Teenage Tomic to make Davis Cup bow
Originally published on: 05/03/10 15:58
Bernard Tomic is set to become Australia’s youngest ever Davis Cup player after being drafted into an injury-depleted squad for their Asia/Oceana tie against Taiwan on March 5.
With top-ranked player Lleyton Hewitt unavailable until at least May following hip surgery, the 17-year-old is notionally third in the singles pecking order but is expected to feature along with Peter Luczak ahead of world No.122 Carsten Ball.
His inclusion in the squad represents a double-triumph in recent weeks, having won his second challenger title at the $75,000 (US) Burnie International Challenger in Tasmania.
But despite his recent success, Tennis Australia deliberated long and hard before confirming Tomic’s involvement in the Davis Cup given the recent controversies surrounding the Stuttgart-born youngster.
The governing body’s director of player development Craig Tiley even met with notorious father of the talented teenager on Tuesday in an attempt to smooth out their differences.
Involved in a heated exchange with tournament director Tiley after this year’s Australian Open, Tomic Snr even threatened to pull his son out of Australia and have him play for Croatia.
He also once ordered the teenager off court during a futures match in Perth in 2008 after accusing the umpire of failing to call foot-faults against his opponent. Regular unsavoury verbal attacks on others in the game followed suit, as the former taxi-driver criticised coach Roger Rasheed and former world No.1 Hewitt.
The elder Tomic was also rumoured to have been advised not to attend the Burnie Challenger, and in the aftermath of their meeting on Tuesday Tennis Australia appear determined not to have their patience tested again by the latest notorious tennis parent.
“Like any other father, or parent, or personal coach, he will not have any input into the team,” said Todd Woodbridge, Australia’s Davis Cup captain.
“Like any other parent, he will be welcome to attend the tie and support the team.”
Regardless of the ongoing issues with the father of the promising world No.210, Woodbridge was delighted with the Junior Australian and US Open winner’s attitude after being granted a place in the Davis Cup squad.
“We talked with Bernard to find out where he thought he was with his tennis,” said the 16-time doubles Grand Slam winner.
“He said he couldn’t wait to play in the Davis Cup environment and he was extremely grateful to receive the invitation. It was exactly what we wanted to hear.”
Embroiled in an ongoing argument with Tomic after being snubbed for a practice hit at Wimbledon last year, Australian slalwart Lleyton Hewitt might not be so delighted by the news, having earlier this year described Tomic as ‘not qualified’ for Davis Cup tennis.
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