Bernard is just the Tomic Australian tennis needs

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    Bernard Tomic takes on Lucas Pouille in the fourth round at Wimbledon. (AAP)

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    Now is a golden time for Australia in men’s tennis. Well, not really in the way you would expect. For the first time since 2007, two men reached the fourth round of the Australian Open.

    Those two players were Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt, and they could not contrast enough from each other.

    Tomic is the protegee, the pin up boy, the 19-year-old who will lead Australia in the Davis Cup and in single’s competitions for the next 15 years. Hewitt has been there and done that all; he has lead Australia in the Davis Cup and Grand Slams for the past eight or so years and is obviously coming to the end of his career.

    So when they both lined up in the round round, I felt as though it was the transition of Australian tennis; the changing of the guard as such, from Hewitt and other players such as Chris Guccione and Peter Lucak, to the new generation of youngsters like Tomic, Matt Ebden, James Duckworth, Greg Jones and Luke Saville.

    This is the best performance from the Australian men at their home grand slam in years. Hewitt and Tomic both reached the fourth round, but it was the improvement of the younger players that impressed me.

    Greg Jones took two sets off Alexandr Dolgopolov, before ultimately crashing in the final three sets. James Duckworth won his first round match in straight sets against Jurgen Zopp, who was ranked just over 100 places higher then him. He then preceded to take the first set off world number nine Janko Tipsarevic before he was overrun. Tipsarevic then stated that Duckworth could be better than a top 100 player.

    Australia’s second ranked player, Matt Ebden, won his first round match and took Kei Nishikori to five sets but was beaten.

    But possibly Australia’s brightest hope, apart maybe from Tomic, was barely talked about. Eighteen-year-old world juniors number one Luke Saville from Adelaide won the Australian Open junior title. Sure, this does not always bring success – see Mark Kratzmann and Brydan Klein – but like we saw in the women’s game, Victoria Azarenka did the double of junior and senior title five years apart. Saville also won the Wimbledon junior title last year to prove that he is not a fluke.

    Other Australians around the mark are Carsten Ball, Guccione, Marinko Matosevic, Jason Kubler and Ben Mitchell, who lost the 2010 Wimbledon junior final, but surely has a bright future ahead of him. As does Australian tennis.

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • February 3rd 2012 @ 7:31am
      Antonio said | February 3rd 2012 @ 7:31am | ! Report

      Yeah Australia really needs another tax cheat. Or is that Monaco I don’t know which natiom he now represents more?

    • February 3rd 2012 @ 9:14am
      B.A Sports said | February 3rd 2012 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      There are certainly positive signs for Aussie mens tennis. To have all these young guys (well Ebden is 24) coming through at a similar time bodes well for Tennis as even if one or two don’t make the transistion well, we still have a couple more to bet on (and even more youngsters behind that). The challenge will be keeping the public (and the media) paitent enough to watch them develop. Contrary to anicodtal belief, Tennis isn’t a young man’s sport. Infact the average age of Top 10 players is going up. So to have players in their teens and early 20’s starting to make a mark bodes well for the future.

    • February 3rd 2012 @ 12:49pm
      Gucci said | February 3rd 2012 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

      Forgive my ignorance, but I don’t know much about these players. Can someone please give a brief summary of each? Eg good forehand, good backhand, fast or slow, how’s the serve, how tall, similar to what other player, etc? Thanks

      • February 3rd 2012 @ 12:56pm
        Scot Free said | February 3rd 2012 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

        Er…how about you just go to the Tennis Australia website and take a look yourself?

        • February 3rd 2012 @ 2:45pm
          Gucci said | February 3rd 2012 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

          Because the website tells you they’re right or left handed and that’s about all?? If you’ve got nothing to offer, nobody is forcing you to open your mouth.

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      February 3rd 2012 @ 2:13pm
      Adam Ludeke said | February 3rd 2012 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

      Here’s a fun stat – Of the last 35 grand slam tournaments, going back to Wimbledon 2003, 31 of these have been won by THREE men. Fed (16), Nadal (10) and Novak (5).

      The top of the pile in men’s tennis is as good as it has ever been, the ‘Big 4’ will probably end up with something close to 50 grand slams between them.

      Not the best time to be a good solid player, which is about all we’ve dished up recently.

    • February 3rd 2012 @ 2:23pm
      Bsc said | February 3rd 2012 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

      Is he even Australian??

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    • February 3rd 2012 @ 2:24pm
      Bearfax said | February 3rd 2012 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

      Finally Oz is producing a stable of potentially top line tennis players which is just as well because, despite Oz’s fine tennis history and having been one of the founding giants of International cricket, our stocks have been diminishing since the halcyon days of Smith and Cawley in the womens and Laver, Emerson, Stolle, Roach, Newcombe and Rosewell (and those before them) in the mens. We had some good male players over recent years, Hewitt being the latest, but they’ve been generally one at a time. The latest group, led by Tomic, a potential top five player and maybe better, gives encouragement that Oz may be able to now retain its status as one of the Grand Slam locations

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