The dust has somewhat settled with Bernard Tomic. The Australian lost his match in the second round of the US Open, a match that he should have won and yet another opportunity went begging as has been said so often about 20 year old.
There is no doubt that Tomic has talent, he has it in bucket loads. The way he plays is entertaining and he can have a crowd eating off the strings of his racquet but all too often, in fact more often than not, Tomic leaves fans and observers scratching their heads wondering what the heck went wrong after yet another loss that should have been a win.
When he played British player Dan Evans at the Open, Tomic was up a set and a break but soon enough Evans was the one in the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time. Later that day Lleyton Hewitt played and won a gruelling five setter against Juan Martin Del Potro, coming back from two sets to one down.
In Australia, which is crying out for a young player to take over the mantle from Hewitt, the comparisons between the two players were flying thick and fast. On talk back radio Tomic came in for a verbal hammering. Many were saying he is a wasted talent and will never win a Grand Slam.
A sad indictment of Tomic especially when you compare that to a Tweet from one player during the Hewitt-Del Potro match that said Hewitt could have another six surgeries and be 40 years of age and even then he would never be counted out in a match. That cannot be said of Tomic.
Tomic’s media conference after that match was just as baffling. He said he was “afraid” and he was “tired” in the match. He is 20 years old. How can he be either of those? At that age everything should be bright and fascinating and he should be eager with every match he plays.
“I was afraid, just I don't know,” he said. “It was pretty bad after that, second and third set. Just wasn't going after my shots. Just felt afraid to go after the ball.
“I was actually a little bit tired, to be honest. My feet weren't moving. I wasn't really getting a lot of power and legs into my shots.”
I don’t think I have ever heard another player speak like that.
At the start of this year it was all looking so positive for Tomic, then the controversies of Madrid surfaced with his father allegedly assaulting his then practice partner and so much of the good work came undone. He went off the rails again with his results and it’s a struggle for him to get back on track.
Speaking of practice partners, his current one is supposedly English so Tomic was asked if he had been able to provide any info on Evans. This is the exchange from his press conference:
Q. He knew him pretty well, didn't he?BERNARD TOMIC: Not really. Well, sort of. I don't know. He knew of him. We didn't speak a lot before the match about him. I really got my info from other people. I watched a few tapes on the Kei match. He played really well. Nothing I could have done. I didn't play well.
Q. What is your Brit partner's name?BERNARD TOMIC: David. I don't know his surname.
He says he is still young. No he is not. He is 20, 21 in October and by now he should be showing maturity. In tennis 20 is not really young, it is this age bracket where you have to start showing some of your worth, start making in-roads at the bigger events, showing that you can challenge it with the best of them.
If Bernard does not knuckle down very soon, everything will have rushed by him in a blink of the eye. To use that cliché, “time waits for no man”.
There are so many similarities to Mark Philippoussis but at least he reached two Grand Slam finals, at the US Open and Wimbledon. Tomic has not even come close.
“I don't blame anything,” he said. “I think it was a solid year. There's a lot I could have done better, I think, but I wouldn't change anything. It's been an okay year. I'm still very young. This is where I can take that to my advantage. I've learnt a lot this year. It's my second probably big year on the tour.
“I can only get better, I think. I've got, like I said, six, seven, eight tournaments left. I can perform, try to do as best as I can, go for it. I'd really like to get back in the top 30 before the end of the year.”
All that has been heard before, it is nothing new and it is time Bernard puts it where we can all see it … on the scoreboard. If he doesn’t then not only will he have lost out but tennis will be poorer for it because he is great to watch when playing well.