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By Akshay Kohli
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Former World No.1 Lleyton Hewitt and his coach Tony Roche are among mentors Tomic can call on in the Australian camp ahead of their tie against minnows South Korea starting in Brisbane after captain Patrick Rafter made it clear family weren't welcome. Tomic backed Rafter's call, saying it was important for team bonding.
“It's a team thing. Parents shouldn't be involved or coaches,” Tomic said. “You are here for the team and want to get them across the line. Friends and family should stay behind.” Tomic earlier admitted his relationship with his dad could sometimes be "a bit tricky" but said he was mystified why the Miami incident made headlines. Tomic is not short of seniors in the Australian team.
Former world No.1 Hewitt, recovering from foot surgery, has taken Tomic under his wing while Rafter and Roche also offer plenty of wisdom. “He is settling in. He's certainly a different cat,” Rafter spoke about Tomic. The boys have been great with him. We are just starting to get each other's personalities. We don't all have to like each other but we all respect each other. Of his decision to ban family, Rafter said: I don't want any other coaches running around. I don't want parents there either. That's the way I want it. That's the way it is. I have already made those rules pretty clear. What I like about it is that the kids are exposed to Rochey. He's tough on them, and that's exactly what these guys need. There are no short cuts in the game of tennis.”
Tomic looked forward to stepping up in Hewitt's shoes against a weak South Korean line-up missing top players reportedly due to a fallout with their national federation. “It's a responsibility. Looking up to Lleyton, I have learned so much,” Tomic said. “What a great team member he is. He still delivers off the court even though he is not playing. To have him here is huge for me. I strive to be like Lleyton. We all do.”
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