Bernard Tomic remains undecided about contesting the Australian Open wildcard playoff amid concerns from tennis great John Newcombe that the fallen star is “wasting his life”.
Having spiralled down the rankings to No142 in the world after a horror 2017 featuring just 10 wins, Tomic has missed direct entry to his home grand slam event starting on January 15.
Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt and Tennis Australia’s head of performance Wally Masur overlooked the 25-year-old for a wildcard last week, instead handing one to Thanasi Kokkinakis. Hewitt and Masur want Tomic to prove his fitness at the 16-man playoff at Melbourne Park from December 11-17, but the one-time Davis Cup spearhead and Wimbledon quarter-finalist has yet to commit.
Tomic’s agent on Wednesday said his charge had yet to decide, having earlier planned to enter the qualifying events for both the Open and Brisbane International starting on December 31. As the Australian No.5 behind Nick Kyrgios, Matt Ebden, Jordan Thompson and John Millman, Tomic would be top seed should he contest the wildcard playoff.
Newcombe suspects the former world No17 – who has reached the fourth round of the Open three times and was Australia’s last man standing last year in making the final 32 – isn’t up to grand-slam demands.
Like all matches at the Australian Open, the wildcard playoff will be best-of-five-sets and Tomic would need to win four matches in seven days. “From what I’ve been told by the other players, Bernie’s just not fit,” the former world No.1 told AAP.
“They say he’s probably 50 or 60 per cent fit.
“So it’s up to Bernie. He’s wasting his life unless he goes and finds a really good trainer and spends six months getting his body into shape.
“Then he has a chance to get back. And if he doesn’t do that, he’s got no chance.”
Tomic this year candidly admitted he sometimes only gave “30 per cent” effort in some matches and probably put in “around 50 per cent” on average over the course of his career.
Newcombe is adamant the one-time junior prodigy’s only chance of reviving his career is by “making that decision to get himself 100 per cent fit”.
“I know that Lleyton and Jason Stoltenberg have been begging him to do it and he keeps saying he will and he hasn’t,” Newcombe said.
“So you can lead the horse to water but you can’t make him drink and, until Bernie decides he wants to drink, he’s not going to make anything.”