Bernard Tomic is ranked No. 514 on the ATP Tour. He is seeded No. 1 as he attempts to win his third ITF title of the season at the 2022 Greenview Development & Majestic Realty Men’s Pro Tennis Open in Austin. For the average World Tennis Tour player, he would be having a pretty good season. But Tomic’s career has been far from average.
At age 13, Tomic (pronounced TOM-mish) pulled out of school in Australia to train up to 10 hours a day. By 14, he had signed the biggest deal any athlete his age had ever received with Nike. Tennis expected a lot out of Tomic after he had won junior singles titles at Australian Open in 2008 and the U.S. Open 2009. In 2011, at age 18, he became the youngest player to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals since Boris Becker. In January 2016, he reached No. 17 in the world.
All of these expectations came with pressure that Tomic now acknowledges he could not handle.
“I played seven or eight tournaments, and I just wasn’t mentally there,” Tomic said earlier this week. “Still playing, still going through the motions, but not really there.” He was fined for tanking matches, and in 2014 lost an ATP match in a record 28 minutes 20 seconds.
In 2021, as his ranking continued to slide down to a year-end No. 253, he didn’t get past the second round of any event.
The Australian, now 30, is making his comeback by playing in the lowest rungs of the pro tour. He won two singles titles at the M15s in Cancun in September and reached the final at the M25 Harlingen, Texas, in October.
Cancun was the first professional tournament Tomic has won in four years — the last one was the ATP 250 Chengdu in 2018. He’s starting to find his stride as he begins to find his “why” for playing. He doesn’t want to prove anything to anybody but himself.
Part of Tomic 2.0 is a new diet. He became a vegan, which he has attributed to feeling healthier and recovering faster.
“I have one more shot to turn this around,” said Tomic, who opens against wild card Philip Henning, a South African who earned All-SEC honors at Georgia.
By Ignacio Perez /Photo by Ryan Cerna