The Quick Rise and the Quicker Downfall
Bernard Tomic burst into the scene in a grand way during Wimbledon 2011, where he made it to the quarter-finals as a wild-card. He was also the youngest player to make it that far in the event since Boris Becker first achieved it, almost 25-years ago, in 1986.
Immediately thereafter, he became the next-best-thing in the sport with his professional route being mapped out by pundits loftily. But even these pundits touting him for future greatness knew heart-of-hearts of the undercurrents that swirled around him in his personal life, threatening to encroach upon his professional journey, without any provocation. The unasked question however was whether Tomic had it in him to counter these threats, if – and when – they morphed from possibilities to severe realities.
Just as easily as these fears came to be realised, not long after his run to the Wimbledon quarter-final. 2012 was Tomic’s low, as was 2011 his high. Infamous incidents, one after another peppered his calendar diverting everyone’s attention away from the talent that was lauded so hugely, not so long ago. It didn’t take long for the talking points to change as well – from his game to his sporting attitude, or the lack thereof.
The Beginning of the Changeover
The trend continued into the following years. With far brutal indictments that completely eroded what was left of the efforts that had gone into affirming his credentials in the first place. No matter how he tried to assuage it, how he tried to get things back on track, the harshness of the public eye never stopped.
These severities however have given the Australian quite an important lesson. Success tasted early with more predicted on the way, didn’t win Tomic any favours. On the contrary, the prematurity of these predictions made his successes – and him as the sportsman in question – seem shallower.
These days though, things have pretty much changed. Not in the way many still continue to look at Tomic. But in the way he has done away with explaining and justifying himself. There are answers given to questions asked. Like the measured responses after his loss in the first round against Jarkko Neimenen at Miami earlier this year, where his 28-minutes’ effort got him labelled a ‘tanker.’ There weren’t – and aren’t – any overtures made out to those who had lost faith in him.
Able to finish matches amidst hurdles
Recently IMG, the management agency which signed Tomic when he was a teen, cut its associations with him, terming it to be a mutual parting of ways. There still hasn’t been any verbal statements given by the Australian about the issue, but his win at Bogota, Colombia, merely days following that truncation has been an emphatic retort in itself.
The win also saw him return into the top-100, a handful of weeks after he lost his place after losing in the second round at Wimbledon. Incidentally, the rankings drop not only coincided with IMG ending their affiliation with him, but also forced him to narrowly miss making it into the main draw of the US Open. His win at Bogota though has put him in a plumb position to secure a wild-card for the US Open – thanks to the fewer points he has to defend before the major. But there isn’t much that’s pinned on it, on how consistent Tomic would be this time round.
There are now newer kids whose names are taken over and over again as far as waiting for the Australian gen-next prodigies go. Kids who have been neatly slotted in to fill in the blanks, step into shoes and reach to the zeniths that once, not so long ago, the 21-year old was expected to reach.
Suffice to say that Tomic isn’t the centre of attraction anymore. After all the hype that surrounded him previously, this is a welcome digression. One that he may well indeed use to his advantage, with no efforts spared to do so.Published 25 Jul 2014, 10:21 IST