Rafter blasts Tomic for disgraceful US Open showing
Pat Rafter, Australia’s Davis Cup captain and a career-long gentleman of international tennis, has ripped into Bernard Tomic after his abysmal performance against Andy Roddick at the US Open.
“I threw out the big D word – disgraceful – to him yesterday, that’s the way it was. He’s got to learn there’s no use sugar-coating something, he has to do the hard work.
“I’m sick and tired of tip-toeing around it, and I think everyone else is as well.
“He needs to realise what he has to do, and pull his socks up if he wants to be part of this (Davis Cup) team”.
Rafter’s timely blast followed American tennis legend John McEnroe’s accusation that Tomic ‘tanked’ it against Roddick, the lowest finger-point any tennis player can be accused of.
If Tomic has any brains, or any sense of survival – both of which are questionable – he had better listen quick-smart, or face the direst of consequences by being black-balled by his peers.
That would make the dressing shed on tour intolerable, and he has no-one to blame but himself.
Comparisons have rightfully been made with Mark Philippoussis, the last under-achieving Australian loose-cannon on the court. Both of them high in talent, but low in dedication.
In Philippoussis’s defence, he made two Slam finals, beaten by Rafter at the 1998 US Open in four, and by Roger Federer in the 2003 Wimbledon final in straight sets.
But unless there’s a dramatic change in attitude and work-rate, Tomic won’t go anywhere near matching those two Philippoussis career highlights.
Nor match Philippoussis beating world number one Peter Sampras in the third round of the 1996 Australian Open when he was 19, the same age as Tomic now.
Or the two fabulous Davis Cup final victories – 1999 against France’s Cedric Pioline in Nice (6-3 5-7 6-1 6-2) to clinch the Cup, and again in 2003 against Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero in Melbourne (7-5 6-3 1-6 2-6 6-0) in one of the great comebacks, despite a painful pectoral tear which cost him the third and fourth sets.
Next week in Hamburg, the Australian Davis Cup team will try to regain its place in the elite World Group for the first time in five years.
Rafter has no option but to select Tomic as the number two singles player to Lleyton Hewitt against Germany. There’s nobody else. The trouble is, Tomic knows it.
So Hamburg will decide if Tomic has a future, or if he’s just a waste of space.
Letting himself down against Roddick was his own problem. Letting Australia down in a vital Davis Cup tie unforgiveable.
It’s entirely up to Bernard Tomic.
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