Tomic in it for the money and that’s our prob­lem to deal with

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

Bernard

Tomic can’t see the point any more of belt­ing balls over yet an­other net. And this is a big scan­dal?

Seems so, given the fury after the 24- yearold ex­plained why he played like a zom­bie in crash­ing out in Wim­ble­don’s first round.

“I felt a lit­tle bit bored out there, to be com­pletely hon­est with you,” he con­fessed. In fact, he’d felt like that “many times”. “It’s tough to find mo­ti­va­tion … I feel hold­ing a tro­phy or do­ing well, it doesn’t sat­isfy me any more. I couldn’t care less if I make a fourthround US Open or I lose first round.”

Hey, that’s just how I felt yes­ter­day with my own job. What’s the point of it all?

And that’s de­spite me do­ing some­thing more pur­pose­ful than hit­ting stuff with a rac­quet.

But isn’t life an end­less strug­gle to find some­thing mean­ing­ful to do be­fore it’s over? Aren’t even philoso­phers stumped for an­swers?

So it’s hardly strange if Tomic can’t fig­ure it out ei­ther. Tomic is clearly burned out after be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional player at just 16. He’s now ask­ing a sane ques­tion after a decade in the sport — why ten­nis? Nor is he the only player to won­der. Nick Kyr­gios said ex­actly the same at last year’s Shang­hai Open, where he also tanked: “I was just a bit bored at times.”

And after the Ja­pan Open Kyr­gios tweeted: “Shang­hai bound now and back to it all over again. No time to stop and savour any­thing.”

So Tomic seems a trou­bled man need­ing some deep and mean­ing­fuls, yet he’s treated in­stead like a spoil­sport or even a heretic who spat on the cross.

For­mer player Brad Gil­bert told ESPN he was “ab­so­lutely dis­gusted” by Tomic’s re­marks “at the cathe­dral of our sport — Wim­ble­don”.

Hmm. Seems Tomic of­fended play­ers by ques­tion­ing their own pur­pose in life.

In­deed, ten­nis great Martina Navratilova ac­cused Tomic of trash­ing ten­nis: “It’s dis­re­spect­ful to the his­tory of the sport.”

For­mer Aus­tralian cham­pion Ren­nae Stubbs claimed Tomic was even a disgrace to his coun­try: “You’re an em­bar­rass­ment to your­self and not only the sport, but Aus­tralian ten­nis. We have such a long, beau­ti­ful his­tory at this event.”

But when did Tomic buy into our tra­di­tions or our na­tion­al­ism? He’s the ul­ti­mate mod­ern in­di­vid­u­al­ist, stripped of all that mean­ing, too.

Born in Ger­many to par­ents from Croa­tia and Bos­nia, Tomic has said he can’t see the point of play­ing any more Davis Cup for Aus­tralia: “I played so much Davis Cup in my life that it’s just some­thing that I’m not mo­ti­vated for.”

Sure, ten­nis fans would feel robbed. Tomic isn’t giv­ing the fun they’ve paid for.

But Tomic’s real sin here is in pop­ping the fan­tasy of many spec­ta­tors – that play­ers play for their fans or coun­try and not for them­selves.

As if. And if this is about money, Tomic reck­ons he’s get­ting enough of even that.

In­deed, money seems all that’s left for him to play for, and is what mo­ti­vated Tomic from the start. A fam­ily friend once told re­porters Tomic set out with two aims — to be world num­ber one and buy a Fer­rari.

Well, he’s never go­ing to make the top, but has at least now bought him­self a Lam­borgh­ini — same thing — and said yes­ter­day he’d have earned enough in just eight more years to quit.

“We all work for money… My main fo­cus is to play as much as I can un­til ( I’m) 32, 33 and after that, you know, en­joy life,” he told Fox Sports.

How per­fectly mod­ern Tomic seems. Bru­tal, frank, mer­ce­nary, self- ab­sorbed, seem­ingly unimag­i­na­tive and deaf to any ro­man­tic or moral cause worth play­ing for — not his coun­try, not his sport, not glory and not even his pride.

Well, not quite. Did you see Tomic pre­tend dur­ing his dis­as­trous game to have some­thing wrong with his back, rather than his head?

He even called for treat­ment dur­ing the sec­ond set, to sug­gest he had a phys­i­cal ex­cuse for play­ing so badly.

In that mo­ment he showed em­bar­rass­ment. So there’s still a faint pulse of pride left in Tomic — a flicker of a de­sire to show he’s ca­pa­ble of so much more. To show his spe­cial tal­ent.

Build on that, and Tomic may again find a rea­son to play well. Or to do some­thing grander than smack­ing a ball for cash.

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