If Bernard Tomic is trying to win back some love from Australian tennis fans, he isn’t really going about it the right way.
The controversial Aussie star shocked absolutely no-one on Monday when he announced he’d withdrawn from the first round of the Murray River Open, reportedly citing a knee injury.
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Tomic reeled off three gruelling wins in the Middle East last month to qualify for the Australian Open, however he will now head into the year’s first grand slam having not played a lead-up event.
Two weeks in Tennis Australia’s Melbourne Park quarantine training bubble seemingly haven’t helped Tomic to sufficiently prepare for his only warm-up event.
However video of Tomic playing basketball in Melbourne just hours before his withdrawal has raised eyebrows.
On Monday afternoon the Aussie player posted a video on Instagram showing him on the basketball court at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Tomic’s withdrawal is also interesting considering he was due to face Nick Kyrgios if he made the second round.
Last month Kyrgios took aim at Tomic’s girlfriend Vanessa Sierra, saying the social media star needed to get some perspective after complaining about quarantine.
Responding to Sierra’s gripes about the food and having to wash her own hair, Kyrgios tweeted: “I don’t mind Bernie but his Mrs obviously has no perspective, ridiculous scenes.”
Tomic was due to play fellow Australian Marc Polmans in the first round of the Murray River Open on Monday night.
Now ranked 229th, the one-time World No.17 has a big opportunity to climb back into the top 150 with a decent showing at the season’s first grand slam starting next week.
Tomic, who has made the last 16 of his home major three times, has no rankings points to defend after bombing out in the first round of qualifying last year.
— Marc McGowan 🗣✍️👨🏻💻📰 (@ByMarcMcGowan) February 1, 2021
— Break Point (@BreakPointPod) February 1, 2021
Someone tweeted jokingly a couple of weeks ago that it must be tough to be Bernard Tomic quarantining
for 2 weeks only to pull out with an "injury" in his 1st match.
I just heard that that's basically what's happened. I can't find that tweet but whoever said deserves a medal! 😂
— Click 🙂 (@ClickCollins) February 1, 2021
Bernard Tomic's advice to his younger self would literally be to not play tennis. This sport used to be the love of his life, and now he regrets ever playing it. This is unbelievably sad to me
— Pαul (@JustFedererFan) February 1, 2021
Aussie men in fine form ahead of Australian Open
Harry Bouchier replaced Tomic in the Murray Open draw, pulling off a stunning 6-4, 6-4 win over Polmans.
He was one of six local male victors on Monday, with Chris O'Connell, Jason Kubler, Aleksandar Vukic, Max Purcell and Alex Bolt - who beat Thanasi Kokkinakis - also through to the second round.
Kyrgios will make his ATP Tour return on Tuesday as he attempts to join the bevy of Australian male winners.
The Canberran chose not to play during last year’s pandemic, with Tuesday’s Melbourne Summer Series first-round match against Alexandre Muller his first competitive fixture since February last year.
His ranking has sunk to 47, meaning he missed selection in Australia's ATP Cup side, headed instead by Alex de Minaur and John Millman in singles and due to face Spain on Tuesday night.
But Kyrgios has arrived feeling “mentally completely refreshed and ready to go again”, while Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt has been impressed by what he's seen in training from the 25-year-old this week.
Jordan Thompson and Alexei Popyrin will also play their first matches ahead of the Australian Open from February 8, while compatriot John-Patrick Smith meets Tennys Sandgren, the American who earned the ire of many for his antics while in hotel quarantine last month.
“Yeah, we've had some very good wins; it's good, the boys are playing well heading into the Aussie Open,” Bolt said.
Bolt beat good mate Kokkinakis on Monday, the pair more than familiar with each other’s games after training together extensively over the past six months.
“I was like, of course (I'm playing Kokkinakis) ... no one really likes playing their mate, I would have much preferred to play someone else,” he said.
“(At the net I said to him) just bad luck, really, and just to realise this is the start.”
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