Monday January 21, 2013
‘Tomic the tank engine’ is back on track
RISING star Bernard Tomic won back a sceptical public but Roger Federer urged him to drop the trash-talk after the Swiss master schooled his brash young apprentice at the Australian Open.
“Three Cheers For Our Bernie,” headlined the Sunday Herald Sun, along with “Not bad, son” after Tomic, 20, tested Federer, 31, but ultimately went down in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 in the third round.
Tomic has been a controversial character after some unsavoury incidents last year, and he raised hackles in some quarters by talking up his chances against the 17-time Grand Slam champion.
But he showed vast improvement from last year’s Melbourne loss to Federer, and won over a crowd which was initially in favour of the Swiss. Afterwards, he displayed appropriate reverence towards the great man.
“A lot of players, especially in the locker room, they idolise Roger. You want to pick up anything you can from this sort of a player. He is the greatest our sport’s ever had,” Tomic said.
“You learn something every time you watch him. I learned something tonight as well.”
Tomic’s image suffered last year after a terrible streak of losses and brushes with the law. Confessions he gave less than full effort in matches at New York and Shanghai earned him the nickname, “Tomic the tank engine“.
After beating world No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Hopman Cup and winning his first career title in Sydney, coupled with the commendable effort at the Australian Open, his popularity now appears to be back on rise.
But Federer offered some pointed advice when he said the big-talking Tomic should always show respect for his fellow players.
“I think it’s important to be confident but obviously you need to respect the game and the other players,” Federer said.
“I think he has a lot of respect for me but I’m only one guy out of hundreds out there, so it’s important to respect all of us because we make each other better players. We should be thankful for that.”
The top four men’s players never speak ill of each other. Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal constantly sing each other’s praises.
Meanwhile, the world No. 43 pledged to build on the performance unlike last year, when a promising showing in Melbourne was followed by a disappointing season.
“I’ve got the right goal, the mindset to do what it is I need to do. I’m going to sit down and have my rest time, train and get ready for each tournament.” – AFP