Did Bernard Tomic just diss Roger Federer, and vice versa?

Roger Federer in press ahead of the Australian Open

January 13, 2013 — Young Australian hopeful and first time ATP title winner, Bernard Tomic, feels “unstoppable” going into this week’s Australian Open. His confidence is riding high after defeating world No. 31 Kevin Anderson in three sets for the Sydney title over the weekend, but has his ego gone too far?

With his defeat of Anderson combined with his recent exhibition match win against world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Tomic is intent to keep his good luck going.

“When you know that no one can beat you, not even the No. 1, you got a good feeling,” stated Tomic. “You’re so confident. That’s going to be taken down to Melbourne and I’m going to use that for every match I play there. “

Tomic took the short flight to Melbourne and was already doing press on Sunday, revealing his views on a potential third round encounter at the Australian Open with 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. When asked if he believes he can beat the world No. 2, Tomic surprised everyone with his response.

“Well, if he gets that far.”

As a dumbstruck fan, I could easily call Tomic arrogant. But his response to this question shows us just how far his confidence has come, whether delusional or realistic. Questioning his opponent’s ability will probably help him sleep better at night — never mind that it’s the Swiss king himself we are talking about here. Tomic continued:

“I would love to get in that position to play Roger in the third round. [But] he has to get there as well.”

Tomic is no stranger to controversy. Whether it’s his defiance of the law by way of his sports car, a drama-filled naked brawl with another male on a rooftop pool, or continued rocky (and very public) relationship with his father and coach, Tomic is anything but quiet. Perhaps his need to always defend himself has converted into a need to overexpose himself in order to feel important or successful. But he’s barking up the wrong tree when it comes to “deucing” with Federer.

In his own pre-tournament press conference at the Australian Open, Federer (perhaps preemptively) commented that Tomic has his own “work cut out” for him in the first and second rounds, even before the two may potentially meet.

“He will be making a mistake about thinking about me in the third round because he also has to get there,” Federer stated.

The dissing phrases of both Federer and Tomic are eerily similar,  and it makes you wonder who really took the first jab and who is just playing verbal catch up.

Federer has a clever way of answering questions without actually answering the question, and the following regarding Tomic’s prospective top 10 ranking by year’s end was no exception.

Q.  Is he a player you can see jumping into the top 10 in the next 12 months?

“I think we should go step by step, see how it goes,” Federer responded. “Let’s speak in a year’s time. Everybody wants to jump from — what’s his ranking, 60? — to 10 in a year. It’s hard to do … Yeah, let’s go step by step.”

And there you have it folks, the newest (potential) rivalry in men’s tennis has been born. Now let’s just hope Tomic puts on a good fight on the court to warrant his verbal jabs at Federer.