Bernard Tomic’s failure to secure a spot at the Australian Open is the result of having a new batch of talented locals to choose from when wildcard spots were handed out, according to tournament boss Craig Tiley.
The former world No.17’s record-setting 15-year streak of playing at the grand slam came to a close last Saturday when Tennis Australia opted to go with youth as it handed out seven wildcard spots to Aussie players.
Derek Pham, Edward Winter and Jeremy Lin (18), Philip Sekulic James McCabe (19), and Tristan Schoolkate and Dane Sweeny (21) were among the fresh faces who got a start at Melbourne Park, leaving 30-year-old Tomic on the scrapheap for the first time since 2008.
Tomic (pictured with girlfriend Keely Hannah) reacted defiantly when he learned that he’d be absent from the Open for the first time since 2008
The 30-year-old (pictured playing at the Australian Open last year) has been passed over in favour of far younger Aussie talent
‘One thing that’s great is we’ve got a new problem – we’ve got a lot more Australian players to choose from, and that’s a great problem to have,’ Tiley explained.
‘It’s our performance team that look at the decision of wildcards.
‘What it goes into is the player coming in, or the strength of their play, how they’ve been playing, what events they’ve been playing, how much they’ve been playing. Are they the younger part of our future generation, the younger players?
‘There’s many factors that go into it and it’s not a quick decision they go through.’
Tomic – who did himself no favours when he fell out with Tennis Australia and slammed Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt – was defiant after getting the bad news.
Tomic insists ‘this year is my year’ despite falling down the rankings to be listed as the 462nd-best player on the men’s tour
‘I’m not expecting any favours. I’m going to prove my point and earn my way,’ he said.
‘I’m at a place in my life where I don’t complain anymore. I’m focused and I’ve been training hard. I’ll let my tennis do the talking.
‘Last quarter of 2022 I won three tournaments and won four finals. This year is my year. If no one is going to help support me, I’ll get back to [the] top 100 on my own.’
Tomic was the youngest player to win the junior Australian Open, taking the title aged just 15 years and three months back in 2007.
The following year he beat Italy’s Potito Starace to become the youngest male ever to win a main-draw match at the grand slam, where he reached the last 16 three times and made the third round on three more occasions.