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Roche berates Tomic as Australia crashes out of Davis Cup contention

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Will Brodie

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Tony Roche berates Tomic at Davis Cup

Veteran Davis Cup coach Tony Roche has berated Bernard Tomic for his lackluster performance, losing his rubber in straight sets to Florian Mayer.

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Pat Rafter gave Bernard Tomic a rocket last week, and insisted it had been a positive experience for the enigmatic Aussie tennis youngster. But veteran Davis Cup coach Tony Roche upped the ante overnight during Tomic's lacklustre loss to Florian Mayer.

Roche berated Tomic during his 91-minute, 6-4 6-2 6-3 straight sets loss, a capitulation which meant Lleyton Hewitt had to win the fifth rubber to keep Australia in the World Group. For once, the patriotic veteran was unable to deliver, his error-riddled 6-4 6-1 6-4  defeat by world No.127 Cedrik-Marcel Stebe seeing Australia consigned to the sport's second tier for the sixth year in succession.

SEN commentator Brett Phillips said Roche, sitting just behind Tomic, tore into the 19-year-old as he spoke to team captain Pat Rafter between games.

An animated Tony Roche (centre) talks to Bernard Tomic (right) as Australia's Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter looks on.

An animated Tony Roche (centre) talks to Bernard Tomic (right) as Australia's Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter looks on. Photo: Channel 7

"We don't know what was said, but it was animated," Phillips said.

Phillips guessed that the usually mild-mannered Roche was saying something along the lines of "It's on the line here … can you get some intensity about you?"

Phillips described Tomic's performance as a "really disappointing effort", and "lackadaisical".

Falling short ... Australia will be forced to play in the second-tier competition for the sixth-straight year.

Falling short ... Australia will be forced to play in the second-tier competition for the sixth-straight year. Photo: AFP

"He almost waved the white flag… he just didn't dig deep enough… he was seemingly going through the motions."

Much now rests on the shoulders of the gifted but erratic youngster, with Lleyton Hewitt reaching the end of a storied Davis Cup career.

Hewitt's mistake-prone loss saw the Australian team sent back to the Davis Cup wilderness with a soul-crushing defeat against Germany in Hamburg.

Outclassed ... Bernard Tomic was no match for Florian Mayer.

Outclassed ... Bernard Tomic was no match for Florian Mayer. Photo: Getty Images

Hewitt succumbed to world No.127 Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-4 6-1 6-4 in the deciding rubber as Australia let slip a 2-1 lead in a World Group playoff for a third straight year.

In glorious conditions at Rothenbaum Stadium, Australia's 3-2 defeat condemned the 28-time Cup winners to a sixth straight season in the competition's second tier.

Mayer ruthlessly exploited Tomic's lack of agility to force a deciding rubber. The teenager looked lost at times as Mayer deftly moved him around the court.

Tomic's defeat was expected, but Hewitt's loss to world No.127 Stebe wasn't.

Australia's greatest Davis Cup servant has a burning desire to return the nation to the top-flight before he exits the sport.

And he was favoured to finish off the job against Stebe, the home nation's 11th-highest ranked singles player having lost to Tomic in four sets on Friday.

However the young German had the benefit of playing Hewitt at this year's Australian Open and being on his favourite surface.

The South Australian jumped a tentative Stebe for an early 3-0 lead but allowed the German back in the set with a series of errors.

That sparked the home crowd to life and, with Hewitt tightening up, Stebe fed off the crowd and collected 11 of the next 12 games.

A subdued Hewitt left the court after the second set and tried to mix up his game on his return.

He looked to have steadied until the seventh game where Stebe cracked his serve for the sixth time and the German held on to claim the valuable win.

Earlier, Mayer continued where he had left off from his pummelling of Hewitt on Friday.

World No.25 Mayer and Tomic had met once on tour before Sunday's showdown with the German cleaning up the Queenslander 6-2 6-2 on hardcourt in Brisbane.

The hardened campaigner delivered another lesson to the teenager, using his drop shot to deadly effect against his heavy-footed opponent.

Mayer had demoralised Tomic by the midpoint of the second set with the Australian's shoulders starting to slump.

Australian tennis legend Paul McNamee told SEN that the disappointing Davis Cup result is a result of poor planning.

