Not for a minute am I suggesting young Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic is immature. That said, it’d be better if he took his anger out on his bathtime rubber duckie instead of the immaculate turf of Wimbledon.

Turf war… Tomic teaches the belligerent lawn a lesson

Seriously, far be it for a balding suburban slob like me to suggest a 19 year old isn’t entitled to show some raw emotion. It’s just that, well, you’d love to see some of that aggression channelled into smashing his opponents instead of his own racquets.

Look, clearly Tomic has grown up of late. Everyone around him will tell you that almost as as eagerly as young Bernie himself. And y’know, you’d almost be inclined to believe him if it wasn’t so damned obvious he’s wearing a huge nappy under those oversized shorts.

The guy’s still a kid. I get that. He doesn’t have to be as gracious as that late blooming Aussie tennis statesman Lleyton Hewitt. All the same, it’d be great if if he didn’t make his career a replay of the Hewitt early years in HD with surround sound.

Tomic has beaten some pretty big guns, and made the Wimbledon quarters last year aged 18, so he’s clearly growing up fast. So there’s no reason to worry that he just got beaten by some Belgian dude who looks like a 14 year old Michael J Fox.

Hey, nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes when we’re young. And give Bernie credit. He did a Michael Clarke and gave up that troublesome sports car. Apparently he traded it in for Stinky the Matchbox garbage truck.

Tomic’s game has matured too, if by “matured” you mean hitting the same wristy forehand slap shot every point, regardless of whether attack or defence is needed in the rally. As Wally Masur said overnight, “his game is fine.” Hey, Wally would know.

Masur also said, after interviewing Tomic a couple of days ago: “he actually surprised me just how on top of so many things he was. I mean he’s obviously a bit of a thinker.”

Oh, Tomic is a thinker, all right. He thinks an awful lot of himself.

Let’s not judge the guy too harshly. Time is still on his side. Roger Federer didn’t win his first Grand Slam tournament till he was almost 22, and he was a petulant thing in his early years.

Today, we should chalk Bernard Tomic’s surprising loss down to one of those small, inevitable speed humps on the road to the maturity he is clearly so close to achieving.

In a memorable magazine interview in 2007, the 14 year old Tomic said: “I’m halfway there with the mind of Sampras. I’ve already got the heart of Lleyton.

Spot on, young Bernie. Now, allow me to throw a quick quote back at you. It’s from the American author and columnist Dave Barry, and it goes like this:

“You can only be young once. But you can always be immature.”

And speaking of immaturity… Twitter: @antsharwood

Most commented


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    • SLF says:

      01:07pm | 27/06/12

      No issue with him smashine the turf.

      However, admitting that he had taken it easy for the past few months, had not trained or practiced as much has he should shows the real maturity of Tomic.

      Too much time hooning about the Gold Coast and not enough time playing tennis will result in the string of crap results he is having. Hopefully he or someone with a bit of maturity will realise that.

    • Damien says:

      01:40pm | 27/06/12

      I think it’s a fair point for him to make. Tennis players get wrapped up in the glamour, and sometimes those with incredible talent have mediocre careers because they don’t have the discipline for it. Mark Philippoussis being a prime example. It is a good lesson for him, and hopefully it gives him the wake up call needed.

    • Troy Flynn says:

      03:51pm | 27/06/12

      I think “the poo” had a mediocre career because he initially didn’t give a rats arse about playing in the Davis Cup Squad. His lack of rabid, chest thumping, patriotic interest in representing his country hurt him with sponsors, the association and the general public.
      Why I’ll never know, apart from doubles, it has always been an INDIVIDUAL PERSONS sport. Just because he’s Australian, doesn’t mean he is representing anyone other than himself.

    • marley says:

      04:15pm | 27/06/12

      @Troy Flynn - no, he had a mediocre career because he thought all it would take was talent and he didn’t put in the hard work to get to and stay at the top.  Tennis is an individual sport, as you say;  it wasn’t public apathy or disinterested sponsors that stopped him, it was indifferent results.

