Last week, NEWS.com.au reported that Bernard Tomic had reached his “lowest ebb”, capitulating on court in his “loss” to Belgian Steve Darcis.
Despite being up one set to nil and leading in the final set 4-1, his opponent won five games in a row to take the match in bizarre circumstances, which saw Tomic passing up many returnable balls, and generally showing a lack of effort.
However, even NEWS.com.au would be bereft of superlatives to describe the German born’s efforts on court this week.
In fact, the use of the word “efforts” should perhaps be rethought.
After losing the first set tiebreak of his opening round Mexican Open clash to American Donald Young, Tomic retired, citing the unbearable heat of the day.
It was 24 degrees Celsius.
The heat certainly didn’t seem to be bothering his opponent, from the United States’ capital of cold - Chicago, Illinois.
Nevertheless, a retirement, or just a loss in general, should have been what we expected from Tomic. After all, he has seemingly made it his trademark this year, winning only rounds one and two at the Australian Open thus far.
That’s right – five tournaments, four first round losses in 2017 for a man last year ranked inside the top 20.
The worst of these came arguably a fortnight ago in Memphis, where Tomic lost to a man ranked well outside the top 100, Darian King.
Not only had King never won a match on tour – no one from his country of Barbados had ever won a match on tour.
Last January, almost the entire tennis fraternity raised their eyebrows when a usually docile Roger Federer criticised Tomic’s work ethic, summarily saying that he would have to work far harder to reach the top 10.
Far be it from the usual inclination of Federer to criticise another tour player, but it also came at a strange time – Tomic had just reached his career high ranking of 17, and looked set to make 2016 his best year ever.
Tomic, of course, cracked back, reinforcing his own commitment to his craft, and taking a jab at the tennis legend.
“If he believes I’m very far away from the top 10, I also believe…that he’s nowhere near Novak’s tennis right now.”
12 months later, and it would seem Federer came out of this one looking the better. Tomic is down to number 42 in the world and counting and the Swiss once again holds Tomic’s home grand slam, the Australian Open.
“I would like to reach the top 10 mark…mentality is the key. It’s why the top five, 10 are so good,” Tomic said, before being taken down a notch by the Swiss Maestro.
“I think the main thing is I’m doing what I love and I really respect the sport.”
Do you Bernard? Do you really?
I have never seen Roger Federer quit on a match of tennis. Nor your idol Novak Djokovic for that matter.
Given his recent run of results and how he has achieved them, I don’t think I’m far from the truth in assessing that Bernard Tomic has quit on tennis altogether.