Rafter: Only Tomic can turn his career around

Australian tennis legend Pat Rafter says the troubled Bernard Tomic is solely responsible for reinvigorating his flat-lining career, reiterating that Tennis Australia has done all it can to help the one-time junior champion.

Tomic's career has been on a downward spiral over the past 12 months and hit a new low when he failed to qualify for the Australian Open. The 25-year-old hasn't been heard from since.

After his embarrassing defeat in the final stage of qualifying, he told reporters: "I just count money, that's all I do..."

Rafter and Tomic have had a publicly fractured relationship that came to a head when Rafter - then Davis Cup captain - famously dumped the Queenslander from the team in 2013.

Asked if there was a way back into the Davis Cup team, Rafter didn't rule it out but conceded it was a long way back for Tomic.

"I guess if you apply yourself there's a way back. He's got a lot of work to do, that's for sure," Rafter told Fairfax Media.

"I don't know ... Bernie needs to apply himself, it's as simple as that.

"You never want to see someone totally crash out at this stage. Bernie's had a really poor (2017), he's really struggled with himself mentally by the looks of things, and this year he hasn't started off real well either."

Tomic's relationship with Tennis Australia has been anything but smooth sailing and his dumping in 2013 was the beginning of a spate of problems, on and off the court.

He is still clearly yet to forgive Rafter, describing the former world No.1 as a "good actor" in an interview aired on Channel 7 last year.

But the straight shooting Rafter believes there still could be a way back for Tomic, as long as it's self-driven. "I had a lot to do with Bernie in the Davis Cup and we had our roller coasters, there's no doubt about that," he said.

"But I'm pretty quick to tell someone if they've stepped out of line, I'm also pretty quick to congratulate them if they've done a good job. He just needs to get in there and take things on again.

"To me, he needs to embrace what Tennis Australia are there to offer. Tennis Australia cannot give a guy more than what they've given him.

"Regardless of what he says, there's never been anyone more heavily funded than Bernie.

"You always hold hope. It's sort of like a kid, you always hope that they can turn things around."

Rafter spoke while conducting a tennis clinic for Emirates, where he was launching 200km/h serves at Collingwood stars Scott Pendlebury and Jeremy Howe, as well as their coach Nathan Buckley.

He was full of praise for a fellow big server Nick Kyrgios, who he believes has a game that's "not far away" from going deep into grand slams.

He believes that despite all of the external noise, Kyrgios shouldn't get a full-time coach until he finds the right one.

"It doesn't really matter until he's ready to take it on," Rafter said.

"It doesn't matter if we say he needs a coach, he has to buy into it, he has to want one.

"He's an enigma, he does everything against what you're supposed to do, that's always been Nick's way."

This story Rafter: Only Tomic can turn his career around first appeared on The Age.