Bernard Tomic has admitted that he is “bored” with tennis, no longer cares whether he does well in grand slams, and doubted his motivation to improve after a lifeless straight sets defeat to the No27 seed Mischa Zverev.
The 24-year-old Australian, who reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2011 and the last 16 in 2016, appeared to lose interest after dropping the first set and went down 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in just 84 minutes.
But the player – who has been dubbed “Tomic the Tank Engine” in the past for appearing to give up during matches – denied he had quit. However in an extraordinary post-match press conference he conceded that he had completely lost interest in the game.
“It was definitely a mental issue out there,” he said. “I felt a little bit bored to be completely honest with you. It’s tough, you know. I’m 24. I have done, came on tour at 16, 17. I have been around and feels like I’m super old, but I’m not. I’m still 24, and it was tough to find motivation out there.”
During the warm-up Tomic had complained of a back injury but later he insisted it had not been a problem. And afterwards he also scoffed at suggestions he need to take a break from tennis in order to get his mojo back.
“No, I’m happy with my life,” he said. “It’s my choice. I know I have to work hard. For sure I don’t do the right work. But I feel holding a trophy or doing well doesn’t satisfy me anymore. It’s not there. I couldn’t care less if I make a fourth-round US Open or I lose first round. To me, everything is the same.
“You know, I’m going to play another 10 years, and I know after my career I won’t have to work again.”
Zverev was surprised by how easily his victory came given he had been well beaten by Tomic in Eastbourne last week. “He knows what to do on the grass court, knows what shots to use. He beat me quite easily a few days ago, so I was expecting a very tough match.”
Tomic’s behaviour infuriated fans back home, with one tweeting that he “would have to be the laziest tennis player to ever step foot on court. I am embarrassed to call him a fellow Aussie”. Another said: “Can we deport Bernard Tomic?”
But Tomic sounded unconvinced when he was asked whether he wanted to work harder to improve. “Sometimes I do; sometimes I don’t,” he said. “I’m just speaking honest truth about it. When I was 19 and 20 and 20 or 25 in the world. I was enjoying it. But now it’s a roller-coaster, and I just can’t seem to find the commitment to work hard, to enjoy, and to lift trophies. Maybe I have to look at a few things and maybe play less tournaments.”
With Nick Kyrgios retiring with a hip injury just two sets into his opener against Pierre-Hugues Herbert and John Millman, Andrew Whittington and Thanasi Kokkinakis also losing, only Jordan Thompson can save Australia from a humiliating first-ever Wimbledon first-round men’s wipeout.