Bernard Tomic has come under fire for his post-match comments on Wednesday, for his use of the word, “retard”.
Tomic defeated Fernando Verdasco in a rain interrupted match, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, to advance to the second round.
After the game, he was asked what he thought of Verdasco’s time wasting tactics, in which Tomic was made to wait on court for the Spaniard prior to the match.
A reported asked: “Tennis etiquette requires that both players arrive on court at the same time. You were kept waiting about eight minutes. Any idea why?”
“Yeah, well, I think because he was up in the locker getting something taped on as when I left and I thought he was leaving, so I just happened to walk out. Yeah, I did get to the court prior to him very early, and unfortunately I had to stand on court like a retard,” Tomic replied.
Learning disability charity Mencap has called on the No.19 seed to apologise for his comments.
“I’d like the player to apologise and would encourage him to meet people with a learning disability so he can understand why the word is so damaging and offensive,” Ciara Lawrence, a campaigns support officer at Mencap, said.
“Time and time again I hear this word used as if it has no effect. People clearly don’t understand how upsetting and offensive this is to people with a learning disability like me.
“I am sick and tired of people in high-profile positions who are respected by the public using this word. It can make the public and people who look up to sports stars think it is OK to use words like this when it’s not.
“It makes people with a learning disability seen not as people but as second class citizens, and is no different to discriminating against someone who is gay or black.”