A bitter rift between Lleyton Hewitt and Nick Kyrgios has cast an ominous shadow over the Australian Open, with our stars being forced to choose sides as their public feud reaches boiling point.
The hostile pair are not the only tennis champions at war – rebel Bernard Tomic has heightened tensions, taunting the former world number one "to come one metre from me if he is a man".
Lleyton was quick to respond, denying any rift and also chortling at the smackdown. "It's Bernie being Bernie," he said, before adding. "For me I just laugh it off and move forward and obviously working with so many of the guys... I'm excited."
While tensions have long simmered between Lleyton, 37, and his 23-year-old one-time protege Nick, Woman's Day understands that Lleyton's wife Bec is firmly at the centre of their falling out.
"Bec has always hated Nick. He's been an arrogant little upstart ever since Lleyton took him under his wing as a teenager," tells our source.
"She hoped that as Nick grew up, he'd lose the attitude. But if anything, he got worse – and he was making her husband's life miserable."
Word among the tennis fraternity is that Bec put her foot down on Lleyton spending too much time with "bad boy" Nick for the sake of their young son Cruz, who is a prodigy on the court at the age of just 10.
"Bec doesn't want her son growing up thinking throwing rackets and chucking tantrums like Nick does is OK," says our source. "She told Lleyton of her fears, and he agreed."
While Lleyton is still Australia's Davis Cup captain, the green and gold's more outspoken young hopefuls are accusing him of favouritism towards rising stars Alex De Minaur and John Millman, and leaving Nick – who once described the Davis Cup squad as "like brothers"– Bernard and Thanasi Kokkinakis out in the cold.
In a now-deleted tweet making headlines two weeks ago, Nick accused father-of-three Lleyton of "abandoning us". He recently stopped following Lleyton on social media, too.
Later he made light of his comment saying, "It was a bit of a joke... That's what Twitter is for, a bit of banter."
Bernard, 26, stoked the fire last week by saying he, Nick – who peaked at world number 13 in 2016, but has since plummeted to 52 – and Thanasi, 22, would not play for the national side as long as Lleyton is coach and sometimes doubles player.
"I have got to say honestly no one likes him anymore, he is doing the wrong thing, he is playing Davis Cup – I thought he was retired, he is playing all these matches," Bernard said at a press conference.
"From what I hear in the last year... he doesn't put the players first. Kokkinakis, Kyrgios, we don't want to play anymore because he has ruined the system. Go away."
His comments were followed by reports Bernard's sister Sara is at the centre of their rift, after an argument about funding for her.
WATCH: Bernard Tomic's post-match tirade against Lleyton Hewitt. Post continues...
According to those close to the Hewitts, Lleyton is taking the scathing comments on the chin and focusing on helping the players who are receptive towards his coaching, but Bec is seething.
"She is taking Nick and Bernie's comments so personally. These kids were welcomed into her family like sons before they started acting up like this," reveals our source.
"Cruz looked up to Nick especially, and to have him throw all of that back in her husband's face is unforgivable."