Bernard “The Tank Engine” Tomic. The flamboyant Australian. He’s made some questionable remarks and his calibre as a tennis player is a question mark due to his recent performance. Add to the fact that the man tends to oversell himself during press conferences leaves sports fans, especially Australian tennis fans frustrated. There’s no doubt that the man is incredibly talented, seeing that he has no stand out weapon. His game is all brains.
It wasn’t exactly a surprise when he said that he felt “bored” while he was playing Mischa Zverev. And looking at the full statement, the media took a tit bit of the statement to make it seem that he was being flippant, while he was just being blunt. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning his statement, but the media tends to make things look much worse than it actually is.
*Insert tennis great’s name* even defended Tomic, saying that not only was Tomic’s statement a very honest sentiment, but also that every other tennis player has at some point gone through what Tomic is feeling. And he isn’t wrong. In a gruelling tour that’s not very rewarding, several players might be questioning their convictions. And it’s honestly saddening that he’s facing so much flak for a statement that seemed to be very honest, albeit in slightly poor taste. How many of you drag yourself out of a bed to go to work, even though you hate it? Tennis is a profession just like any other, and that a player might not love it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
However, his medium and time of conveying this message is questionable, to put it lightly. If I were working a white collar job and I hate it, you can be sure that I’d complain it to my coworkers, my family and to an extent, even my boss. But if I were to go to one of the largest corporate conventions where I have to do a presentation of what I do, I wouldn’t make it public that I hate my job and that I don’t see the purpose in what I’m doing right now. If I were, I would be expecting consequences, which I have to face.
It’s the same here. Why did Tomic have to convey this in one of the largest stages in the history of the sport for all its fans, admirers and on a tournament level, for all the authorities and directors and managers to hear.
At the same time, should his consequences be as dire as it is? Head announced that they severed their ties with him due to the fact that what he said doesn’t represent head and what it stands for. And this is the same company that stood by Sharapova when she revealed she had been banned for doping.
You also have to consider the fact that Bernard’s father is an emotionally abusive parent. Back in 2012, Tomic requested the umpire, mid-match, to remove his father. His father has also been banned from the ATP tour for twelve months because he headbutted and assaulted his hitting partner. A lot of his frustrations probably stem from how his father behaves. It’s more than likely that he micromanages his son(He’s adamantly told other players that they’re not good enough to hit with him). Though this is not an excuse, it’s an explanation for some of his antics and why he behaves in such a way.
Finding motivation in something you dislike is difficult, but I sincerely hope that Bernard finds the drive he needs to achieve all that he’s capable of. His talent ceiling is high, and he’s 24, running on 25. He’s still capable of making it big on the tour, and he certainly can if he puts his mind to it.