News Limited sports journalist, Mark Stevens, titled his story on Andre Agassi’s 2003 Australian Open victory, ‘From Punk to Prince’.
Could Bernard Tomic’s straight sets, 6-4 6-4 victory over world number one Novak Djokovic at last night’s Hopman Cup, be titled the same?
Stevens was referring to Agassi’s transformation from brash young player, more concerned with his image and celebrity status than his tennis future, to a well-respected crowd favourite who had finally fulfilled his youthful promise.
Agassi even had gone as far to film a TV commercial in the late 80s uttering the words “image is everything”.
Although Agassi later said that he sorely regretted that part of his youth, at the time came it hurt him badly when he was troubled by injury and subsequently fell from favour with even the most patriotic American fans.
At times, his tennis future looked shaky. Agassi earned the punk title when playing Jimmy Connors at the US Open, in all his brashness in 1988, with one member of the crowd yelling out “don’t worry Jimmy, he is a punk, you are a legend”.
The similarities have not been lost on Bernard Tomic in the last twelve months.
He teased the world with promise of great things to come when pushing Djokovic all the way in their 2011 Wimbledon quarter final.
Since then, the wheels have fallen off both on and off the court. Tomic spent just as much time in court as on it as he seemed to get addicted to the image drug, with this love of fast cars and celebrity life.
One thing has been very clear since the beginning of this year’s Hopman Cup: Tomic must have had some serious PR training since the latter part of 2012.
The manner in which he is conducting himself with the media and the public is a far cry from his childish spat with a journalist at the US Open press conference after being accused of tanking.
While Djokovic might like to deflect the Hopman Cup loss as being merely an ‘exhibition’ match, I am sure those in the Tomic camp are taking the win taking it as the prize scalp it is.
Whether this is one day out for Tomic in the blistering Perth sunshine or the start of the royal transformation to regal status, only time will tell.
That is what makes the future, and the coming Australian Open, even more intriguing.