Lleyton Hewitt has had a horror start to his stint as Australia's Davis Cup captain, with the team seemingly split and also in danger of dropping out of the world group.
Needing to win the first of the reverse singles yesterday after Hewitt and John Peers lost the doubles on Saturday to give the USA a 2-1 lead in the tie, it was all over for the home side after Bernard Tomic was beaten 6-4 6-4 5-7 7-6 by world No.11 John Isner.
Clearly frustrated by a wrist injury, Tomic blew up late in the match, picked up by a courtside microphone accusing teammate Nick Kyrgios, who pulled out of the clash on Thursday with a virus, of faking his illness.
"Nick's sitting down in Canberra. Bulls**t he's sick," Tomic was heard muttering to Hewitt. "Two times Nick's done it."
Asked about that comment after the match, Tomic said Kyrgios had also pulled out of Australia's Davis Cup tie against the Czech Republic in February last year, only to play in a tournament at Indian Wells in the US the following week.
"He didn't come to Czech (last year) and had stress fractures, and somehow played Indian Wells and felt good," Tomic said at the post-match press conference.
Australia's No.1 player also said Kyrgios had told him he planned to play at the same Indian Wells event this week.
"Now it's going to be funny for me to see whether he plays," Tomic said.
"If he plays Indian Wells, then he's definitely lost a little bit of my respect."
Tomic's comments were no doubt prompted by the fact he battled injury to play, saying afterwards he only did that because it was the Davis Cup.
"In a situation where it wasn't Davis Cup, I would have pulled out and not played with the pain I was playing with," he said.
Having to play the role of peacemaker, Hewitt said he had no doubt Kyrgios had been ill in the lead-up to the event.
"Nick came down here and gave everything he had to try to be available - there's no doubt he was sick," the captain said.
The loss means Australia will need to win a play-off match in September to stay in the world group next year.
The USA became the third team to move into the quarter-finals, joining France and Italy who progressed after whitewashing Canada and Switzerland respectively.
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