Venus Williams baffles tennis fans with strange link to Bernard Tomic

Bernard Tomic is the last name many fans were expecting to see on a list of Venus Williams' favourite players.

Venus Williams and Bernard Tomic are pictured side by side.
Venus Williams has listed Bernard Tomic among her favourite tennis players, leaving fans somewhat perplexed as to why. Pictures: Getty Images

There isn't much tennis champion Venus Williams hasn't seen on the court. The 42-year-old, seven-time grand slam champion boasts one of the most storied careers in modern tennis, but she's raised a few eyebrows after listing a highly unlikely candidate as one of her favourite players on tour.

Fans had to check their eyes after Williams listed Bernard Tomic among her favourite players, with the Australian World No.435 taking to Instagram to thank her for her assessment. 'Such an honour, thank you," he wrote, tagging the tennis legend in his post.

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Tomic was listed alongside the likes of Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Gael Monfils as Williams' favourite players in tour on her profile on the WTA website - perhaps indicating it was some time between her answers being submitted and the list actually being published. Two of the aforementioned players have already retired (Williams and Federer), while Monfils and Nadal are in the midst of injury.

It meant that Tomic, stranded well down the rankings and battling to return to tennis relevancy, stuck out like a sore thumb on a list otherwise populated by tennis greats. He missed the Australian Open after being overlooked for a qualifying wildcard.

Suffice to say, tennis fans were baffled when Tomic's name appeared on the profile. Many took to social media to announce their confusion.

Tomic was conciliatory after missing out on a wildcard spot for the Australian Open qualifiers. He said he was determined to get back into the top 100 on his own, understanding the likes of Tennis Australia were unlikely to do him any favours.

“I’m not expecting any favours. I’m going to prove my point and earn my way,” Tomic said on his way to Doha, where he competed in lieu of the Australian Open. “I understand Tennis Australia has made their decision. It’s good to see the young tennis players getting an opportunity.

"I’m at a place in my life where I don’t complain anymore. I’m focused and I’ve been training hard. I’ll let my tennis do the talking. Last quarter of 2022, I won three tournaments and made four finals.

“This year is my year, if no one is going to help support me, I’ll get back to top 100 on my own. My headspace is very different. I’m in a positive environment, good people around me, I’m in a healthy, happy relationship. Now all there is to do, is get back to where I belong.”

Bernard Tomic hopeful Nick Kyrgios feud will be put behind them

Tomic's career of late however, has mostly been defined by an on again, off again feud with Nick Kyrgios. Even as recently as December, Kyrgios reignited the beef between the two players after hitting back at a suggestion from a tennis fan that Tomic deserved a wildcard at the Australian Open. Of course, Kyrgios' own campaign at Melbourne Park ended before it began, with the 27-year-old forced to withdraw before his first round match due to a knee injury.

Kyrgios provided an update on his recovery from the injury after posting a message of thanks to supporters from his hospital bed, having just undergone knee surgery. Responding to Kyrgios' update on social media, Tomic appeared to extend an olive branch to his compatriot, by wishing Kyrgios a speedy recovery.

Kyrgios shared the comment from Tomic on his Instagram story, which was accompanied by a photo from the hospital the 27-year-old was staying at. “Despite our differences we go way back,” Tomic said. “Wishing (Nick) a quick recovery. Hope to see him back on the circuit soon.”

Kyrgios - who simply responded by saying "cheer bruh" - revealed that his post-operation recuperation began with watching Novak Djokovic's Australian Open masterclass against Alex de Minaur in the fourth round. After the nine-time Australian Open champion blew away his fellow Aussie 6-2 6-1 6-2, Kyrgios tweeted "Watching Novak tonight makes me feel good about my tennis in general. how have I beaten this guy", accompanied by two laughing-with-tears emojis.

The 27-year-old went under the knife on Monday in his home city of Canberra. He was ruled out of the Australian Open after an MRI scan on his knee revealed a cyst as a result of a small lateral meniscus tear.

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