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