3rd Sep 2012 12:13pm | By Jahn Vannisselroy
Frustrated captain Pat Rafter has issued Bernard Tomic (above) with an ultimatum to shape up or ship out of Australia's Davis Cup team.
While Lleyton Hewitt cut the besieged teenager some slack on Sunday, Rafter didn't, declaring Tomic's second-round US Open capitulation against Andy Roddick "disgraceful".
"I threw out the big D-word - disgraceful - to him yesterday. That's just the way it was. He's got to learn," Rafter told Fox Sports news in New York.
"There's no use sugar-coating something. He has to do the work and I'm sick and tired of tip-toeing around it, and I think everyone else is as well.
"He needs to realise. That's what he needs to do, and he says he does."
Tomic will be named on Tuesday in the team for Australia's World Group playoff in Germany from September 14-16, but is clearly on his last notice after previous warnings from Rafter.
"We've got two weeks now of Davis Cup coming up and that's hard work and hard training," Rafter said.
"So he has to pull his socks up if he wants to be part of this team, and train hard and work hard.
"It's about hard work now. It's about trying your hardest on the court and if those goals are not met, then you won't be part of this team."
Hewitt earlier on Sunday suggested critics should give Tomic the benefit of the doubt before accusing him of not trying.
Tomic has been under extreme heat since tennis great John McEnroe said the 19-year-old seemed to give up during his 6-3 6-4 6-0 loss to Roddick at the Open last Friday night.
But Hewitt agreed with Tomic that sometimes the youngster's unusual style created the impression he's not always giving 100 per cent effort on court.
The tour veteran recalled Tomic's comeback win from two sets down against Fernando Verdasco at the Australian Open, when the 19-year-old was claimed to have been foxing, as an example.
"He's a unique player," Hewitt said after his own US Open campaign came to an end in a four-set third-round loss to David Ferrer.
"His ball-striking is unique. Some of his shot selection is unique.
"There has been matches, probably more so at the Aussie Open, that he's been able to turn matches around because of that.
"The Verdasco match, for example, looked like he was struggling there for a while and he was able to turn that around.
"And even against Dolgopolov in the Aussie Open as well. That's him and his personality a little bit as well."
Hewitt admitted he didn't see the Roddick rout, saying he was "stuck in New York traffic" during the 87-minute encounter.
"I have heard and seen some of the stuff about it. Obviously I would have thought it would have gone a little bit better against Andy," he said.
But the former world No.1 said he'd formed a bond with his one-time sparring partner and was always happy to lend an ear to Tomic.
"I've got along well with Bernie for the last couple of years now," Hewitt said.
"We have practiced quite a bit together.
"We were the only two guys in the Olympics on the men's side, so we spent a lot of time together there as well.
"In terms of all that, I think he does listen to me quite a bit.
"So that's what I'm there for."