Nick and Daria next to fly flag

... As de­feated Tomic un­leashes on He­witt

Herald Sun - - NEWS - AARON LANGMAID, PETER ROLFE AND LAU­REN WOOD [email protected]

NICK Kyr­gios and Daria “Dasha” Gavrilova will lead the lo­cal charge at the Open to­day, after day one served up a swag of Aussie vic­to­ries — which was later some­what over­shad­owed by a rant from bratty Bernard Tomic.

Tomic left the court with a sports­man-like hand­shake after his straight sets loss to Croa­t­ian Marin Cilic.

But in a later press con­fer­ence he un­leashed an almighty spray on Aus­tralian Davis Cup cap­tain Lley­ton He­witt, claim­ing the for­mer world No.1 had a “con­flict of in­ter­est” and was the root of is­sues with Aus­tralian play­ers.

“No one likes him any­more,” Tomic said.

“He’s just do­ing the wrong thing. He’s play­ing Davis Cup — I thought he was re­tired.

“He’s play­ing all these matches and stuff like this ... he used to hate Ten­nis Aus­tralia ... now he loves them. What’s hap­pened here?”

He added: “Go away... Like, lit­er­ally. If you’ve re­tired, why are you still in ten­nis?”

Mean­while, a more unas­sum­ing young star, Alex de Min­aur, earned a spot in the sec­ond round — the teen cruis­ing to a straight-sets win over Por­tu­gal’s Pe­dro Sousa.

Seeded 27th, de Min­aur was among a string of Aussies to forge through on day one in­clud­ing Ash­leigh Barty, Matt Eb­den, Jor­dan Thomp­son and wild­card Zoe Hives.

Speak­ing after the match Barty said she just wanted to en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I want to make sure I pre­pare well so I can come out here and en­joy and win a few matches for my­self and my team, and hope­fully ev­ery­body else sit­ting here,” she said.

A to­tal of 66,903 fans turned out take in the first day and night of ac­tion.

To­day, all eyes will be on Mel­bourne Arena as a feisty Kyr­gios faces big-serv­ing Cana­dian Mi­los Raonic.

Eleven-time grand slam event cham­pion Rod Laver urged Kyr­gios to shut out the white noise.

“He just has to con­cen­trate on the game while he’s out here, but some­times other things creep in,” Laver said.

Mel­bourne teen Des­ta­nee Ai­ava will be first on cen­tre court, with a tough game against US star Madi­son Keys.

Gavrilova faces Slove­nian Ta­mara Zi­dansek on Mar­garet Court Arena.

Else­where, Saman­tha Sto­sur, Ajla Toml­janovic, Thanasi Kokki­nakis, Alex Bolt and Alexei Popy­rin are hop­ing to give the home fans some­thing to cheer about.

Brit Har­riet Dart be­came the first player knocked out, smashed 6-0, 6-0 by shriek­ing 2008 Aus­tralian Open cham­pion Maria Shara­pova.

Speak­ing at the of­fi­cial launch of com­pe­ti­tion yes­ter­day, four-time Aus­tralian Open cham­pion Evonne Goolagong Caw­ley said Barty was a tes­ta­ment to the tal­ent com­ing through in Aus­tralia’s women’s ten­nis.

And Laver said it was play­ers like de Min­aur, ranked 29 in the world, who of­fered the great­est ex­am­ple of “great things” to come.

Mean­while, Rafael Nadal saved his big­gest serve for a mem­ber of the press pack.

After de­feat­ing Aus­tralian James Duck­worth 6-4 6-3 7-5 on Rod Laver Arena, Nadal no­ticed a jour­nal­ist had drifted off to sleep and promptly pointed him out.

“It’s not in­ter­est­ing to­day,” Nadal joked be­fore the re­porter was wo­ken by col­leagues. “You were clos­ing your eyes to be more fo­cused on what I am say­ing.”

Bernard Tomic trudges off court last night after his de­feat by Marin Cilic.

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