A combative Bernard Tomic insists he has demonstrated his whole-hearted dedication to tennis after “risking his life” to play within the Middle East and efficiently qualify for one more Australian Open.
The mercurial former top-20 participant, so typically derided for a supposed lukewarm perspective to the game, confirmed big spirit to win an epic all-Aussie ultimate qualifying showdown together with his buddy John-Patrick Smith in Doha on Wednesday.
And he was equally feisty off the courtroom after his gritty 6-Four 5-7 7-6 (10-7) victory over Townsville left-hander Smith, telling AAP his critics had not been truthful to him throughout his chequered profession.
“I am in Doha, I risked my life flying here, my health, Covid’s around, many sick, with many things that can go wrong. I’m risking my life, and I’m playing and competing. Of course, I want to get there,” he stated, when requested if his tennis ambitions nonetheless burned.
“Otherwise I’d be hanging my rackets up. I don’t need to play tennis again, I’ve got enough money – so why are you asking me that question? Don’t ask questions like that.”
The 28-year-old turned the one one of many 20 Australians who flew out for the arduous offshore qualifying tournaments in Doha and Dubai to make it to the Melbourne grand slam.
And his win, achieved when he was “physically bad” with a dodgy again after two-and-three-quarter draining hours, means he shall be again on the championships – the place he thrice reached the final 16 – for the 11th time.
The day after surviving match level towards one other Australian Tristan Schoolkate, Tomic once more dug deep, being simply two factors from defeat earlier than profitable one other of the brand new first-to-10-points deciding tiebreaks.
He was 4-5, 15-30 down on his personal serve within the ultimate set and benefited from a contentious line name which Smith was livid went towards him.
“I’m very tired, more tired than happy to be honest. I’ve never been this tired, and I’ve played a lot of tennis,” stated the previous world No 17. “I’m not over-excited but it is a good thing, it is nice, but I’m physically pretty bad.
“JP’s playing well, and had nothing to lose. I was physically so bad, I wasn’t able to execute my shots.”
Afterwards, the one-time golden boy of Australian tennis, who has had his justifiable share of damaging headlines down the years, demanded some good press.
“You’re the people who write the bad stuff about me. I’ve qualified for a slam – what should you be writing?
“I don’t think you guys have been fair towards me in the last half-decade, [or] decade. You can spin it whatever way you want, but don’t escape the fact I’ve qualified for a slam.”
“If you like me and you’re a fan of me, write nice.”
Asked if he nonetheless felt he might win Wimbledon at some point, he shrugged: “Probably not – with the level of the players around today, I’m not going to say I’m going to win Wimbledon, it’s tough to win a grand slam.
“Do I have a chance of winning a slam at this stage or in the next year? No. But do I have a chance of playing well in a slam? Yes.”
The solely different Australian within the ultimate qualifying matches, teenager Dane Sweeny, went down 2-6 6-Three 6-1 to Ukrainian veteran Sergiy Stakhovsky.
It got here as Alex de Minaur opened his season in type, claiming the primary ATP trophy on provide for the yr – and his fourth general – with title glory on the Antalya Open in Turkey.
The 21-year-old was main Alexander Bublik 2-Zero in Wednesday night time’s ultimate when the Kazakh retired injured simply seven minutes into the match. The world No 23 dropped just one set for the week in a promising build-up to the rescheduled Open beginning on 8 February.
“I mean, it’s massive. At the start of the year that’s what you need,” de Minaur stated after backing up his semi-final win over second-seeded world No 16 David Goffin in a considerably anticlimactic title decider. “Look, you never know what was going to happen. I knew I had put in a great pre-season, I was ready to compete.
“I just think I gave myself the best possible chance to go deep into this tournament and I’m happy how it finished. I got four matches – and today – so very happy with my level and I had some quality wins.”