Bernard Tomic bites bullet on new coach to replace father
Bernard Tomic has acknowledged that the time has come, finally, to appoint a new coach to replace his father, John (below) serving a one-year tournament ban for headbutting Frenchman Thomas Drouet in Madrid in May. There are two candidates, with the position expected to be filled next month.
Tomic, 20, said his father would willingly relinquish the coaching duties that can now only be conducted off-site, Tomic snr having been restricted to an unaccredited cameo appearance at Queen's Club in June.
A Tennis Australia physiotherapist was the sole member of Tomic's entourage during Tuesday's first-round loss at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, the world No. 51 optimistic a new arrangement will help him fulfil his top-10 goal.
''For 2014 I'm looking for a coach who's going to work with me, and a good team - obviously my dad, he knows, and we've talked about it,'' Tomic said.
''He's obviously going to be there as my dad always, and it's just difficult with the incident that happened this year [and prompted the ban] till next year, May, and I can't afford to lose that five, six months. So I feel confident and in three or four weeks when I have time off and relax, obviously when that starts it will be very good for me.
''I'm talking to two different people now and we'll see. I don't want to start naming this guy and it doesn't [eventuate]. You'll know by at least November.''
Asked if he felt the past five or six months had effectively been sacrificed because of the Madrid altercation and subsequent court case in which his father was found guilty of assault, Tomic said: ''I wouldn't say that much. I probably lost a good solid month from Madrid to about Roland Garros.
''But after that, I played pretty good at Wimbledon, was pretty confident there. Didn't play so good in America, but played well the last two months, I feel.
''I played very good in Davis Cup so I wouldn't say I lost that much, but I definitely lost a little bit in ups and downs throughout the year. It probably cost me 20, 30 spots at least in the rankings.''
So what prompted him to seek an outside coach now?
''Well, I've got no choice, do I?'' Tomic said. Reminded that he had been operating under the coach-in-hotel-room system for some time, he said: ''I obviously want to do the best thing that will help me, and my dad knows and he's cool with it.
''When my dad comes back [from suspension] and he's able to come in, it will be a different story; he'll be there as my dad, supporting me, and I'm always going to look for his tips, because he's the one that brought me up and he knows best.
''But hopefully 2014 with my team I can do very well and keep that bond and environment going good throughout the whole year,'' he said.
Just how successfully the controlling John Tomic will be able to step back remains to be seen and seems certain to be problematic. A non-Australian coach would appear the most likely scenario, but the tenure of Team Tomic employees has tended to be infamously brief.
The Queenslander's loss to the free-swinging Frenchman Jeremy Chardy was his eighth in an opening round this season, the latest defeat coming on a makeshift indoor court after two days of incessant rain, without even a scoreboard to record the 7-5, 6-2 result.
Next stop is Stockholm for the first of his remaining three tournaments this season, with his 21st birthday to be spent in Valencia, and the Paris Masters to finish a difficult year.
''I've got a few things planned already for the start of 2014, which will be very interesting to see,'' Tomic said.
''I've still got three more tournaments, so I'm going to finish these three weeks off strong, and from there have some time off and train with my new team, and hopefully 2014 will be a big year.''