SYDNEY (Reuters) – Bernard Tomic has no qualms wiping his hands of a year he would rather forget and, with a reduced schedule next year, is keen to make a fresh start when he opens his season in Brisbane.
The 24-year-old Tomic, once considered Australia’s next great hope in men’s tennis, was plagued by an abdominal injury, fined for swearing at a fan, accused of not trying and involved in a spat with the Australian Olympic team chief this year.
Despite reaching a career-high ranking of 17, the issues only reinforced a feeling amongst fans and the media that he was not overly interested in playing the sport, though that was something he denied on Wednesday.
“I’m not the best, I’m not the brightest, but we all have our problems,” Tomic told reporters on the Gold Coast ahead of the Jan. 1-7 Brisbane International tournament.
“I think the main thing is I’m doing what I love and I really respect the sport.”
Tomic said he was now clear of the abdominal injury that blighted a year in which he made just one final, at Acapulco, and two other semi-finals, at Brisbane and the Queen’s Club in London.
His performances at the grand slams were inconsistent with fourth round appearances at the Australian Open and Wimbledon but a second-round exit at Roland Garros and a failure to clear the first hurdle at the U.S. Open.
The Flushing Meadows loss, as world number 19 to 72nd ranked Bosnian Damir Dzumhur, earned him a $10,000 fine for firing lewd comments at a heckler in the crowd.
He also drew heavy criticism in May following his exit from the Madrid Open when, facing match point against Fabio Fognini, he held the racquet by the strings and did not offer a shot.
He later ruled himself out of consideration for the Rio Games after the head of the Australian team had warned him that his behavior, and that of Nick Kyrgios, was being monitored to judge their suitability for the Olympics.
Tomic said few people truly understood himself and his 21-year-old compatriot, who had risen to number 13 in the world.
“I think sometimes we do push it more than we should,” Tomic said. “But that is our personality, our character.
“We are young, we are successful. But it turns into a bit of negative energy when we do things wrong.
“No one is perfect but I think we are doing a pretty good job.”
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)