'I've learnt my lessons' says Bernard Tomic
December 29, 2012 12:00AM
BERNARD Tomic's New Year's resolution is to make headlines for his tennis and not his off-court activities.
The 20-year-old kicks off Australia's Hopman Cup campaign today with partner Ashleigh Barty against Germany, but he intends to push himself to the limit to get his world ranking "where it really should be".
"In 2013 I would hope to reach the top 10 by the end of the year," he said in Perth yesterday. "I'm sure if I do the right things and commit like I've agreed to myself, I'll do quite well.
"But I've got to focus. It's tough - you're going to lose some matches. But as long as I keep my head down and work the way I've been working the last two months, then I'll get results."
Tomic had a forgettable 2012 season in some respects. He ended it with three first-round losses, after bombing out of the London Olympics and Wimbledon in the first round.
He had to appear in court on driving charges and then had the police involved again when he and a mate were playing too roughly in a hotel spa following his 20th birthday celebrations.
He was accused of "tanking" by John McEnroe in the US Open and then thrown off the Davis Cup team by Pat Rafter.
"The new year, it's a few days away now. I'm not looking back any more, looking forward and focusing on 2013 and, you know, getting my ranking up to where it really should be."
He is one of three Australians inside the top 100 on the world ATP list: Marinko Matosevic (49), Tomic (52), and Lleyton Hewitt (83). But in June Tomic reached a career-high ranking of 27. That ranking was justified by the fact he reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals just 12 months earlier.
However, the cracks began to appear and Tomic admitted it. "This year was a learning year - it was one of my biggest learning years so far - and it wasn't the underdog feeling I had in 2011, when I did well at Wimbledon.
"It was a different feeling, you know. It was a bit of tournaments to defend and I got used to the pressure, but I didn't handle it quite well.
"I feel I've learned a lot this year and it will help me a lot for the start of 2013.
"You've got to focus and you've got to learn to focus more when you mature and I think I've done that. I've practised a lot on my mind and my patience the last eight weeks and I think I'm hitting the ball better than ever, so we will see how the next three weeks go and it will be good to start fresh and have a good year."
He is starting the new season in Perth - a first for him. "I felt I wanted to make a change. The last three years I spent playing in Brisbane and got a bit used to that. I felt coming here would be good, (it) would be better preparation to play against more top players and have more matches."
Tomic actually had four quality matches in Brisbane last January, losing to eventual champion Andy Murray in the semis.
But he wants more top-end tournament results, particularly at the slams, where the Australian Open has been a good feeding ground for him. He reached the fourth round last time, the third the year before.
"I'm looking to do what I did in Wimbledon and even better, and I think my body is now at a strong level and I think I've worked a lot on my fitness the last few months," he said.
"That's helped me a lot because I didn't have time to work on my fitness and my game throughout the year so I feel like 2013 is going to be a good year for me.
"I expect a lot from myself and I'm sure I can do it."
He feels his off-court dramas are behind him.
"It's just a matter of me committing. It's going to be difficult and I'll lose some matches, but I'll keep pushing forward and focusing on what goals I think I can do."