John Tomic

Alarm Calls for Roger Federer as Martina Hingis Storms Back into Tennis — The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

Roger Federer on a losing streakTailspin

Another tournament and another surprising early exit for Federer, as the Swiss goes out in two routine sets to Daniel Brands in Gstaad.  The good news for Federer fans is that the Maestro has never been one to quickly panic and shows no signs of looking like he’s getting ready to throw the towel in anytime soon.  In fact, he’s already committed to Brisbane next season.  But this latest loss undoubtedly has some alarm bells sounding in Federer’s head.  He’s having some issues adjusting to the new racquet and is also unsure which stick he’ll be using on the summer hard courts.  In addition to Federer being in limbo regarding his racquet, his mental toughness has also taken a hit. You can read the increasing doubt on his face, and that doubt is creeping into his game as evidenced by the unforced errors that continue to mount in each match.  To say that the next few months are “do-or-die” might be an overstatement, but they are certainly critical.  How he fairs the remainder of 2013 could have a major impact on how long it takes him to right the ship and determine whether or not he hangs around for Rio in 2016.

Heartbreak

Another sentimental favorite who suffered a tough loss this week was Mardy Fish.  The American was in Atlanta, making just his fourth appearance since the US Open last season.  Up a set, it looked like Fish might be able to start his return to competition with a win.  But a rain delay and a refusal to fold from veteran Michael Russell saw the lower-ranked American upset his countryman and advance at his expense.  The defeat itself was understandable.  Fish played well all things considered, but he had been out of the game for over four months.  With no substitute for match play, nerves likely helped play a part in his loss.  What was troubling about Fish’s loss, however, was that he wasn’t available for comment afterwards – something that has happened in the past just prior to Fish taking an extended leave of absence.  American tennis fans will wait with baited breath to see how Fish follows up this latest setback and whether it will include the commitment to carry on or hang it up for good.

Give and Take

Thanks to an overwhelming 47-1 vote by the New York City Council, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center has been approved for a $500 million expansion.  Not surprisingly, a large part of the expansion will be devoted to the renovation of the older facilities “that have reached the end of their useful lives.”  But the USTA isn’t the only one benefiting from the deal.  In exchange for the approval, the USTA has agreed   to start a non-profit group to help fund Flushing Meadows, host a yearly job fair for the residents in Queens, serve as a potential host to high school graduation ceremonies, and provide tennis coaching programs for area children.  All in all, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Changing Tunes

John Tomic has finally been brought to court for the much-publicized events that took place before the start of the Madrid Masters, and depending on who you believe, is possibly changing his story, along with his son, from what they originally told police back in May.  Bernard Tomic is claiming his father told him the day of the incident that it was the hitting partner, Drouet, who hit him.  John Tomic is also insisting that it was Drouet who started the fight and doesn’t “know how” Drouet fell down.  Both Tomics are blaming the alleged misunderstanding on police officers who had a poor grasp of English.  Time will tell if there really was a misunderstanding or if this is just John Tomic trying to weasel his way out of trouble – and given his track record, the latter seems more plausible.  If that is indeed the case, Bernard Tomic had better wise up, or the court is going to give him a lot more to worry about than his forehand.

Stay Awhile

It appears that Martina Hingis’ decision to play doubles with Hantuchova in California won’t be just a one-off.  The former No. 1 is planning to play doubles in some other big events this summer, including Toronto, Cincinnati, and the year’s last major, the US Open.  Say what you want about Hingis from a personal standpoint, but from a tennis perspective, there are few in the modern game who can match her court craft and guile.  What she lacks in size and power she makes up for with impossible angles and exquisite touch.  With any luck, these summer hard court events will be the start of something bigger, but if not, get your tickets and take the opportunity to see some of the greatest hands in the game work their magic one more time.

Roland Garros Day 2: Links Roundup with Monfils, Ivanovic, Stakhovsky, Kyrgios and more

Roland Garros Roundup takes you through the Slam’s hot stories of the day, both on and off the court.

