Bernard Tomic stirs the pot with Melbourne ATP withdrawal

Bernard Tomic pulled out of the Australian Open warm-up event hours after posting a video of himself playing basketball

Bernard Tomic called ball kids at Wimbledon qualifiers irritating

Bernard Tomic will enter the Australian Open with very little match practice as he withdrew from the Murray River Open in Melbourne on Monday.

The Australian, who qualified for the first major of the season, was set to take on compatriot Marc Polmans in the opening round of the Melbourne Summer Series on Monday evening. He pulled out of the event with a knee injury.

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But Tomic may be headed for more controversy as he had posted a video of himself playing basketball at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Melbourne hours before pulling out of the ATP event.

‘Ball or tennis,’ Tomic taunted, before showing off his dribbling skills and moving around freely on the outdoor basketball court.

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The former junior Grand Slam champion had already been in the news for all the wrong reasons during his 14-day hotel quarantine with girlfriend Vanessa Sierra.

Sierra had posted a video complaining about the food in hotel quarantine and apparently received ‘death threats’ for her ‘hair joke’. Tomic’s girlfriend had complained that the worst thing about quarantine was that she had to wash her own hair.

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Only Fans star Sierra had accompanied Tomic to Doha, Qatar, where the Australian Open qualifiers were held last month.

Tomic defeated 14th seed Jozef Kovalik in three sets in the opening round, fought back from a match point down to beat fellow Australian Tristan Schoolkate 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (3) and then overcame John-Patrick Smith 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7) to enter the main draw of the Australian Open.

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The 28-year-old had claimed that he ‘risked his life’ to fly to Doha and then all the way back to Australia to make it to the main draw of his home Grand Slam.

A junior Grand Slam champion and former top-20 player, Tomic has now slipped to 229 in the world rankings. This will be the first time in three years that he will be competing in the main draw of the Australian Open, after crashing in the first round of qualifiers the past two years.

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He has been replaced by Australia’s Harry Bouchier in the ATP 250 event in Melbourne.