Tomic retiring: We should 'take his word' on injury
After Bernard Tomic retired from play and was loudly booed, tennis writers Linda Pearce and Peter Hanlon agree we don't know the extent of his injury and should accept his decision.PT2M23S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-30uc9 620 349 January 15, 2014
Bernard Tomic insists he risked being out of the game for up to four months if he had played on through a groin injury in his opening-round Australian Open match against world No.1 Rafael Nadal.
Tomic said he first felt the groin injury during a practice session on Monday and had been taking medication before the match, but called the trainer after just three games and declared himself unable to continue at the end of an opening set he lost 6-4 in 41 minutes.
He was jeered by the crowd after withdrawing, but he was adamant he had made the right choice - a decision supported on Wednesday by former Australian greats.
Australian Open Day 3: Serena Williams v Vesna Dolonc
Serena Williams of the United States plays a forehand in her second round match against Vesna Dolonc of Serbia. Photo: Getty
The 21-year-old returned to Melbourne Park on Wednesday afternoon after receiving scans - which revealed an adductor longus tear - to set the record straight and defend his decision to pull the pin.
''I think it's important for me to come out like this,'' Tomic said of the snap press conference.
''A lot of people showed up last night, you know, expecting a very good match. A lot of people paid [for] their tickets. It's disappointing for that to happen. The form I was in, I was ready to challenge Rafa and unfortunately this happened. I felt like I got booed a little bit on court, which was pretty unfair. I just needed to get my side out, which is, you know, obviously the truth and it's important.
Bernard Tomic speaks to the media on Wednesday. Photo: Getty Images
''I think I was misunderstood. Obviously they thought I was shaking Rafa's hand because he's too good and I'm forfeiting the match because I can't play against him. So I needed to say it was my leg. I don't think they quite understood that it was my leg. And after, when I started to sort of explain that with my hand signals, they sort of turned it around into an applause.''
Despite avoiding serious injury, Tomic is unlikely to be fit for Australia's first Davis Cup tie on January 31 against the French on clay in France, with the injury to keep him out of action for one to three weeks.
Going up against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon was always going to be a tough ask for Australia, but even Tomic insists it will be even more difficult without him.
''Right now [my chances are] probably not looking good, which is a shame,'' Tomic said. ''It's a very important tie for us. You know, we've got to take on Gasquet and Tsonga on clay. If I'm not on the team, obviously Marinko [Matosevic] is going to probably have to step up and play. His Davis Cup record isn't that great, but he's going to have to change and work hard the next few weeks.''
While Tomic didn't earn any admirers on Tuesday night, he insists he's misunderstood by the Australian public. ''I think everyone sort of looks at you differently. Being good, being talented, and being young is something, you know, that I had and have. Obviously I have had these issues in the past, but you've got to focus. You have got to learn how to handle it, I think.''
Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Jason Stoltenberg, now coaching rising women's star Ashleigh Barty, said Tomic's discomfort appeared genuine. ''Unless he's a really good actor, his leg looked like it was hurting too much,'' Stoltenberg said.
''So it appeared like he was hurt and he had a potential three hours ahead of him against Rafa, and
probably did the math and figured out that he was in deep trouble.
''I can't see any reason why Bernie wouldn't want to play that match. It's a tough draw, but someone's gotta play these guys, and until he gets himself in a position where he's seeded, it's always gonna happen.''
Stoltenberg said Tomic may have been judged on his history, which has included several allegations of tanking, including against Andy Roddick at the 2012 US Open. ''That's just natural. Everyone knows, everyone talks about it, so when he has a legitimate injury, people are gonna question it now.''
Another former top 20 singles player and doubles star, Mark Woodforde, sympathised with the often-maligned 21-year-old. ''To beat the best you have to feel 100 per cent yourself. He was managing well but managing isn't enough against Rafa,'' said Woodforde. ''I think the crowd reaction was because there was such a build-up and they were missing out on a good match. I don't think they were coming down on him.
''What was the point of staying out there if he couldn't give 100 per cent?''