Tomic delight at battling win
Australia's Bernard Tomic admitted he was proud of the fighting spirit he needed to beat Tommy Haas in the Hopman Cup team competitionPT1M24S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2c1xe 620 349 December 31, 2012
TONY Roche is keeping the faith that one of Australia's great sporting jigsaws, Bernard Tomic, can put it all together and fulfil his destiny as a long-term world top-10 player.
And the Australian Davis Cup mentor brushed aside any suggestion that his relationship with the 20-year-old had suffered after he delivered a not-so-subtle courtside rev-up in a tie against Germany in Hamburg in September.
Tomic's career took a nosedive in a forgettable latter half of 2012, but there is evidence of a fresh beginning.
Bernard Tomic presents an ongoing conundrum to Australian tennis administrators. Photo: AFP
Tomic staged a determined comeback against Tommy Haas in the Hopman Cup in Perth on Saturday night to show some serious signs of a beating heart, winning 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 7-5 and overcoming a 6-1 deficit in the first-set tie-breaker.
It was the kind of courage Roche and Pat Rafter, the Davis Cup captain, have desired for so long from Tomic, who was recently dumped from Rafter's team as he tries to rebuild his game and reputation.
Tomic was saying all the right things after beating Haas, indicating he has a new desire for the fight on the court and would chase down everything, much like the most-recent standard bearer of the Australian men's game, Lleyton Hewitt.
That is music to the ears of Roche, who retains confidence Tomic can make the kind of choices that will make him a staple among the top men over coming years.
''Obviously you don't do as well as what he did at Wimbledon - and some of the matches at the Australian Open - without having a lot of talent,'' Roche said.
''I think everybody knows that if Bernard puts his mind to it and gets stuck into training, he can be top 10. The ball's pretty much in Bernard's court.
''I would hope he takes it [advice] all on board and says 'I'm at the age where I need to mature and let my racquet do the talking'. There's no question he's got the talent and he can do it.''
Tomic presents an ongoing conundrum to Australian tennis administrators. He brings a fistful of issues to the table but remains the clear candidate to make the breakthrough that will reinvigorate the Australian game in the post-Hewitt era.
Roche is gradually easing himself back from Davis Cup duties but has no issues working with Tomic.
He has already cleared the air about their animated discussion in Tomic's match against Florian Mayer, a straight-sets loss that helped ensure Australia remained in the second tier for the sixth year.
''It may have appeared worse than what it was,'' Roche said. ''Bernard, he was struggling playing the guy. He was just frustrated. I said, 'look mate, just get stuck into it'. He said, 'what's the point'? But we were fine. There was nothing in it really.
''I think we all forget he's still very young. It's all very new to him. He's playing these hardened professionals. Sometimes it takes a little time.
''But I have no doubt he's going to make it. And with all that's happened, he's going to be better for it.
''I get along well with Bernard. I've got a lot of time for him. He's got a funny side to him. If he can put it all together, he'll be a big star. There's no doubt about that.''
Tomic doesn't boast the kind of power game like the top guns of the men's draw but Roche said he hoped he persevered with his tricky style, which he believes can cause serious damage if he can add some refinements and court smarts.