Bernard Tomic in bizarre mid-match spat with girlfriend as French Open reality laid bare

The Aussie tennis player has plummeted down the world rankings in recent years.

Bernard Tomic's descent into the tennis wilderness was never more apparent than on Friday when he was involved in a bizarre mid-match spat with his girlfriend while the top players in the world slugged it out at the French Open. The Aussie was once ranked as high as World No.17 and made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2011.

But his career has plummeted into oblivion in recent years and he is currently down at 247th in the ATP rankings. While the top players in the world descended on Roland Garros for the French Open this week, Tomic entered a Challenger tournament in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Bernard Tomic and girlfriend Keely Hannah.
Girlfriend Keely Hannah walked out as Bernard Tomic retired with illness. Image: ATP Challenger

The Challenger circuit is the tier below the ATP Tour, and it's where Tomic has been mired for the last few years as he attempts to get his ranking back up. But performances like the one he displayed on Friday will do nothing to help his cause.

Competing against World No.265 Yuta Shimizu of Japan, Tomic showed little-to-no interest and produced very little effort as he complained to his girlfriend of feeling unwell. The match only lasted seven games before Tomic retired after losing the first set 6-1.

In bizarre scenes, Tomic engaged in a verbal disagreement with girlfriend Keely Hannah (who was watching from the crowd) about when she tested positive for Covid-19. Tomic claimed she tested positive the day of the match and suggested that's why he was feeling ill, but she said that wasn't true.

“Bernard and his girlfriend just continuing to argue,” the commentator said as it all played out. “The long and short of it, Bernie saying, ‘You tested positive for Covid today’, girlfriend saying, ‘No, that was two weeks ago’.

“I did not anticipate having to commentate a couple’s quarrel here - but here we are. Either way, uncomfortable for all the fans here, who are just wanting to see a little bit of tennis tonight, but I don’t know that they’re going to get it.”

Bernard Tomic.
Bernard Tomic complained about feeling unwell before retiring after the first set. Image: ATP Challenger

When Tomic finally pulled the pin the commentator said: “Alright, that does it. So, retiring due to illness is Bernard Tomic.

“Well, that’s a very awkward way to end, and a rather ‘Bernie’ way to end, isn’t it? Tough way to go out. Tomic now, we’ll see if he’s able to recover. And again, how the heck did he win that match a couple of days ago?”


The extraordinary scenes highlighted just how far Tomic has fallen, and it was never more apparent considering some of his former Davis Cup teammates are shining at the French Open. Alex de Minaur and Thanasi Kokkinakis - who were once ranked below Tomic in the rankings - are both into the third round at Roland Garros and thriving.

"Tennis is a very isolated sport. It is very tough mentally and you are on your own travelling," Tomic said in February about his sad decline. "You are not playing a team sport like soccer or basketball. You are on your own. There’s a lot of travel involved and a lot of time is spent alone. You need to figure out how to feel mentally good and when to recharge the batteries.

"I also struggled for three to four years. I’ve managed to turn it around and feel better mentally. When you travel from a young age for many many years, it really can get to you mentally. The sport can really drain you. You need to figure out what’s best for you mentally and always find a way to be positive and move forward. In tennis, you need to be mentally in a good state."