KOOYONG -- Bernard Tomic has taken a public swipe at Australia Davis Cup teammate Nick Kyrgios, saying he'd lost respect for the world No. 27 after his withdrawal before the World Group tie against the U.S in Melbourne.
Tomic struggled with a wrist injury during his hard-fought four-set loss to John Isner on Sunday, which allowed the visitors to progress to the quarterfinals with a 3-1 victory.
The home team was weakened by the withdrawal of Kyrgios with a virus, with captain Lleyton Hewitt coming out of his brief retirement to replace the Canberran. But Tomic suggested during and after his match against Isner that he wasn't convinced about Kyrgios' illness.
In a changeover late in the second set against the towering American, Tomic was heard by courtside microphones questioning his compatriot.
"Nick's sitting down in Canberra. Bulls--- he's sick," Tomic was heard muttering to Hewitt, before adding: "Two times he done it, two times he faked it", referring to Kyrgios' late withdrawal from last year's win over the Czech Republic.
When questioned about the remark post-match, Tomic said he was disappointed by his team-mate's absence.
"[The courtside comment] was in the heat of the moment," Tomic said.
"Obviously I would have loved for him to be here but he's sick, like he says he is, and for me it will be interesting to see if he plays [the next ATP tour event in] Indian Wells.
"If he plays in Indian Wells, he's definitely lost a little bit of my respect."
Later in his press conference, Tomic added: "[Kyrgios] told me he was going to play Indian Wells. So, I have [lost respect for him] a little bit.
"I asked him 'are you going to play Indian Wells' and he said 'yeah, I'm still sick, but I'm going to be better tomorrow'."
Tomic, the world No. 20, said his wrist injury would have prevented him from competing had he not been playing Davis Cup for Australia.
"I came here with problems with my wrist, I was in a lot of pain today," he said. "If it wasn't Davis Cup, I would've pulled out ... but I pushed through."
First-time captain Hewitt was diplomatic about Kyrgios' absence, saying the enigmatic 20-year-old had been ruled out by the Australian team's medical staff.
"We ruled Nick out," Hewitt said.
"He came down here, he gave everything he could to try and put his hand up to be available, [but] there's no doubt he's sick.
"We did a fitness test with him on Thursday morning ... and he was ruled out by the medical staff."
Hewitt, Australia's most successful Davis Cup player, said he had no issues with Kyrgios' absence or Tomic's on-court comments.
"In the heat of the moment, frustrations [can boil over]. Obviously Bernie wasn't 100 percent and ... he gave absolutely 100 percent in his matches here and did everything I asked him to," he said.
"For me, I asked Nick to come down here and prepare and give it a shot ... but he got ruled out by the medical staff. For me both boys did exactly what I asked them to."