  • Shot of the day: Gael Monfils’ surprise win over world No. 6 Tomas Berdych has been the result of the tournament so far. His four-hour, 7-6(8), 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-7(4), 7-5 win had the Parisian crowd on their feet, and commentators and fans alike dropping their jaws at the athleticism of both players, particularly the Frenchman.
  • Li Na’s first round victory clouded by chaotic officiating:  Serving a set down and 4-4 30-40 in the second set, Na’s opponent, Annabel Medina Garrigues hit a backhand down the line which was initially called out, overruled by umpire Louise Engzell, and then as Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times reports, “Engzell pivoted to face Medina Garrigues and told her she would lose the point because she softly said ‘no’ constituting hindrance” after Na argued with Engzell over the call.   Medina Garrigues conceded the point and engaged Engzell in a lengthy debate over the hindrance rule on the changeover before losing the final game of the match. Oh, and she brought up Maria Sharapova’s grunting. Of course.
  • Sergiy Stakhovsky moonlights as tennis’s newest photojournalist: Sergiy Stakhovsky was visibly frustrated over an out call in the first set of his opening match with Richard Gasquet so much so, that he took a picture of the mark in question and posted it for the twitter world to see.  As Courtney Nguyen of Sports Illustrated points out, Stakhovsky’s photography prowess has precedent as the Ukranian took a photo of a disputed call several weeks ago also in Munich. Will this become a monthly occurrence by the Ukranian? 
  • John Tomic banned for good:  Despite the International Tennis Federation permitting Bernard Tomic’s father from entering the French Open as paying spectator after he assaulted Bernard’s hitting partner in Madrid, the French Open organizers, as ESPN reports, “will not let Bernard Tomic’s father into Roland Garros, even as paying spectator.” 

“That I was an honest person, that I always tried to look for the silver lining. And I hope people will say that I was a great tennis player, even if there are more important things in life.”

  • American women flying high:  Though Americans are usually not known for their clay court skills, the American woman had a stellar day at the French Open, going 6-1 on the day including wins by Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Melanie Oudin, who ousted 28th-seeded Tamira Paszek in straight sets.  Lauren Davis,  Coco Vandeweghe, and Jamie Hampton hope to repeat the success the American women had Monday as they take to the court for their opening round matches tomorrow. 

“When you’re good in the juniors, it doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to be good in men’s tennis,” Stepanek said.  “But definitely he has some talent. He’s serving big and if he keeps working hard, he definitely has a chance.”

Check back on Wednesday for more “Roland Garros Roundup”!

Roland Garros Day 1: Links Roundup with Monica Puig, Blaz Kavcic, John Tomic, Piotr Wozniacki

Roland Garros Roundup takes you through the Slam’s hot stories of the day, both on and off court.

  • Gilles Simon sweeps mom off her feet: World No. 18 Gilles Simon rallied from two sets down to take out Lleyton Hewitt in an expectedly drawn out and physically taxing three hour match on a cold and dreary Paris afternoon, to take it 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5. After squandering a 5-0 lead and two match points in the fifth set, Simon sealed the deal breaking the Aussie in the final game of the match to take it. The relief and happiness expressed by Simon after his win paled in comparison to the reaction of his mother, who Simon kindly offered flowers to following the match. Really, it was the least he could do following the insane amount of stress he must have put her through, especially in the fifth set. Prior to the grueling win, Simon sat down with Eurosport for an exclusive interview, divulging that Roland Garros feels “like a party for everyone.” Wonder if he still feels that way.
  • Pablo Carreño-Busta handily welcomed by Roger Federer: While Roger Federer’s first round match was a straightforward win over the Spanish upstart Pablo Carreño-Busta, the 21-year-old has an impressive game with some recent notable results. Though the Spaniard was very much overwhelmed and outclassed in his grand slam debut, he has recorded 39 straight victories at the futures level with seven titles. And as Tom Perrota of the Wall Street Journal reports, Carreño-Busta is not ready to let this result against Federer hinder his progression and will get back to work in just over a week in Italy.

“It was my first match in a Grand Slam, first match in Roland Garros, first match in center court, and my first match against Roger Federer,” he said. “So it was very nice, but very difficult.”

  • “Pica” Powers over Petrova: 19 year-old Puerto Rican Monica Puig scored a major upset in her first ever grand slam victory, coming back from a set down to take out 11th seed, Nadia Petrova. Puig, who has been nicknamed “Pica” by her followers, has a diminutive stature but she certainly compensates for her lack of size with an abundance of power and potency from the ground. After being down a break at 4-3 in the third set, Puig took matters into her own hands and hit her way through to the finish line, winning the final three games of the match. For those less familiar with Puig, Lindsay Gibbs of The Changeover put together a fabulous piece giving tennis fans a glimpse of the exciting and charming Puerto Rican.
  • Serena Williams marches through: Serena Williams was intent on not having a repeat experience from last year’s French Open where she lost to relative unknown Virginie Razzano in the first round. This time around, she thrashed Anna Tatishvili 6-0, 6-1 in just over 50 minutes in the same round. Despite looking at ease and being in stride throughout the duration of the match, Williams admitted afterward that nerves have sometimes gotten the best of her:

“I’m always a little nervous going into first round matches at Slams. This time I wasn’t as nervous as I was at other Grand Slams, though. But for the most part I felt pretty safe and felt good about my game and that if I just do what I did in practice, I’ll be okay.”

