January 30, 2018 / 4:35 AM / 24 days ago

Tomic unlikely to play for Australia again - Hewitt

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Controversial Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic is unlikely to play for his country again in the Davis Cup, captain Lleyton Hewitt has said.

Australia host Germany in the World Group first round of the team competition this weekend in Brisbane, with Tomic not included after a form slump has seen his ranking drop to 168th in the world. He had been as high as 17th two years ago.

“It’s highly doubtful,” Hewitt told reporters on Tuesday when asked if Tomic might return to the team at some point.

“For me, he’s made some mistakes and it’ll be a long way back. He’s digging a big hole for himself that he may never get out of.”

The 25-year-old Tomic failed to advance to the main draw of this month’s Australian Open after losing in the final round of qualifying. His comments after exiting the qualifying round brought even more criticism and scrutiny.

“I just count money, that’s all I do. I count my millions,” the former Wimbledon quarter-finalist said when asked what he was going to do after failing to reach the main draw at Melbourne Park. “You go do what I did (on court). Bye bye.”

Hewitt added that outburst had not helped.

“I don’t know (if he will play again). He still wanted to play the Australian Open and tried to qualify and good on him for that,” said Hewitt, who had previously been a staunch supporter of Tomic.

“But it is pointless if he is playing in quallies and you are not committed to the sport. He’s wasting not only his time but also everyone around him.”

Before leaving the country to film a reality television show in South Africa, Tomic had said the team could not win the Davis Cup without him, something Hewitt disputed.

”With the team camaraderie we have at the moment, it’s as good as I’ve been a part of for a long time,“ said Hewitt. ”We fully believe the players we have here can go a long way.

”Last year we were close to hosting France in a Davis Cup final and I back these boys to hopefully go one step further this year.

“I think everyone knows he wouldn’t help us right now. It’s pretty obvious.”

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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