Australia’s Bernard Tomic seemed to be playing with greater purpose as he got through three tough rounds of Australian Open qualifying to make it into the main draw.
The former junior champion though looked miffed when asked if he cared about the sport and claimed that he had ‘risked his life’ to play the qualifiers in Doha, Qatar.
As the men’s qualifying event was held outside Australia for the very first time, Tomic had to make the trip to the Middle Eastern country and fly back home for the major.
And the 28-year-old made sure the trip counted as he secured one of the 16 qualifier berths.
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.
“I don’t think you guys have been fair towards me in the last half-decade, (or) decade,” Tomic was quoted saying.
“You can spin it whatever way you want, but don’t escape the fact I’ve qualified for a Slam.
“I am in Doha, I risked my life flying here, my health, COVID’s around, many sick, with many things that can go wrong. I’m risking my life, and I’m playing and competing. Of course, I want to get there.
“Otherwise I’d be hanging my rackets up. I don’t need to play tennis again, I’ve got enough money – so why are you asking me that question? Don’t ask questions like that.”
Tomic had started out with a lot of promise, making the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2011 at the age of 18 and reaching a career-high of 17 in 2016. But the temperamental Australian has seemed to have lost its way and is currently languishing at 228 in the world rankings.
The 28-year-old has been fined on multiple occasions for not giving his best effort in a match. In 2017, at Wimbledon, went down to Mischa Zverev in straight sets and later said that he was ‘bored’ out there.
Playing in a main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time since Wimbledon 2019, Tomic is hoping to make an impression again at his home Slam. He revealed that he is still coping with a back issue that saw him pull out of UTR events.