Bernard Tomic has shown so far in 2013 that he is a much-improved tennis player.
Tomic has won his first ATP title in Sydney. He also defeated Novak Djokovic in Perth at the Hopman Cup, and at the Australian Open, despite the look of the scoreline, Tomic gave Federer a run for his money and was only two points away from levelling the match at a set all, which would have made things very interesting.
Tomic has made substantial improvements to his game.
First of all, he is moving around the court better than he ever has, and he is fitter than he ever has been.
Lots of credit has to go to Tomic’s new physical trainer, Salvador Sosa, who has helped him so far in many areas.
Sosa has trained Sergi Bruguera, Alex Corretja, Andrei Medvedev and Dinara Safina among many other well-credentialed tennis players.
However, Tomic can still improve enormously in this area, and I am sure he will continue to work on this.
Secondly, Tomic’s has a much-improved serve.
Tomic has always had great accuracy, but had lacked speed and more importantly power with the serve. Now, Tomic has both aspects of his serve working, and it is making a huge difference.
In addition to this, Tomic’s second serve has also improved, completing an all-round improvement with his serve.
Thirdly, Tomic’s forehand has improved. His forehand has a bit more margin over the net, and it has a little bit more weight on it.
Tomic now feels very confident with the shot, and is taking control of many rallies against most of his opponents.
On other parts of his game, his backhand has always been a great strength of his in both the two-handed and slice variety.
His volleying is good, but continual work on leg bend and strength will improve it further.
But it is his return of serve, or more importantly, his break point conversion rate that needs work. Tomic needs to make sure he has the right approach in these situations, and must learn to anticipate the tone of the point.
However, I am sure he is continually working on these things and is improving these aspects of his game.
Regarding Tomic and Davis Cup participation, I believe that his career is much more important than playing for Australia in Davis Cup.
If I was Tomic, I wouldn’t play in the Davis Cup tie in April should we win this first tie against Chinese Taipei, as it would disrupt preparations for the clay court season.
This could hurt his momentum heading onto grass after the clay court season.
Proper and professional preparation is key for Tomic doing well throughout a whole year.
Continuing on the theme of younger players, the treatment of them by Tennis Australia has been quite poor.
The lack of wildcards given to younger players at the Australian Open was a terrible sight.
The players that should have joined Benjamin Mitchell into the main draw are James Duckworth, Jason Kubler, Luke Saville and Alex Bolt.
I don’t know how Kubler and Bolt were forgotten, especially Kubler since he plays most of his tennis on the surface that the next generation will be training on.
Tennis Australia and Davis Cup personnel may say they aren’t afraid of blooding new players into the Davis Cup, but they can’t give wildcards to young players to their national tournament.
Todd Woodbridge and Pat Rafter are the ones that need to take responsibility for this.
Back to Tomic, he plays next in Rotterdam(500), followed by Marseille(250), Dubai(500), and the two Masters 1000 events at Indian Wells and Miami.
If he plays well at Rotterdam, Marseille and Dubai, which is very likely considering his form, he can be a seeded player at Indian Wells and climb further up the rankings to a point where he can seriously challenge for the big events.
Talking along those lines, I can see Tomic challenging the best at Wimbledon this year, considering the form he is in and the improvement people can expect in about 5-6 months. He just needs to focus.