The Tennis Gab: In Defence of Bernard Tomic


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The Tennis Gab


Following his first round defeat to Mischa Zverev at Wimbledon, Bernard Tomic had this to say: “You know I wasn’t mentally and physically there, with my mental state to perform and I don’t know why I felt a little bit bored out there to be completely honest with you.” “So have you ever felt like that before in a game?” one journalist asked. “Many times in my career and I’m sure you guys know that,” Tomic replied with a smirk. He has since remained stubbornly unrepentant, saying in an interview with Sunday Night’s Melissa Doyle that he has built his career on “50 per cent”, an “amazing” achievement, and that “I never loved tennis. I am just going to go about it as a job.” In the same interview with Channel 7, Tomic remarked that he wanted to “piss a few people off” with his Wimbledon press conference. Well, he did more than that. An avalanche of condemnation followed, slamming the 24-year-old for disrespecting paying fans, the tournament and the sport. But I found this criticism disconcerting. Players and many broadcasters adopt a certain kind of ‘Wimbledon rhetoric’ where everything is ‘unforgettable’, ‘historic’, ‘breath-taking’. And it felt as if the media, former players, the tennis community at large, were all getting back at Tomic for not sticking to the positive hyperbole script – for deglamourising the so excessively glamourised. But wasn’t he, in fact, just vocalising what many players feel slugging it out on the utterly relentless pro circuit? Mats Wilander certainly felt so. “I guarantee you every single player here at Wimbledon feels or has felt like Tomic is saying he feels,” the former world No.1 said. “We need more honesty out there, but it is hard when you see what the media does to someone who is trying to be honest.” We shouldn’t be berating Tomic. We should be thanking him for pulling back the curtain on the corporate-conceived razmataz version of tennis…