Fellow Oz player’s father accuses Hewitt of being racially prejudiced

Sunday, January 3, 2010

MELBOURNE - Former world number one tennis player Lleyton Hewitt, who is on a comeback trail, has been accused by the father of a fellow Australian player of being racially prejudiced against the youngster.

Bernard Tomic and his father believe Hewitt is prejudiced against them because of their Croatian background.

Tomic’s father, John, fears cultural differences are at the heart of tensions between Hewitt and his son’s camp.

Hewitt delivered a stinging critique of Tomic by declaring that the teenager was unworthy of a Davis Cup berth and should not be chosen ahead of veteran baseliner Peter Luczak, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Hewitt’s criticism of the youngster comes after reports surfaced that Tomic refused to hit with Hewitt at Wimbledon, a claim the 17-year-old has vehemently denied.

While the Tomic camp insists there is no bad blood, John says criticism of his son could be fuelled by a lack of acceptance of their Croatian heritage.

“I think Lleyton has drunk too much wine over Christmas. To us, he’s an icon, but it’s up to him what he says, we can’t change his mind. He can talk, that means everyone can see he has a problem, not us,” John Tomic said.

“I will say this … Bernard is not a pure Australian. We feel like Aussies but it is up to them, will they accept us? That is up to them. Probably there is something there. If we were Aussies, there might be different talk, a different attitude,” he said.

Bernard Tomic said he had no personal issue with Hewitt and would happily meet to clear the air. He reiterated his stance that he did not hit with Hewitt at Wimbledon because he was suffering from swine flu.

Asked if he wanted to play Davis Cup this year, Tomic said: “Of course, … this is a whole new year, I think the Davis Cup is great, I haven’t played it and I would love to.” (ANI)

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