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Rafter praised for Tomic tough love
13:10 AEST Wed Jan 16 2013

Bernard Tomic will ultimately benefit from Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter's tough love stance, top coach Darren Cahill, calling it a necessary cultural change for Australian tennis.

Australian Cahill, who coached former world number ones Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi, said Rafter needed to be supported in the way he's handled the country's enfant terrible.

"There has to be a bit of a culture change in Australian tennis," Cahill told Melbourne's Herald Sun during the Australian Open.

"Tennis Australia's been so good in providing so much for all the players, it becomes this sort of a hand-out attitude and Pat's trying to toughen that up."

Last month Rafter suspended Tomic, 20, from February's opening Asia/Oceania tie against Taiwan for his unprofessionalism.

"Pat needs full support on that because he's making good changes," Cahill said. "You see the way that Bernard's reacted with Pat as well and we're seeing some of the best tennis we've seen from him thus far."

Tomic last year created more headlines off the court than on it with run-ins with police over incidents in his high-powered sports car on Australian's Gold Coast.

But the talented youngster, who is unbeaten so far this year and is on course to face 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the Australian Open's third round, said he has matured into a better person.

"Yeah, absolutely. I think off the court and on the court I have changed so much, and it's just helping me play better tennis and focus," Tomic said after his first round win over Argentina's Leonardo Mayer at the Australian Open.

"Because sport is all about focus and who can keep the most focus. You have to play, but I have changed so much, and it's made me become a better person on and off the court.

"If you do put in the hard work and if you do do the right things, you improve. You've got to try and compete as best as you can and you've got to work hard and I've only learnt that last year."