MELBOURNE • The public dispute between Australia's top two men's tennis players has continued with Nick Kyrgios hitting back at Davis Cup team-mate Bernard Tomic's claims that he faked illness to miss last weekend's tie against the United States.
Kyrgios pulled out of the tie at Kooyong with a virus, although Tomic was later picked up by court microphones complaining to team captain Lleyton Hewitt and questioning the legitimacy of his compatriot's illness.
Tomic repeated his stance in the post-match press conference, suggesting Kyrgios had twice previously faked injuries to get out of Davis Cup duties.
Kyrgios also missed Australia's first-round tie against the Czech Republic last year with a back injury but returned to the court at Indian Wells two weeks later.
Kyrgios took to social media on Sunday night, fanning the flames of the dispute by referencing the unenviable record Tomic holds for the quickest defeat on the men's tour - a 28-minute 6-0, 6-1 defeat by Jarkko Nieminen in Miami two years ago.
"Let's not forget who holds the quickest loss on the ATP Tour lol. #howmanyminutesagain," he posted.
That tweet was soon deleted but Kyrgios followed it with: "Heat of the moment, not gonna take it personally. Indian Wells a week away, plenty of time. Just don't expect me to have your back anytime soon."
Wally Masur, Hewitt's predecessor as Australia captain, sought to play down the row, saying the pair will soon forget the exchange - as early as this week's tournament in Indian Wells.
"What's happened has happened and, for me, the best thing is that they both play Indian Wells in five days' time," Masur told Fox Sports News.
"That they just meet up in the locker room... shake hands and just get on with it.
"We don't play another Davis Cup tie until September so there will be a lot of water under the bridge from now until then."
Tomic, who played with a wrist injury during the defeat to the US, had suggested that Kyrgios was not really suffering from a virus.
"Bulls**t he's sick," Tomic said on court during his loss to John Isner, a result which gave the US an unassailable lead in the tie, before later saying he would lose respect for his compatriot if he were to play at Indian Wells.
Kyrgios' claims of illness were backed by the Australian Davis Cup team, though, with Hewitt and Masur both vouching for the world No. 27.
Hewitt was adamant that "there is absolutely no doubt he was sick", while Masur said: "I didn't see him but the word was that he had a virus and his actual mouth was ulcerated and the guy was pretty fatigued."
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS