Bernard Tomic insists he is a changed man as the 31-year-old Australian is confident he can return to the top-50 by the end of the year and have a couple of strong years before retiring from pro tennis.
Tomic, who famously made the 2011 Wimbledon quarterfinal as an 18-year-old qualifier, was once considered one of the most promising and talented players in the game. While Tomic has been able to win four ATP titles and reach a career-high ranking of No. 17 in the world, it is a far cry from what was expected of him to achieve.
Over the last few years, Tomic – now ranked at No. 290 – has been competing mostly on the Challenger and ITF levels. While Tomic is not competing anymore on the main stage, his passion and joy for the game have returned.
“I missed a lot of tennis in the last four years; after that Covid hit, I took time away as I was mentally not there in the sport. I like to be a little bit quicker; it is tough as I get older, but that is okay, and I cannot complain, and I am focusing on being injury-free,” Tomic told The Hindu.
Tomic: It will be nice to be in the top-50 at the end of 2024
In late 2018, Tomic won his fourth ATP title in Chengdu and it looked like he was trending in the right direction. But then, Tomic failed to keep up with good results and he found himself out of the top-100 in 2019 August. Since then, For nearly five years now, Tomic hasn’t been ranked inside the top-100.
At one point, Tomic was ranked outside the top-800. But since plummetting to No, 825 in 2022 August, Tomic has been a solid ranking jump as he is now the 290th-ranked player in the world.
On Tuesday, Tomic started his campaign at an ITF event in Chennai. In his Chennai opener, Tomic led 6-3 5-2 before Grigoriy Lomakin retired their match. In Chennai, Tomic hopes to make a strong run and then build on that and return to the top-50 by the end of the season.
“The goal is to be back in the top 100 or top 50. I am 31 now, and it will be nice to be in the top 50 at the end of this year,” Tomic revealed.
Tomic: If I was professional and did everything…
After a 2017 Wimbledon first-round loss, Tomic admitted he felt “bored out there” and “I couldn’t care less if I make a fourth-round or I lose first round.” Around that time, Tomic made some other remarks after which his commitment and dedication to the game were questioned.
When Tomic was making those remarks several years ago, he faced some heavy criticism. At the time, many were also blaming his attitude and approach to the game for not living up to the expectations.
Now, Tomic admits there were probably some things that he could have done better or differently. But Tomic insists he has learned from all of that and he is now more mature than he was several years ago.
“Of course, I have changed a lot. I have matured a little bit more. It has positively impacted my game. If I knew these things in my 20s, if I was professional and did everything that was asked of me, maybe I could have won a Grand Slam. I do not know if I did the right thing,” Tomic said.
“Whatever is meant to happen will happen. You cannot control destiny; everything happens for a reason in life. You learn to respect little things. For sure, I could have been in the top-10, but it is okay. I am in a happy space now. I will try to break into the top-100 or top-50 again and do good things in the next three years.”
Meanwhile, Tomic made a positive start to his debut at the ITF Chennai. Although Tomic progressed with a Lomakin retirement, he was inches away from the win, considering that he led 6-3 5-2 at the time of the Kazakh’s retirement.
In his next match, Tomic plays against Abhinav Sanjeev Shanmugam. When Tomic and Shanmugam clash against each other in Chennai, it is going to be their first meeting. While Tomic and Shanmugam have no previous meetings, there is no doubt that the four-time ATP champion will be the favorite to end on the winning side.
After winning three ITF tournaments in 2022 and one more last year, Tomic returned to the Challenger Tour. Unfortunately for Tomic, he hasn’t managed to win any titles at the Challenger level over the past year but he was able to make quarterfinals in some of those events.
At the start of this season, Tomic appeared in three Challenger tournaments – in one he was beaten in the first round while he suffered a loss in the qualifying final round in his other two tournaments. After not impressing on the Challenger level at the start of 2024, Tomic decided to return to the ITF Tour.
It remains to be seen if Tomic can win Chennai this week and accomplish his goal of returning inside the top-50 in 2024.