The Novak Djokovic comment that still haunts Bernard Tomic


After demolishing Bernard Tomic in straight sets in Miami three years ago, world No.1 Novak Djokovic approached the Australian in the locker room after the match.

“I still remember the one thing he said to me,” Tomic told The Sydney Morning Herald.

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“He said to me, ‘Bernard, if I had half your talent, where would I be?'”

The words have stayed with Tomic, a player who had all the talent in the world but now finds himself at “rock bottom” by his own assessment.

His quest to come back and finish his career off strongly got off to a less than perfect start after he lost during qualifying for the Australian Open. However, his explosive complaints during the match of not feeling well have now been vindicated by a positive test for COVID-19.

During a lengthy interview with Nine’s A Current Affair, Tomic outlined his plan to finish his career like he should have been spending it for the last decade.

At the age of 14, Tomic signed the most lucrative Nike deal of any sportsman his age.

He went on, aged 16, to become the youngest male to win a match at the Australian Open .

Tomic became the youngest player since Boris Becker in 1986 to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon when he took on Novak Djokovic as an 18-year-old in 2011.

“[My dad’s] expectations of me as a player were always too high,” Tomic said. “Being No.1, winning 10-20 grand slams … there was a lot of pressure put on me from my father.

“It’s not easy. People don’t see this constant world of pressure, pressure, pressure. At times, I didn’t want to play tennis.

“It was not something I enjoyed 100 per cent doing. But I was beating everyone and with winning comes a lot of good feelings with emotions as a young kid. And it grew on me.”

Tomic was reluctant to delve too deep into his relationship with his father, although couldn’t help but admitted the impact his upbringing had an impact on his slide over the years.

The former prodigy said his success can be attributed to the hours of time his father put into him, however the lasting residue was difficult to escape.

“I’m still scared of my dad,” he said.

“I wouldn’t want to be raising my kid the way I was raised.

“He’s whacked balls at me, racquets and stuff. I mean, the guy is a crazy man, for sure. But he made me who I am today. It was discipline at 100 per cent.

“When you look at it now, in a way I wouldn’t raise anyone like that. But I didn’t know any better. Parents can be a little bit … you know? He’s a good man and has a good heart and he put a lot of time and effort into making me who I am.”

Part of Tomic’s attempt to make amends for his past indiscretions is sending a message to those he wronged. Australian great Lleyton Hewitt is on the list, among others within Tennis Australia.

Tomic’s relationship with Hewitt hit its lowest point when Hewitt claimed Tomic blackmailed him and physically threatened both he and his family after he refused to give the player a wildcard to the Australian Open or pick him in Davis Cup.

Hewitt and Tomic’s relationship has been fraught since Tomic’s entourage told Hewitt that he wasn’t good enough to practice with the then 16-year-old at Wimbledon.

Despite the clashes over the years, Tomic said he hoped he could “patch things up” with the former world No.1.

“I was just a little bit forceful [to] him and said ‘if you come near me I’ll do x and x’,” Tomic revealed.

“He wanted me to do a few things that I didn’t want to do and I got a little bit arrogant, which I own up to. I know that I could have not done the things that I done or said the things I said.

“But for sure at the moment when he didn’t give me the wildcard, I probably wouldn’t have given me the wildcard. I was 250 in the world. The moment when he didn’t let me play Davis Cup, I wouldn’t have let me play Davis cup for Australia.

“So I understand his position now. When I look at it … I actually know that he’s moved to the Gold Coast so Lleyton if you’re watching let’s have a coffee. Everything I said I take back. I own up to it. Lleyton’s legacy and his tennis speaks for itself and in the future I hope to patch things up with him.”

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