Hewitt in Tomic's corner
Lleyton Hewitt has backed fellow Australian Bernard Tomic to recover from an underwhelming 12 months on and off the court.
Tomic, who enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2011, has come under fire following a season of poor form, allegations of tanking and a series of altercations with police.
The 20-year-old's world ranking dropped from a high of 27 to 51, while he was accused by John McEnroe of not trying in his second-round loss to home favourite Andy Roddick at the US Open.
Tomic was cleared of any wrongdoing at Flushing Meadows, but generated further headlines on the Gold Coast, where he was found guilty of failing to stop for police and three lesser driving charges.
'He's had an average year on and off the court,' Hewitt said.
'It's been tough for him mentally more than anything. He probably was a little bit burnt out by the end.
'It doesn't surprise me that he didn't jump into the top 10 this year because sometimes that second year is tougher than your first year.
'He's got to get back out there and do the hard yards and work on small areas in his game to become a better player.'
Hewitt, who has acted as a mentor in recent months, said he was unsure whether Tomic should bow to pressure and part ways with his father and coach John.
'Obviously his dad has done so much for him and he probably trusts his dad more than anyone else out there,' he added.
'It's what's better for him. He's got myself, (Tony) Roche, Pat (Rafter), Josh Eagle - plenty of guys to talk to who are around and probably know him as well as anyone at the moment.
'There are small areas of his game that he's got to work on. I'm not going to go into them here, but I've spoken about small things with him.
'I hung out with him a lot, especially at the Olympics and the Davis Cup ties and he knows a couple of areas of his game that I think that he can work on and improve.
'I think I can definitely help him in certain areas of his game to try and get back up there and take the next step.'