Bernard Tomic at risk of 'wast­ing his life' says John New­combe

The Guardian Australia - - Sport - Aus­tralian As­so­ci­ated Press

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 one­time 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.”

Ear­lier this year Tomic ad­mit­ted he only gave ‘30 per cent’ in some matches, or ‘50’ on av­er­age. Pho­to­graph: Ja­son Reed/ Reuters

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