The rift engulfing Australian tennis and Bernard Tomic

Ryan Eckford Roar Pro

By Ryan Eckford, Ryan Eckford is a Roar Pro

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    Bernard Tomic takes on Lucas Pouille in the fourth round at Wimbledon. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

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    Bernard Tomic may say that there are no problems between him and the hierarchy that is Tennis Australia, including Pat Rafter, Tony Roche and Todd Woodbridge.

    But it appears to everyone following the game from the outside that there is a growing rift between the Tomic family and the hierarchy of Tennis Australia.

    Tomic, who snubbed his invite to the John Newcombe Medal held last Monday, has received a great amount of criticism from key people within men’s tennis in Australia, including Rafter, Roche and Woodbridge.

    This criticism has increased further after Tomic was suspended from the Davis Cup tie against Chinese Taipei in Kaohsiung City at the beginning February.

    However Tomic has said exclusively to Network Ten that he was never meant to play in the Davis Cup tie against Chinese Taipei after chatting with Davis Cup captain Rafter.

    “I was never meant to play that Davis Cup tie as well, I spoke to Pat as well, and I’m going to use that time for training as well, to prepare for other tournaments in America,” Tomic explained.

    He also said that he would use this time for practice to prepare for tournaments in the United States.

    Tomic has also received criticism from tennis experts worldwide, including American tennis legend John McEnroe, who wasn’t perfect in his career in terms of attitude and behaviour. McEnroe labelled Tomic’s performance at the US Open earlier this year against Andy Roddick a tank job.

    “Tomic is teeing it up. It looks like the tank job,” McEnroe said.

    Tomic has started to rectify any attitude and behavioural issues that he may have, or may appear to have and is working very hard in preparation ahead of the 2013 season.

    “I am working really hard and trying to push myself to become the best tennis player as I can be, and I’ve had a slippery slope the last year, and it’s changing me, and I’ll prove that I’m going to be the best player one day to play this game,” the 20-year-old said.

    With Rafael Nadal going through his injury problems, and with the decline of Tomic’s tennis hero Roger Federer getting nearer, world tennis is in need of a young star around the age of 20-21 to come along and challenge the established top-ranked players.

    Tomic, with his abundance of natural talent in a technical sense, especially his backhand, combined with his willingness to turn his fortunes around could well prove to be that man.

    As for Tomic’s relationship with Tennis Australia, it is not standing in a good way right now, and there is clearly a large, potentially poisonous rift between all parties involved, there is no doubt about that.

    Whether the parties like each other or not a great improvement in the performance of Tomic, especially in the short term initially, may mend the relationship of both parties in the long term, even if this is difficult in the short term.

    The rise to the top could happen sooner than many of you think for Bernard Tomic.

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • December 8th 2012 @ 3:54am
      Johnno said | December 8th 2012 @ 3:54am | ! Report

      You know what I am going to go out on a limb here. There is actually a part of me that supports Tomic. He is our most talented player and he is suffering from the system Tennis Australia have, and the platforms, pathways, and structure of tennis in Australia.
      Australian tennis have not produced any top men’s tennis players post 2000. Hewiit cam on the scene in the 90’s Im talking 2000 onwards, after the sydney 2000 Olympics onwards.

      In the 90’s we had Rafter, Scud, Hewitt, The 2 woodies. That davis cup win in Nantes France with scud on clay in 1999 feels a long time ago now. Plus we had good pros like the talented Scott Draper, and Wayne Arthurs was handy.

      Tony Roche and was in his coaching prime in the 1980’s and 90’s as was Bob Brett who coached Boris Becker.,
      Tony Roche, he is now past it at this level as is Newk both out of touch with the modern game yet still seem to have so much influence. That is a worry that the new generation of coaches and leaders ar not coming through in aussy tennis.

      The whole junior system is all over the place. They in OZ need to engage guys like Cashy more, who does a lot of good coaching up on the Gold Coast.

      And also the talent indientifaction programs need to change too.

      Too me Sam Stosur seems the only one who has been a success developed form Australia’s tennis system, and plans.

      All those talented girls like Dokic, and Alicia Molik have now faded or semi retired.

      So a part of me feels for Tomic and he has been messed around by Tennis Australia. It seems all our former glory sports, Tennis, swimming, rugby union, are all being let down by incompetent administrators, and outdated coaching junior pathways, and also more countries investing in sports like Tennis. If we use our resources well there is no reason why we can’t compete on the World stage, we have in the past, and those guys Cashy, Rafter,Scud, Hewitt, Stosur, would all do well in any era.

