A dozen years ago I reported on ABC NewsRadio I had seen a long television clip of a nine-year-old tennis player by the name of Bernard Tomic.
He wasn’t much taller than the net, but this kid had everything: hand-eye co-ordination, footwork, and incredible timing.
“If Bernard ever gets taller than the net, he’s going to be really something,” I said at the time.
What I didn’t say was that he was a brat. How can you call a nine-year-old a brat?
No matter, I thought, his father and coach John Tomic will take him aside and iron out the problem. Little did I know Dad was volcanic, and likely to fly off the handle at the click of a finger.
So what chance did Bernard have? None and Buckleys.
Since then both father and son have hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. John has been banned from all Slams for headbutting Bernard’s former hitting partner Thomas Drouet, while Bernard’s only plus-feature has been to grow from a pocket rocket to 195cm.
He now has the power and the wingspan to be a force on the tour, but the question marks are what’s between his ears and in his chest.
He once boasted that he will be the world number one, and win every Slam.
He predicted that he was going to serve like Goran Ivanesevic, have the mind of Peter Sampras, the groundstrokes of Roger Federer, and the fighting heart of Lleyton Hewitt.
In his dreams.
He’s always “going to” do this and “going to” do that, when in actual fact, it ain’t “going to” happen.
Last night at the Australian Open, Bernard Tomic did himself in good and properly.
The one-set capitulation to Rafael Nadal was an embarrassment to watch, and the packed Rod Laver Arena rightfully jeered the 21-year-old as he walked off the court.
If the groin injury allegedly sustained on Monday was serious enough, Tomic should have withdrawn from the tournament. If he tried to emotionally blackmail the packed house by being a martyr, he won’t be forgiven in a hurry.
The 41-minute 6-4 set lasted 54 points. Tomic went through the grimaces for the last 51 of those points, whether he won or lost them.
It reminded me of the 2012 US Open clash with Andy Roddick, when American legend John McEnroe accused Tomic of “tanking” in the 6-3 6-4 6-0 loss.
In the world of international tennis, tanking is the worst accusation that can be made.
Bernard Tomic’s future? Cloudy.