Bernard Tomic speaks to the media after his defeat. Photo: AFP
COULD Bernard Tomic declare that he had given a 100 per cent effort in his first-round match in Shanghai yesterday? No. ''Today I gave about 85 per cent,'' he said.
Could his opponent, German Florian Mayer, say that Tomic tried his best? Unfortunately, but not damningly, no, he could not.
Tomic lost 6-4, 6-0 at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, winning just eight points in a lamentable second set reminiscent of the closing stages of his recent US Open clash against Andy Roddick that John McEnroe, in the commentary box, labelled ''a tank job''.
Tomic's candour is to be admired, even if the denouement of his latest on-court performance was not.
''Today I gave 100 per cent in the first set,'' he said. ''I felt in the second set, my 100 per cent wasn't even close to where it should be. That's where I think mentally … the mental skill is one of my biggest problems.''
Asked earlier if he had been injured in the second set, Tomic said: ''Mentally I was, that's for sure.''
The teenager admits his brain is fried, and his body labouring, a victim of both his own poor scheduling and the pressure that comes with the heightened expectations in his second full ATP season.
''It's been a long year,'' said Tomic, who turns 20 this month and remains the youngest player in the top 100. ''I played a lot of tournaments [25, plus three Davis Cup ties]. Haven't had time to rest … I think it's costing me now the last few months. My performance has not been as good.
''Obviously I'm learning. It's all tough. There's a lot of things thrown at you. I feel last year was a different year. I wasn't expected to do good. That's where I came inside the top 40 at the age of 18. That's where I proved I can play.
''This year has been a little bit different. It's been defending points, defending stuff. I started feeling the pressure. I wasn't prone to pressure growing up … Now I think it's starting to hit me the last five, six months. It's costing me. It's been a massive road this year.''
The first eight games against Mayer went with serve, but the German claimed the last eight, Tomic seeming to lose heart, and much interest, after dropping serve to love to open the second set.
It was Tomic's ninth first-round loss this season. He has only won consecutive tour matches four times since leaving Australia in January.
''I didn't expect it, but when I saw his first game in the second set I knew I had to stay tough and he was broken,'' said Mayer, who now plays US Open champion Andy Murray.
''I also don't fight every match because it's tough, but I try my best.''
Qualifier Marinko Matosevic was the second Australian first-round loser, falling 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 to Canadian 12th seed Milos Raonic.
Linda Pearce is a guest of the Shanghai Rolex Masters.