Tomics on the moveDavid Lewis
February 2nd, 2009
HE doesn't turn 17 until October but Bernard Tomic -- the Southport kid who briefly swooned the nation at the Australian Open -- believes he will be cutting down top 10 tennis players within two years.
After showing flashes of his shimmering potential in his grand slam debut at Melbourne Park, where he reached the second round after felling 77th-rated Italian Potito Starace, gangly young gun Tomic is a cover story in the making.
But to fast-track his assault on the tennis turrets, he and the rest of Team Tomic -- father John, mother Ady and tennis-playing sister Sarah -- will swap the Gold Coast for Florida or London to be better placed to push for a place on the ATP Tour and land more wildcard entries to mainstream tournaments.
With the might of global management giant IMG behind him and an armoury of shots from the tennis text books, the kid with the instincts of a sniper knows he has the world between the strings of his racquet.
"If I can beat Starace now, considering that he was once ranked 26 in the world, then maybe I will beat top 10 players in two years," said Tomic.
"I want to be making my mark in two years or so. I've taken a lot of confidence from the last month but I know I have to leave Australia now to try and better myself.
"I'll get the chance to play with a wider range of practice partners and also be closer to where the tournaments are being played. IMG stage a few tournaments on the ATP and there could be wildcard opportunities for me there."
Newly ranked at 560 in the world, Tomic added: "I grew up on the Coast (after arriving as a three-year-old when his Croatian father John gained refugee status for the family) and I will miss it. But if I'm to get to the top I have to make the move. There are just so many opportunities for me overseas."
"The Australian Open (where his fairytale was ended in four sets by Luxembourg's Gilles Muller) showed me I can mix it with some of the top guys, I just need to stay healthy, get stronger and play a few tournaments."
The 2008 Australian Junior champion returns to action at the $US50,000 Burnie Pro Circuit in Tasmania today hoping there will be no post-Open hangover.
He believes he has tamed an impetuous streak which threatened to double-fault his future.
"I've worked hard to keep my cool on court," said Tomic. "I've had periods where I've been very calm on court but there have been times when I've thrown my racquet around in frustration. You learn you shouldn't do these things."
Despite his abundant talent, Tomic knows he must improve his game if he is to realise his dream of breaking into the top 10 by the time he's 20.
"I'm working on building up my legs for a start, I need greater court speed," he said.
"If I had the speed of Rafael Nadal now I'd be top 10, but I don't. I'm also trying to improve my serve.
"I'm up to about 190km/h, but I need to be hitting them at 220."
While rubbing shoulders with the greats of the game at the Open, Tomic is not overawed by players who were once his idols.
As Tomic himself puts it: "Now I have to look at becoming my own idol."
Looks like hes already thinking about getting wildcards into ATP tournaments this year! I guess hes going to be like Carsten Ball and play all the American challengers for the rest of the year.
I hope he doesnt take up American citizenship thats all.