      But Tomic may slowly get mucked around like Scud was. I thought it was absolutely disgraceful at the time and took about 2 years to heal the pain in Nantes in 1999 to become friends again, it was a disgrace that Newk and Tony Roche sat in Rafter’s corner for the 1997 US open final , vs Scud. They should of been neutral and it took that Davis cup win in 1999 with new and Roche at the helm to heal there wounds with Scud, Like I said I think it’s a worry that Newk and Roche at there age still have so much influence in aussy tennis.

      When Neil Fraser left as Davis Cup captain, he had a smooth transition he didn’t have so much influence. Newk and Roche still do, These are 2 aussy tennis men who played in the 60’s and 70’s you know before Mcenroe , and just when young Jimmy Connors was entering the scene..

      So long past it now they are well into there mid 60’s in age both born in the mid 1940’s.

      We need fresh leaders, and pat Rafter needs to step up more I feel and not have the father figure of Roach and Newcombe hovering.
      Let Newk just commentate with Fred Stolle and Kenny sutcliffe at Wimbledon.

      We need to focus on junior development grassroots, better programs, and use of resources, in ausys tennis for sure, and new leaders and coaches have to come through more . Lleyton Hewitt I feel will have a big role to play in aussy tennis over the next few years, and I like Rojer Rashedd too, he defiantly has some good idea on tennis in OZ, he is aussy and was Hewitt’s former coach, and does a lot of commentating now,.
      Hewitt is young 31 , 32 next year he is actually a good commentator, vastly experienced, and really is actually quite smart he offers a lot of knowledge and insight into the game as he is still a current player, but projects it well on tv when he commentates, he comes across to me far more a student of the game than Pat Rafter, jim Courier is now USA davis cup coach, which does not surprise me at all, given his outstanding commentating and insights, and I see Hewitt the start of the new brigade , a future davis cup captain i believe, and just younger generations to be one of tennis Australia’s or Australian tennis’s leaders.

      • Roar Pro

        December 8th 2012 @ 9:44am
        Ryan Eckford said | December 8th 2012 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        I think your right. When you talk about the Australian tennis system, I can think of one player, a Spaniard, who was asked at the age of 14 by his national tennis federation to leave his hometown of Majorca and move to Barcelona. His family stood strong and said no, mainly because they feared it would hurt his education, but his coach, Uncle Toni famously said, “I don’t want to believe that you have to go to America, or other places to be a good athlete. You can do it from your home.” As a result of this, they received less funding from the Spanish tennis federation, and the rest is history.

      • December 9th 2012 @ 6:46am
        matt said | December 9th 2012 @ 6:46am | ! Report

        Johnno you are on the money almost 100% here – superb insight. The only difference of opinion i have is in regard to Tomic. He is his own man (or should i say, boy). Oh heck he is his fathers boy. Anyway my point being it would not matter who the establishment in Australia was, the kid would still be the basket case he is

    • December 8th 2012 @ 8:02am
      The no. three. said | December 8th 2012 @ 8:02am | ! Report

      What a turn up if B Tomic gets to the top without tennis Australia. that click of Roche, Rafter and Woodbridge will have to drum up new histeria. Maybe Hewitt can be no. one again.

    • December 8th 2012 @ 9:26am
      Linda said | December 8th 2012 @ 9:26am | ! Report

      He is a disgrace. I would rather there be no big time Australian players than have the country embarrassed by this baboon. Get over yourself Bernard. You are a goose.

    • Roar Guru

      December 8th 2012 @ 10:32am
      sheek said | December 8th 2012 @ 10:32am | ! Report

      I’m sorry guys, but I have no time for Tomic.

      This guy can disappear off the face of the earth for all I care.

      I know who to believe between Rafter & Tomic. His denial of his sacking was pathetic, a clear indication of a person out of touch with reality, or any acceptance of personal responsibility & accountability.

      Australian tennis might be in dire straights, but it doesn’t need a selfish, self-absorbed dolt like Tomic.

    • December 8th 2012 @ 11:38am
      ken oldman said | December 8th 2012 @ 11:38am | ! Report

      Maybe someone should introduce Tomic to sports agent/manager Nasser,,where perhaps he can be the boxing opponent of Cooper.
      Would not it be great to see them,punch each others head in.
      Australian sport needs neither of these two ratbags.

    • December 8th 2012 @ 4:26pm
      Tennis fan said | December 8th 2012 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

      If ignorance is bliss then many commentators must be very happy. It is beyond risible that they are ridiculing proven champions like Hewitt, Rafter, Roach, in favour of someone who has not even come close to winning a grand slam yet claims they will be the world’s best ever player.

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