    • Josh says:

      01:12pm | 27/06/12

      Tomic’s game has matured too, if by “matured” you mean hitting the same wristy forehand slap shot every point, regardless of whether attack or defence is needed in the rally. As Wally Masur said overnight, “his game is fine.” Hey, Wally would know.

      Why does Tennis need to over thought. Play to your strengths if that is hitting winners every shot, then fine.  I don’t see the point in 30+ shot rallies, most of the time it isn’t a chess game it’s two dudes hitting the ball to each other.

    • marley says:

      03:12pm | 27/06/12

      He just got beaten by a low ranker.  Maybe his strength isn’t all that strong.

    • SM says:

      01:20pm | 27/06/12

      And he’s adopted the Hewitt trait of blaming injury or “other factors” when he gets beat. 

      It’s quite incredible that Tomic/his father/his management don’t understand the long term benefits of being liked.

    • Knemon says:

      01:33pm | 27/06/12

      First time since 1938 that Australia has not had a male player make the second round of Wimbledon…lift your game Tomic!

    • Rose says:

      05:48pm | 27/06/12

      There’s millions of other Australians, the poor state of Australian tennis isn’t his fault smile

    • M says:

      01:37pm | 27/06/12

      Show me one mature 19 year old, and I’ll show you a method actor.

    • ABC says:

      02:57pm | 27/06/12

      Rafeal Nadal.
      Pete Sampras
      Boris Becker
      Steffi Graf
      Jason Day
      Casey Stoner…

    • M says:

      03:47pm | 27/06/12

      The only name I know off that list is Stoners, and he chucked a hissy fit only the other week.

    • Alfie says:

      02:03pm | 27/06/12

      Our proud sporting brat-pack:


      Have I missed any??

    • Economist says:

      02:36pm | 27/06/12

      Leave Rice out of your list wink

      I’ve become a fan. She’s not throwing temper tantrums and punches like the others

    • M says:

      03:09pm | 27/06/12

      Leave rice out of this, she’s hot.

    • Alfie says:

      04:44pm | 27/06/12

      But if Rice was a fugly, she would still be on my list, right??

    • M says:

      04:58pm | 27/06/12

      Maybe, there’s a lot to be said about a girl who keeps her shape these days.

    • John says:

      02:35pm | 27/06/12

      I blame his father, Damir.

    • Budz says:

      02:43pm | 27/06/12

      Ant, I’m not really sure what you are saying in this article. It seems like you are criticising him but then say it’s understandable for someone his age.

      In all seriousness though, give the guy a break. He is still a kid and will hopefully mature into a likeable adult. Even Agassi was a prick when he was younger.
      And also give him time to mature as a tennis player, and that will definitely include becoming more consistent, and being able to perform at the lower tournaments as well. Tennis is so physical these days that you can’t expect consistent play at least until 22-23, unless you are a freak like Nadal.

    • K says:

      04:21pm | 27/06/12

      Oh Budz, you but be new here.

      If sarcasm had an older, wittier, balding half-brother, it would be our Ant Sharwood.

      In seriousness though, the guy he faced isn’t a complete no-name (to those who know tennis at least) he made the final 16 at the french open and took a set off federer before going down in 4.

    • LostinPerth says:

      02:43pm | 27/06/12

      better to beat the turf then kick the linesman I suppose

    • PW says:

      03:00pm | 27/06/12

      Balding? The mugshot suggests the “ing” is superfluous to requirements.

    • L A BORE says:

      03:09pm | 27/06/12

      Your comment:he lost.
      he is history.
      forget him

    • L A BORE says:

      03:14pm | 27/06/12

      john mcenroe was better

    • Troy Flynn says:

      03:39pm | 27/06/12

      I thought we’d pissed of the pretentious little shit when he got all precious about being told off by the police for driving his high performance car, which he actually got an exempttion for to drive unlike any other teenager gets, and claiming the police were racists etc. Go on mate, piss off to France as you petulantly claimed you would do. I won’t miss you.

    • M says:

      04:05pm | 27/06/12

      Those rules are stupid anyway, good on him for flouting them.

    • Tbird says:

      04:33pm | 27/06/12

      How long has this guy been 19 ?? Are they using dog years….?? Seems forever.

