Not long before Bernard Tomic’s tennis comeback is got started on court 8 at Melbourne Park, his former coach issued the former world no.17 - take it seriously, or go home for good.
Geoff Masters, who coached Tomic during his stint at the Queensland Academy of Sport and earlier in his professional career, says Tomic’s fortunes have never been a question of talent, but desire.
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Tomic exploded onto the scene as an 18-year-old when he made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2011, but despite being ranked inside the top 20 as recently as 2016, Tomic’s career is running on fumes.
Since those early peaks, Tomic has been mired in a series of off-court scandals that culminated in his effective excommunication from Tennis Australia amid an ongoing dispute with Lleyton Hewitt.
With Tomic now vowing to play on until age 35, Masters said his success would hinge on his drive to win, rather than his skill at the sport.
“Bernard’s success or otherwise is totally on Bernard,” Masters told the Herald Sun.
“He’s always had the hands and always had the skill – but it’s a matter of how badly he wants to play.
“There’s no getting away from the fact in more recent years he hasn’t displayed that joy of the sport or desire to play, and the result of that’s been some coverage in places like Wimbledon that hasn’t been pleasant for him.
“If he wants to play, there’s no reason he can’t get back.
“But if he doesn’t really want to, then go do something else, because you’re deluding yourself and wasting your time.”
More success for Bolt at Australian Open
Alex Bolt has continued his love affair with Melbourne Park, while countryman James Duckworth enjoyed a long-overdue change of fortunes on day one of the Australian Open.
Bolt scored a convincing victory over Slovakian Norbert Gombos to enhance his impressive record at his home grand slam.
The left-handed South Australian overcame a third-set blip to win 6-2 6-2 4-6 6-3 and advance beyond the Open's first round for the third straight year.
Bolt was joined in the second round by Duckworth, who snapped a run of eight straight first-round losses at the majors spread over five years.
Duckworth, who has battled serious foot injuries in recent years, proved too good for Bosnian Damir Dzumhur, winning 6-3 6-2 6-4.
It was the Sydneysider's first match victory at his home slam since 2015, a tournament where he has often had no luck with the draw.
His first-round opponents in previous years have included the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Lleyton Hewitt.
Bolt stretched eventual finalist Dominic Thiem to five sets in the second round last year and made it to the last 32 in 2019 before bowing out to Alexander Zverev.
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