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Bernard Tomic regrets declaring he didn’t care about a tanking controversy because he is worth $10 million, and says he knows only 100 per cent effort will change the public’s perception of him – and take him to the top of world tennis.
Earlier this month, following another tanking controversy where he attempted to return serve with his racquet handle on match point at the Madrid Open, Tomic later told a reporter: “would you care if you were 23 and worth over $10 million”.
And speaking after matching his best effort at Roland Garros by reaching the French Open second round, Tomic admitted he’d erred with that statement.
“I would love to say I have ten million US, but maybe (it is) ten million Australian,” Tomic joked.
“I shouldn’t have said that, but that’s in the past. That was my fault.
“I was just in that moment. I just said that and I was talking to my friends about some things, so it just sort of came out.”
Tomic has been dogged by accusations of tanking throughout his career with John McEnroe’s suggestion that he threw in the towel against Andy Roddick at the 2012 US Open leading to the cruel “Tomic the Tank Engine” moniker.
But he says he is learning to deal with that perception and insists he knows that hard work is the main trait which will lift him to where he feels he belongs.
“I struggle mentally a lot, so that’s one area I need to improve,” said Tomic, who pointed to his rankings rise of more than 100 places over the past 18 months as evidence of his dedication.
“For me, it’s been a big turnaround (but) I have to get better.
“You’re not going to get to top five, top three in the world or 10 if you (always) have distractions and stuff.
“I don’t need to train much to be where I am, 30, 20 in the world.
“I always have the talent (but) if I want to get more in my career and life, I have to be 100 per cent in everything.”
Despite declaring “I suck on clay” in the lead-up to his first-round match, Tomic looked assured as he closed out the straight sets victory over lowly-ranked American Brian Baker 6-3 6-4 6-4.
The win, just his third at Roland Garros from seven campaigns, matches Tomic’s best ever return at his least-suited grand slam and puts him through to the second round, joining 17th seed Nick Kyrgios and wildcard Jordan Thompson.
Tomic will now face Croatian teenager Borna Coric, who romped to a 6-3 6-1 6-3 win over American Taylor Fritz.
Tomic’s claycourt season had left much to be desired, with the 20th seed going winless through four matches, but that mattered for little as he pushed Baker around the court on Tuesday.