Re: The Everything Davis Cup Thread (News, Articles, Live Scores)
DAVIS Cup captain Pat Rafter has blasted another underperforming Australian tennis player while sparring Bernard Tomic the chop from his squad for next week's World Group playoff in Germany.
Tomic was named in the five-man team, but world No.63 Marinko Matosevic was dumped in another clear warning that Rafter will no longer tolerate sub-standard form or poor conduct.
Rafter ordered Tomic to "to pull his socks up" after branding the youngster's second-round US Open display against Andy Roddick as "disgraceful".
Tired of Tomic not putting in the hard yards, Rafter delivered the dual grand slam junior champion a Davis Cup ultimatum: shape up or ship out.
And after serving Tomic the riot act, Rafter followed up with the exiling of Matosevic until the Australian No.2 also lifts his game - and attitude.
"Marinko didn't deal with things too well in the last tie, so we'd prefer not to pick him for this one," Rafter told AAP.
"He just didn't handle the situation very well."
Apart from being unimpressed with the 27-year-old on court as he struggled to a three-set win over Korea's unranked Min-Hyeok Cho in Brisbane in April, Rafter is also understood to have clashed with Matosevic off court.
Matosevic was also dropped after losing to China's world No.206 Wing Du on debut in July last year.
As a result, he sat out Australia's Asia-Oceania qualifier against China in February and was believed to have been upset at Rafter for apparently recalling him for the April tie against Korea only when Hewitt was recovering from foot surgery.
The pair are then believed to have been involved in an angry exchange after Australia secured their World Group playoff against Germany with victory over the Koreans.
Rafter said Matosevic "just needs to reflect on how that tie unfolded and the situation he didn't deal with".
"And he's got to learn to be able to deal with those situations before he can play again in the team,'' he said.
Asked if he would get another chance, Rafter said: "I hope so. He's our No.2 player at the moment and he's potentially a very good player.
"He hasn't won a match in grand slams yet either, so he needs to learn to step up in the big matches."
From two sets up, Rafter rued Matosevic's inability to close out victory over world No.13 Marin Cilic in the first round of the US Open last week.
Rafter said the 71st-ranked Matt Ebden, who lost heavily in the second round to French 32nd seed Jeremy Chardy, was also still learning to compete with the game's elite.
"These (international) guys are world-class players and they're not there yet," Rafter said.
With world No.43 Tomic, Australia's only top-50 player, Rafter had no choice but to pick the 19-year-old alongside Hewitt, Ebden, rookie James Duckworth and doubles hopeful Chris Guccione to face Germany in Hamburg from September 14-16.
But the frustrated skipper is offering Tomic no guarantees and says even Duckworth "shouldn't be discounted" as a singles option alongside Hewitt.
"Ducky's just a good, hard-working kid with a great attitude," Rafter said. "I want him to be available to put himself out there to have a go."
Rusty - always # 1 in my heart