  • Loopholes exposed in John Tomic’s favor: Bernard Tomic takes to the court for his opening round match against Romanian Victor Hanescu Tuesday and shockingly enough, his father, John Tomic will be in attendance. As Will Swanton of The Australian describes, John Tomic will be able to evade the bans imposed by the ATP and the ITF for physically assaulting Tomic’s hitting partner, Thomas Drouet by “entering the grounds as a paying customer.”
  • Piotr Wozniacki decides to stop coaching daughter: In news that many fans will be quite pleased with, Caroline Wozniacki’s father and coach, Piotr, has publically announced his intentions of ending his role as his daughter’s coach. In an article translated from Danish, Piotr laid out his dissatisfaction with his current position saying “I am an adult and I do not want to travel around all the time. I want my own life.” He added that, “This is, of course, not my job. It takes too much energy from me and I become less and less my own person. I do not have friends and contacts, and I do not live the life I want.”

“We don’t want to finish very late in the night. We are not going to do like our American friends with the night sessions (at the U.S. Open) starting late and sometimes never ending. But we do indeed want to have a dedicated night session.”

  •  In case you’re still itching for a forecast for the rest of the fortnight at Roland Garros, the entire Tennis Grandstand team has you covered with elaborate previews and predictions of both the men’s draw and women’s draw.

Check back on Tuesday for more “Roland Garros Roundup”!

ATomic Dilemma

by James A. Crabtree

Arguably the most hated Australian tennis player since a young Lleyton Hewitt, life isn’t easy for Bernard Tomic.

In fact Bernie has almost gone in search of bad press. There was the turning down of Lleyton Hewitt as a practice partner. The allegations he was going to quit Australia at his father’s behest and play for Croatia. In the 2012 Miami Masters he asked the chair umpire to remove his own father. During last years US Open John McEnroe accused Tomic of tanking a loss to Andy Roddick. Following all that he angered the old guard of Australian tennis with apparent refusal to play Davis Cup. And then we have the numerous driving issues, too numerous to mention.

Nevertheless Tomic is also the man with the best chance of restoring Australian tennis fortunes.

It must be tough for him. Most people find young men in their late teens and early twenties irritating to the say the least. Unless you are a fifteen year old girl chances are you also find Justin Bieber and One Direction intolerable.

Another difficulty for Tomic is the daddy dilemma as Bernard is not the person with the biggest ego among his entourage.

What on earth is young Bernie supposed to you?

The youngest Wimbledon quarterfinalist since Boris Becker in 1985 Tomic started 2013 well. He won all three of his singles Hopman Cup matches against none other than Tommy Haas, Novak Djokovic and Andreas Seppi. He then went onto win Sydney. There he beat Marinko Matosevic, Florian Mayer, Jarkko Nieminen, Andreas Seppi (again), and Kevin Anderson for his tenth win in a row and his first career singles title.

Quickly Tomic went from being loathed to loved.

The following week at the Australian Open, Leonardo Mayer and Daniel Brands fell victim. By this time the whole of Australia was in a flutter and Tomic was not only invincible, but was displaying the sort of ego not seen since Clubber Lang.

Then there was the rumoured incident before the big Australian Open 3rd round match. On the practice court where John Tomic is notoriously hot headed Bernie sat after practice, his dad stood behind and berated him incessantly for ten minutes. Eventually Bernie walked off shaking his head. Not the best possible way to get a sense of Zen before a match?

Bernie went on to lose the match, and hasn’t won more than two matches in a row since. Of course his drop in form went unnoticed until dad John reportedly beat up Bernie’s hitting partner Thomas Drouet. Complications have heightened further since Drouet has come forward with other incidences.

What is Bernie supposed to do?

Judy Murray once commented that talent got her son, Andy Murray, within the top 100, but it was hard work and determination that propelled him to the heights he now knows. Compare the 2013 Andy Murray with the 2005 version of himself and we could be looking at a different athlete.

It is obvious that Bernard could administer similar changes.

This poses the question, who would be the perfect person to guide arguably the most naturally talented youngster on tour? Tennis Australia are already trying to help solve the crisis, and undoubtedly all the familiar names will arise such as Tony Roche, Pat Rafter and Scott Draper. Again akin to the LTA Brad Gilbert hiring for Andy Murray perhaps the best coach for the player is not one made by a committee. And besides, Bernie has had more than his fair share of runs with a number of high profile Australian coaches during Davis Cup play already. Perhaps he needs someone with an old school work hard mentality similar to Ivan Lendl or someone who can understand the games intricate details such as Andy Roddick’s old coach Larry Stefanki.

Sacking the only coach you have ever known would be difficult enough, now imagine starting that ordeal with the word ‘Dad’. Bernard obviously needs a new coach, but probably deep down worries about what his father will do without him.