of making the final of Davis Cup. I love Davis Cup. I respect it from my heart. My record is 14 and 2 or 15 and 2. Probably [one of the] top two or three records the last three or four few years. I enjoy Davis Cup. I enjoy it so much."
Earlier in the tournament, Tomic set aside questions about his relationship with his home federation in order to keep his focus at Wimbledon. But after losing in straight sets to Novak Djokovic in the third round on Friday, Tomic confirmed his intention of playing Davis Cup and then let loose on Australian tennis' governing body.
"Why [do] I have to play Davis Cup for these people and administration down there, Tiley and these guys," Tomic said. "Ever since he came in, he knows how he got in. In a sneaky way he got his position and only he knows himself how he got this position. Everything started changing and stuff."
Prior to Wimbledon, reports out of Australia said that Tomic had chosen to boycott Davis Cup due to a dispute between Tennis Australia and his father John. The Tomics were not pleased that Tennis Australia refused any funding for Sara Tomic, Bernard's younger sister.
"If he doesn't want to play, he doesn't want to play," Rafter said in an interview prior to Wimbledon. "Bernie's played ever since I was captain, so he's into his fifth year. There's been issues along the way; I kicked him out of one tie."
SI.com reached out to Tennis Australia on Friday about a response to Tomic's comments after the match, but at the time of publication, Tennis Australia had not yet released a statement.
"People think I'm at war with Pat Rafter," Tomic said in his post-match interview on Friday. "It's not true. 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."
Tomic saved his ire for Tiley, who also serves as tournament director of the Australian Open. "He's the reason the last few years, it's been up and down for me," Tomic said. "There has been [a] lack of support towards me. There has been no respect I think towards me. It's been difficult. Been [a] good player the last three, four years coming up, and people expecting a lot from you. All of a sudden, things started changing after I had that surgery."
Tomic had double-hip surgery last January after retiring from the Australian Open and he did not return to the tour until March. He said no one from Tennis Australia called him after his surgery to check up on him or offer any support.
Tomic doesn't understand why his relationship with Tennis Australia had gone so cold. "Don't get me wrong. From what Pat said, a lot of money was invested in me, for sure," Tomic said. "But whatever they invested in me, they got in return 10, 20 times more. That's 100% certain. Now all of a sudden, they are neglecting me, for some reason. They are not supporting me, not respecting me."
While the details of the financial dispute between Tomic and Tennis Australia are not clear, Tomic said he was forced to pay for court time and balls when he tried to practice in Brisbane at the start of the year.
"It's not about the money," Tomic said. "It's about the respect. Meanwhile, we are buying these players overseas, doing this, doing that, buying players instead of supporting us, junior players, giving them something, or stuff like me, I have to pay for a court? In Australia, how is that possible?"
Tomic reversed his position on Davis Cup after Nick Kyrgios told him he would not play the tie if Tomic did not play the tie. "I will play," Tomic said, though the final decision regarding team selection will be made by Davis Cup captain Wally Masur. That Tomic has made himself available does not necessarily mean Tennis Australia will nominate him for the team. "I will go down. I have the respect for Lleyton [Hewitt]. The respect for the legends, Tony Roche, [Rod] Laver. Not for Tiley, not for these guys. I don't think what they are doing, it's not good at all."