James Crabtree is currently in Melbourne Park covering the Australian Open for Tennis Grandstand and is giving you all the scoop directly from the grounds.
By James Crabtree
MELBOURNE — There is a classic line in the 80’s Hoosiers basketball movie that has never been more apparent.
“Look, mister, there’s… two kinds of dumb, uh… guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and, uh, guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don’t matter, the second one you’re kinda forced to deal with.”
Australia may be Bernard Tomic’s country, but the Australian Open is Roger Federer’s living room.
As soon as the draw was released the hype has been building of a possible Tomic Federer clash. “Well, if he gets that far,” was Tomic’s retort to his possible match-up with Federer that is now guaranteed.
Bernard has been talking big and playing big since a transformation took place in Perth and the Hopman Cup, where he registered that win over Novak Djokovic then went onto Sydney and captured his first ATP title. He now has ten wins in a row.
”I feel so confident. This is the perfect time to play him,” Tomic said. ”I think I’ve got a good attitude to win. I’ve beaten a lot of good players over the past two weeks, especially Novak. I think I can do it.”
Tomic, like us all, relies on confidence.
The reports that Bernard Tomic has suddenly grown up, matured, become a better man etcetera could be true and he has every right to be smug and confident while he is winning because at the moment he is on a winning streak. But not so long ago he was driving Pat Rafter and Tony Roche Davis Cup. Following that were various other tour tanks, a rumoured five days of fast food binging on route to the loss against Roddick at the U.S. where Bernard garnered the nickname Tomic the Tank Engine and the various issues with his BMW. And there will always be the still very testy relationship with his dad, no matter how much he praises him to the press.
More accurately than anything, Tomic has started winning, and thus public opinion of him has shifted. All the questions about his serve and the overuse of his slice backhand have been forgotten. Once again his unique style has become labelled as genius. To many an observer his game has changed very little, it’s just his enigmatic style is now paying off.
We should remember there is a reason Roger Federer has 76 career titles including 17 grand slams. It’s because he wins against good guys, bad guys, nice guys, thin guys, fat guys, stupid guys and big talking young guys.
“Look, I have so much more experience than him,” Federer said.
If anybody has reason to be smug it is Federer. He has played Tomic three times with victory becoming easier on each occasion.
Probably not the best idea to walk into a forest with a stick looking for a hornet’s nest?