Bernard Tomic plays down spat with father

LAINE CLARK
Last updated 17:59 03/04/2012

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A bemused Bernard Tomic has backed his father as his coach, saying it was a "complete load of crap" that their bizarre on-court spat made headlines.

The teenager appeared to have a public falling out with his dad John at the recent Miami Masters where he asked the chair umpire to have his father removed from courtside seating because he was "annoying" him.

But world No.36 Tomic seemed surprised the incident had been reported as he prepared to spearhead Australia's Davis Cup clash with South Korea starting in Brisbane on Friday.

"I don't know how it makes news. It's a complete load of crap how that makes news," he said in Brisbane on Tuesday.

"There's a lot of stuff that can happen. But it's stuff that you experience in life and you learn from these things - it's a good learning curve."

Asked if he would react differently next time, Tomic said: "Absolutely.

"That was a small problem. It's all fixed.

"My dad is the right guy to coach me - he's always been.

"We have always got along. Father-son relationships are always a bit tricky but there's no doubt my dad will be there for me.

"I have gotten to where I am because of him."

Tomic, 19, dismissed concerns about his "head space" as he prepared to lead Australia for the first time in the absence of the injured Lleyton Hewitt (foot) despite boasting just four Davis Cup ties.

The burden of carrying his country has been eased somewhat by the presence of former world No.1 Hewitt as a courtside mentor at the Brisbane tie.

"He's still the leader," Tomic said of Hewitt.

"He's a champion. We love Rusty (Hewitt). It is a shame he can't play but we are ready to go.

"He has been supporting - hopefully he will be right for our next tie if we win here.

"It's a different feeling (spearheading Australia) but, no matter what, I am going to try my best."

Australian captain Patrick Rafter said Hewitt's presence also made his life easier.

"I lean on him a little bit. To have his influence is tremendous," he said.

A singles spot is open for Australia after Hewitt underwent toe surgery, ensuring he will be out of action until the lead-up to Wimbledon in June.

Rafter hinted that world No.75 Matthew Ebden would partner Tomic in the opening singles but kept the door ajar for No.121 Marinko Matosevic donning the green and gold during the tie.

World No.18 Australia is expected to sweep No.31 South Korea in Brisbane as they work towards breaking back into the elite World Group for the first time since 2007.

"They are the underdogs. These boys are playing great tennis. It's probably fair that they (South Korea) are talking themselves down," Rafter said.

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"I am hoping for a clean sweep but we have to make sure we don't get complacent."

- AAP

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