"In winning matches away, overseas countries are clearly going to play us on clay, which is Lleyton's weakest surface and Bernard Tomic's weakest surface …

"We needed to invest quite a long time ago in more clay courts and grounding juniors on how to play on clay. Surely Bernard Tomic's movement last night showed he's not yet a true clay court player and that probably should have been addressed a long time ago. I do blame the administration for doing not nearly enough about clay court tennis."

McNamee says the current administration of Tennis Australia has favoured blue hard court surfaces.

"This result is borne on the fact that not enough investment and know-how was put into this process five, six, seven years ago.

"I'm just shocked that we didn't learn the lessons from [losing to] Switzerland 12 months ago."

- with  AAP

148 comments

  • Tomic's talent is over-shadowed by his ego, lack of maturity and lack of desire. Ditch him from Davis Cup, it's obvious he doesn't want to be involved.

    Commenter
    Bushy
    Location
    the Bush
    Date and time
    September 17, 2012, 12:23PM
    • Australia needs to grow up and get over itself. With the tennis now gone and Olympic swimming wipeout we have to realise that there are more meaningful endeavours for a country than just empty and hollow sporting "greatest".

      Commenter
      Luke R
      Date and time
      September 17, 2012, 1:04PM
    • Maybe change proffesion, like bogan street racer :)

      Commenter
      It was good
      Location
      back then
      Date and time
      September 17, 2012, 1:12PM
    • A little harsh I think.. Tomic is definitely inconsistent, and prone to playing negatively when he starts badly.. But so are most pro male tennis players when they are his age. It's worth remembering that even the greats like Federer and Djokovic couldn't win consistently at his age, and had those same concentration lapses. We just are in the unfortunate position of having one of main men's star well past his prime (Hewitt), and the other (Tomic) well before his prime.
      Can understand Roche being frustrated, I think most fans are.. but whether us arm-chair critics like it or not, Tomic is the future of Aussie men's tennis and has proven he has the playing potential, if not yet the maturity, to mix it with the best.

      Commenter
      Gayle
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      September 17, 2012, 1:16PM
    • Agree entirely with your comments Bushy. Better to pick someone who actually wants to represent the country and do his best, than a spoilt brat who throws in the towel. It's unfortunate, as no doubt Tennis Australia has invested plenty in Tomic's development. Nevertheless, better to cut your losses and look elsewhere.

      Commenter
      Steve R
      Location
      McKinnon, Vic
      Date and time
      September 17, 2012, 1:21PM
    • Maybe Tony was actually having a go at convenient Australian PATRICK RAFTER. You know the bloke who calls himself Australian when it suits him, but calls himself Bermudian when it come to paying tax. We all pay more tax because of people like RAFTER.

      By the way, exactly how many Davis Cups did RAFTER win - all I can remeber is him pulling out with a sore elbow

      Commenter
      Gaz
      Location
      Yarrawonga
      Date and time
      September 17, 2012, 1:27PM
    • Agree but it seems endemic to the age group. Our 16-20 somethings are all a little too precious for their own good. They distance themselves from ownership of any problems yet embrace the spotlight at every opportunity. Team effort goes out the window in favour of individual glory. Until the spoilt brat mentality is trained out of them we will continue to see mediocrity replacing guts and real glory. Its not just our sports men and women either. Coaches and parents need to take the lead on instilling some old fashioned discipline and sense of self respect into these kids so they stick their chins up and chests out and take the knocks and own the issues.

      Commenter
      Old bastard
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      September 17, 2012, 1:38PM
    • Tennis is a sport for individuals who already have an innate sense of ego. Trying to make it a 'team' sport with comps like the Davis is cup is a joke. No tennis player ever got into professional tennis with the aim of representing their country. It's all about individual glories and money. Fun to play, but!

      Commenter
      McHaggot
      Location
      Brunswick
      Date and time
      September 17, 2012, 1:45PM
    • Tomic clearly wants to be famous more than he wants to be a winner.
      He demonstrates the entitlement attitude so many Australian's share.
      Rather than expect it ... Go earn it!

      Commenter
      Joe
      Location
      Geelong
      Date and time
      September 17, 2012, 1:46PM
    • Maybe the Davis Cup is an anachronism.
      Tomic is good but has his limitations, and may always be a patchy player who can beat the best but not all the time.
      And Roche needs to find a life outside tennis.

      Commenter
      bill
      Date and time
      September 17, 2012, 2:04PM

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