There are only a few more sleeps to go until the Australian Open gets underway and all eyes will be on some of the biggest names of the game as history beckons for the likes of Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Ashleigh Barty.
Bernard Tomic’s hope of resurrecting his tennis career at the Australian Open are in tatters after his first-round exit in qualifying.
Struggling with breathing issues, the former world No.17 was dismissed by seventh-seeded American Denis Kudla in straight sets 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in hot and smoky conditions at Melbourne Park.
His match got off to a promising start on Tuesday, but the 27-year-old slowly began to wilt.
Tomic called for a medic at 1-2 in the second set, saying he was having difficulty breathing.
“I just can’t breathe,” Tomic was heard to say.
The doctor gave him an inhaler and checked his chest with a stethoscope, before clearing him to resume.
But the Queenslander was unable to hold his serve and went down 1-3 which spelled the end of his challenge.
A former Wimbledon quarter-finalist, Tomic was hoping for a brighter 2020 after his ranking plummeted to 182 following a year to forget which included a hand injury.
Tomic recorded just seven wins at ATP level – none at the slams – and hasn’t played a competitive match since October.
Overlooked by Tennis Australia for a wildcard into the main draw, Tomic needed to win three sudden-death encounters to enter the season’s first grand slam starting on Monday.
Of the Australian men’s contingent, former world No.39 Matthew Ebden was knocked out by by Italian 13th seed Gianluca Mager 7-5 6-4.
Max Purcell had a three-set win over Argentine Andrea Collarini while Blake Mott advanced to the second round with a straight sets win, as did Luke Saville.
Teenager Tristan Schoolkate won the first set against Peru’s Juan Pablo Varillas before going down 2-6 7-5 7-5.
In the women’s draw Belinda Woolcock beat fellow Australian Olivia Tjandramulia to book a second round meeting with top-seeded Romanian Ana Bogdan.
Maddison Inglis will take on former Wimbeldon finalist Eugenie Bouchard, who survived a gruelling battle to escape through the first round.
The Canadian, who has been ranked as high as fifth in the world, called multiple medical timeouts in her 4-6 7-6 6-1 victory of China’s Xiaodi You.
Australia teenager Destanee Aiava cruised into the second round while Abbie Myers fell to Olga Govortsova from Belarus, 7-5 7-5.