    • On the Line says:

      06:33pm | 27/06/12

      Won’t amount to anything: Too fragile, too slow, no work ethic ...

    • renold says:

      06:51pm | 27/06/12

      He’s a tosser

    • Andrew says:

      08:24pm | 27/06/12

      No, you are saying hes immature, and you are right.

    • Nick says:

      09:05am | 28/06/12

      What a comparison with the glory days! How old were Rosewall and Hoad when they set the tennis world alight? But they, and a huge succesion of great players came through the Harry Hopman administration and training regime. Where is there anyone in Tomic’s camp instilling and valuing discipline? Where are the supremos of Tennis Australia asking the hard questions of the young players about their commitment? Hopman required discipline and training. So did Percy Cerutty of our athletes in the golden days of our distance runners.

      Today our young people want everything handed to them. The concept of earning it is alien. I have a friend who is a tennis coach. He claims there is plenty of junior talent out there but as soon as the effort that is required to lift them to the tournament level is asked of them, they decide they would rather play video games.

      Look too at other sports, for example, racing. Once upon a time an apprentice lived with his master, mucked out the stables, rode work and had his earnings banked into a trust fund available to him on completion of his apprenticeship. Now they live independently, receive their money immediately and easily succumb to a flashy lifestyle. No apprentice that came through the Theo Green academy drove fast sports cars at 18, were caught in nightclubs at 3am or were troubled by substance abuse!

      Time for some discipline in developing our young sports people!

    • Dibatag says:

      10:13am | 28/06/12

      He just has not got the commitment required to go all the way to the top, he needs to get rid of his dad as any part of his team for a start all so realise he might not be as good as he thinks he is.

    • Maryk says:

      12:31pm | 28/06/12

      He’s got no ‘ticker’. And unfortunately thinks that all it takes to get to the top is to have talent and be told by those around you how great you are.  Seems to have missed the part about hard work, commitment and dedication - both on and off the court.

      I understand that he’s now taking a ‘rest’ (despite having admitted to having not trained very hard recently) before the Olympics.  Lleyton on the other hand is off to play some small grass court tournaments to get more match practice in the Olympics lead up.

      Bernard could do worse than hitch himself to Lleyton’s coat tails for a few months and find out a bit about hard work and what it takes to have a worthwhile tennis career.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      05:32pm | 28/06/12

      Tomic is not different to the immature, puerile others we have to put up with being shoved down our thraots as being “Athletes” Elite or not.
      We are so sick of these brats who think they are owed something by the rest of us.
      Respect has tobe earned
      They have to earn the right to be liked.
      We don’t give a toss how good they are. If they throw tantrums, smash other people’s faces in, get drunk & smash up their homes, their partners or unrelated people then they should quite simply be banned from taking part in any events for up to two years. The more damage etc. the longer the ban.
      Unfair? Not at all! There will always be 100s of young people, every bit & much more talented than these spoilt brats waiting in the wings to take their place & having done so the rest of us will be able to happily forget those who have no manners,don’t know the meaning of the word Sportsman/womanship.
      If those running Australian Tennis, Swimming or any other sport had the guts they would simply refuse to select these people & if once selected they play up they simply de-select them.

    • Bob Smith says:

      07:39pm | 28/06/12

      Look, the US-born virus of ‘maximum ego/minimum humility’ has been infecting our sports arena for quite a while. And Tomic is by no means the worst exponent. He is immature, but, for now, he is also young. And one of the hallmarks of youth is inconsistency in performance. Brilliant one day, toilet brush the next.

      Tomic realises this and realises the mental side of his game needs development and is actively working towards this. This, in itself, is a hopeful sign. He also realises that his recent lack of physical application has affected his performance adversely. This is also a hopeful sign.

      I, personally, can’t understand some of the vitriol aimed at him. He’s young. He’s reasonably talented. He exhibits some of the faults and self-absorption of youth. He understands his weaknesses. He’s actively working at overcoming them.

      I’m not sure if he’s got the game to go to the very top of the tree, but, for now, he’s doing nothing particularly more offensive than any youth (try a football player of the same age) and trying to become a better player and person. Good on you, Bernard.


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