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The Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios catfight takes tennis to new depths

Andrew Webster

"At the end of the day, they're both adults and we need them to shake hands and move on."

Tomic delivers Davis Cup slam to Kyrgios

Bernard Tomic has lashed out at Davis Cup teammate Nick Kygios, saying he was faking his illness.

Former Australian Davis Cup captain Wally Masur said this on Fox Sports on Monday morning. With a straight face. No. Really. He did.

He was talking about this catfight between Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios, two players who represent our fine country in tennis. No. Really. They do.

An embarrassment: Bernard Tomic on his way to losing his Davis Cup singles match against American John Isner.
An embarrassment: Bernard Tomic on his way to losing his Davis Cup singles match against American John Isner.  Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

First, Wally, shaking hands and moving on isn't how these cats roll. They take pot shots in media conferences, and then return fire on Twitter.

Second, they are not adults. The older they get the less mature and dignified they become.

A quick recap on the catfight for those who might have missed it …

On Sunday, Tomic was doing his best against John Isner while representing Australia in the Davis Cup tie against the United States.

During a break in play, courtside microphones captured him having a whinge to captain Lleyton Hewitt about Kyrgios, who had been ruled out of the tie because of a virus.

Let's make that point clear because it's sort of important: he was ruled out by medical staff. He didn't rule himself out.

"Nick's sitting down in Canberra. Bullshit he's sick," Tomic said to Hewitt.

Why Tomic would express these concerns to the captain in the middle of a critical Davis Cup rubber, with courtside mikes and cameras everywhere, is anyone's guess.

What it does explain is how mentally delicate Tomic must be. I'm losing to John Isner. How about I throw my toys out of the cot right now, about another player, for everyone to see here and watching at home?

He lost in four sets. Australia lost the tie.

Later, in the media conference, Tomic refused to take his foot off Kyrgios' throat.

"If he plays Indian Wells, then he's definitely lost a little bit of my respect," he said in reference to his belief that Kyrgios would make a miracle recovery and resume playing on the ATP circuit within a week.

Lose the respect of Bernard Tomic? Oh no.

Sitting at home in Canberra, Kyrgios decided to take the moral high ground, responding in the gracious manner that has been the hallmark of his career …

On Twitter.

"Heat of the moment, not gonna take it personally. Indian wells a week away, plenty of time," he tweeted.

But 140 characters is never enough, so he went again.

"Just don't expect me to have your back anytime soon."

Nick Kyrgios doesn't have your back? Oh no.

Poor old Lleyton Hewitt must be wondering what he's got himself into by taking on the Davis Cup captaincy at a time when Australia's two leading players are also its most petulant. Herding cats would be easier.

This is getting embarrassing. They are embarrassing. Tomic and Kyrgios have both been self-indulgent brats from day one. And while the circus that follows each of them is amusing for most of us, when they take each other to task while representing their country, it crosses the line.

Any chance of just shutting up and playing some tennis? Any chance of realising you are representing your country?

The last time your humble correspondent wrote something about Kyrgios, I said criticising him was like shooting fish in a barrel. The column came on the eve of the Australian Open.

The thing about Wild Thing is that he's consistent. If only the slow horsies I keep backing each Saturday were as easy to predict.

He bitched and moaned his way through the tournament and by the time he played his last match – a four-set loss to Tomas Berdych – the home crowd was booing him.

Tomic, on the other hand, takes his delusion to another level.

He's accused Kyrgios of "faking" sickness to not represent his country, but somehow forgets about a few questionable withdrawals of his own.

For instance, earlier this year he withdrew from the Sydney International during a quarter-final match, citing issues with food poisoning and also Sydney's traffic. (Welcome to the jungle, Bernie).

A few years ago, he was accused of tanking at the US Open, prompting then Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter to call his attitude "disgraceful".

In late 2012, Rafter suspended Tomic from playing in the Davis Cup tie in Taiwan because of a fallout with Tennis Australia over his behaviour on and off the court. In July last year, he was dumped from the team for publicly taking down Rafter and TA boss Craig Tiley.

Years before that, Tomic's notorious father, John, would threaten Tennis Australia officials with the idea of Bernard playing for Croatia instead of Australia if he didn't get his way. In other words, funding.

So excuse me if I don't suddenly feel overwhelmed by Tomic's sense of national pride and dismay that Kyrgios hasn't dragged himself off his deathbed, or the toilet, or the lounge, to pull on the green and gold.

The circus surrounding this pair was quite entertaining for a while. But now we can only cringe as they slowly climb the ATP rankings but continue a rapid descent to the bottom in terms of their credibility.

Meow.

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