Tennis: Rafter quits, cuts ties with Aussie duo

File photo of Bernard Tomic (left) of Australia talking with coach Pat Rafter during his men's singles Davis Cup tennis match against Cho Min Hyeok of South Korea in Brisbane.
File photo of Bernard Tomic (left) of Australia talking with coach Pat Rafter during his men's singles Davis Cup tennis match against Cho Min Hyeok of South Korea in Brisbane. PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY • Pat Rafter stepped down as Tennis Australia's (TA) head of performance yesterday, ending his rocky relationship with the country's two polarising stars, Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic.

After two years in the role, Rafter has been replaced by his deputy and former Davis Cup captain and coach Wally Masur. Masur will have the task of bringing the Tomic family back into the fold after relations soured under Rafter.

Tomic made himself unavailable for a Davis Cup tie this month against the Czech Republic, citing scheduling issues.

Reports said Tomic's father John has a bitter ongoing feud over his son's and daughter Sara's funding from TA.

Last month at the Australian Open, Rafter admitted he had little input in the direction of the country's top two players.

Rafter stepped down as Davis Cup captain in early 2015 following a turbulent time dealing with Tomic, while Kyrgios once tweeted: "Another negative comment out of Rafters mouth. Does this guy ever stop?"

Two-time Grand Slam singles champion Rafter said recently that he preferred to leave Tomic and Kyrgios alone.

"I haven't really been speaking to them very much and I don't really know where they're at," said the former world No. 1.

"I just sit back and watch from a distance. I don't really have a lot to offer them. If they ever want to talk to me, I'm happy to talk."

World No. 15 Kyrgios and world No. 32 Tomic have frequently fallen foul of tennis authorities and have a love-hate relationship with the public.

Masur said he is in regular contact with John Tomic and confirmed that Sara Tomic had been offered funding under a restructuring by TA late last year.

"They've got to hit certain benchmarks to get X amount of funding but I feel like that's a positive because we're not saying, it's our way or the highway," Masur said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2017, with the headline 'Rafter quits, cuts ties with Aussie duo'. Print Edition | Subscribe