Bernard Tomic labelled John Fitzgerald the “worst commentator ever” after being asked about criticism from the Aussie tennis great in his Australian Open press conference on Wednesday.
Tomic was completely dismantled by Denis Shapovalov in a brutal 6-1 6-3 6-2 second-round thrashing at Melbourne Park.
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And while Tomic was in action on court, his former Davis Cup captain Fitzgerald was offering up his thoughts in commentary.
Needless to say, Fitzgerald wasn’t overly impressed by a giveaway game to start the third set and some questionable subsequent efforts.
“This is getting a bit cringeworthy here,” Fitzgerald said.
“No one can tell me that he is trying here.
“I'm not sure we'll see Bernard Tomic back at the Australian Open.”
When informed of Fitzgerald’s comments in his press conference, Tomic was quick to retort.
“Of course it is (harsh),” Tomic said.
“But he’s probably the worst commentator I’ve ever seen in my life as well.”
Shapovalov hands Tomic a tennis lesson
Shapovalov had far too many weapons for Tomic, who put in a spirited effort early in the second set.
But as the match progressed the former Wimbledon quarter-finalist appeared sluggish and disinterested against the 11th-seeded left-hander.
Tomic piled on 40 unforced errors in what was largely a one-hour, 47-minute walk in the park for the Canadian star.
After a forgettable first set, Tomic found some rhythm in the second, holding serve after a gruelling 23-point game.
He then enjoyed two break points on Shapovalov’s next service game.
But after failing to convert either, things quickly went downhill for the 28-year-old.
The third set started disastrously for Tomic, prompting Fitzgerald to question his motivation.
“That was very disappointing. Bernard is a talent and he's not fulfilling his talent and he's not even close,” Fitzgerald said.
“That's a shame. It's sad for me.”
Tomic will at least get a rankings boost after the season-opening grand slam.
He was the only Australian to win through an arduous qualifying campaign in Doha and then added first-round points at Melbourne Park will move him to the cusp of the world's top 200.
But it remains a far cry from his career-high in 2016, the two-time junior grand slam champion now having to battle in the secondary tour to climb back up the rankings.
“Regardless of where I am, I know I'm pretty good, in a good state from taking off tennis for about eight months. I couldn't ask for anything more,” Tomic said.
“Winning four matches at a grand slam is almost too good to be true for me at this stage.”
Tomic said he was looking to continue his upward move, entering qualifying in Singapore before playing some challenger series tournaments to lift his ranking.
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