Sydney: Bad boys Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic have matured and turned the corner, Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley says, after a season which will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Both players endured turbulent years with on and off court controversies, including brushes with officialdom and the law, overshadowing anything they did on court.
Despite being the nation’s top-ranked players, neither was considered as nominees for the prestigious Newcombe Medal — which rewards Australia’s “most outstanding elite tennis player and ambassador”.
But Tiley said Tennis Australia had mended its fences with the pair and he expected them to be on their best behaviour at their home Grand Slam, the Australian Open, next month.
“I’d love nothing more than both Bernie and Nick to have a great 2016, as we all would,” Tiley, who is also tournament director of the season’s first major at Melbourne Park, told Wednesday’s The Australian newspaper.
“There’s no rifts; no animosity between Tennis Australia and those two guys. They are making a real go of a professional tennis career.
“They know what our expectations are and when they meet them they get rewarded and if they don’t, they don’t.”
During the past year Tomic clashed with Tennis Australia and was suspended for a Davis Cup tie. He was also arrested over a raucous penthouse party in Miami, while outspoken Kyrgios’s sex slur at Stan Wawrinka in August sparked stinging criticism from fellow players.
Tiley said he has had conversations with both players.
“We’ve got a good relationship with both of them, no question,” he said.
“I spent time with Bernie in the UK when he played Davis Cup and in my view he is saying all the right things. They are both different people and they are both extremely talented.
“We’re fortunate in Australia to have them among a group of good male players. That’s great for us.”