Published: Saturday September 15, 2012 MYT 5:05:00 PM
Tomic learns lesson from "disgraceful" defeat
HAMBURG, Germany: Australia's Bernard Tomic has insisted he has learnt his lessons after his US Open defeat at the hands of Andy Roddick was branded "disgraceful" by Davis Cup team captain Pat Rafter.
Tomic has been under pressure since US tennis great John McEnroe said the 19-year-old seemed to give up during his 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 loss to Roddick in the second round at Flushing Meadows two weeks ago.
Rafter slated Tomic's performance and handed the teenager an ultimatum to either shape up or ship out for the ongoing Davis Cup World Group play-off against Germany.
Australia are in Hamburg bidding to make it into the World Group for the first time since 2007 and Tomic admitted he was relieved to get off to a good start with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) win over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.
"You get a lot of stuff thrown at you and I feel I have responded well this week," said the 19-year-old, with Davis Cup team-mate Lleyton Hewitt one of the few who supported him in the wake of the Roddick defeat.
"It has been a rough week and I am happy I won. Your team expect a lot from you, you are the number one ranked player, but you have to put in the hard work and show your teammates you are willing to do anything.
"It's not just about winning a match, it's about fitting well in the team."
After Rafter's stinging criticism, Stuttgart-born Tomic, ranked 42nd in the world, said he has been on a steep learning curve.
"You learn, I have learned a lot from my mistakes in the last few months," he said.
"I'm going to get a lot of things thrown at me and this is just a learning curve.
"The most important thing is to never stop learning and I am picking up new things every day. I am getting to the point where I am maturing much better."
Having lost the first set to Stebe, Tomic dug deep to win the next three sets and said he had appreciated Rafter's advice during changeovers, while his Australia captain said he was proud of the teenager's performance.
"He got the job done, he found the will to win, it was great," said Rafter.
"It was a big call at the US Open, I got into him, he got pissed off and gave it to me.
"That was the best retaliation he could have done, I was happy for him.
"That is what we want from him and hopefully he can do that again on Sunday.
"In the past, you might have looked at the conditions and wondered if he was going to hang tough, but he did and I am proud of him."
Australia and Germany were level at 1-1 at the end of Friday's opening singles after Florian Mayer saw off Lleyton Hewitt 7-5, 6-3, 6-2. -AFP