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Bernard Tomic's heartbreaking reality amid record-breaking Australian Open prize money

As the Australian Open men's final was won Bernard Tomic secured his own tournament win that saw him pocket just $3600 in prize money.

Bernard Tomic pictured
Bernard Tomic won the M25 Chennai tournament on the ITF World Tennis Tour on Sunday, the same day as the Australian Open men's final was being contested. Image: Getty

Bernard Tomic secured a title on Sunday, winning the M25 Chennai tournament on the ITF World Tennis Tour, on the same day Jannik Sinner won his maiden grand slam title. A picture of the Aussie with the ITF Chennai trophy, however, was a stark contrast to the Italian lifting the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup at the Australian Open.

Tomic was at one point in time the World No.17 but currently is ranked No.312 in the world. The tournament win was Tomic's most significant title since winning the ATP 250 title in Chengdu in September 2018.

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After plummeting to World No.825 in August 2022 (his lowest ranking in 14 years), Tomic continues to work on rebuilding his tennis career, winning five ITF singles titles in the last three seasons, including four at M15 events. However, the ITF Tour is not where a man once touted as a grand slam challenger would be wanting to play and while the Italian secured a stunning comeback victory in the Australian Open final, Tomic was in the heat of Chennai, India, slugging it out with local Sasi Kumar Mukund.

Tomic entered the ITF Chennai tournament as the number one seed and by far the biggest name in the field of 32 players. The 31-year-old dropped only one set through four matches at the tournament. Pictures of the Australian lifting the winner's trophy and playing in India led to social media users saying it is sad to see the decline of the once highly-touted prospect.

Bernard Tomic's prize money a long way off that of an Australian Open qualifier

While the prize money was the biggest in Australian Open history, Tomic's win at Chennai was a long way behind the $3.15 million Sinner received. From the win in India, the Aussie pocketed just $3,600.

That amount is just a fraction of the winnings that players who competed in qualifying for the Australian Open received, while a first-round Australian Open qualifier pocketed $31,250. A wildcard entry into the main draw would have netted the former Australian and US Open juniors champion $120,000 but as a result of his strained relationship with Tennis Australia, a wildcard was incredibly unlikely to ever go his way.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 11:  Bernard Tomic of Australia reacts in his match against Roman Safiullin of Russia during day two of 2022 Australian Open Qualifying at Melbourne Park on January 11, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)
After plummeting to World No.825 in August 2022 (his lowest ranking in 14 years), Tomic continues to work on rebuilding his tennis career, winning five ITF singles titles in the last three seasons. Image: Getty (Graham Denholm via Getty Images)

Before the tournament, Australian Open boss Craig Tiley said the relationship between Tennis Australia and Tomic had nothing to do with whether or not he would receive a wildcard. "It’s not so much about the relationship, but it’s about if they’re deserving," Tiley said.

"The things we consider – the form of the player coming in, there is a factor looking at age in some instances because do you want to give a younger player the opportunity versus one who’s been the journeyman for a while?"

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