Tomic denies rift with Dad


Originally published on: 26/03/12 12:53

Most players react to code violations with displeasure but, in a bizarre turn of events, Bernard Tomic thanked the umpire for reprimanding his father and coach in Miami.

The Australian was up against 5th seed David Ferrer in his second round match and was irritated by his father’s courtside antics. Tomic Sr had been visibly concerned with the way his son was playing, shaking his head after he slipped behind in his service game.
Tomic repeatedly indicated to his father during the match that he would like him to leave, brandishing his racquet in the direction of the stands. The world No.36 was evidently distracted, already one set down to the Spaniard and attempting to get ahead in the second. “He’s annoying me,” he told the chair umpire during the change of ends at 3-2 up. “I know he’s my father but he’s annoying me. I want him to leave.”
The umpire inquired as to whether or not Tomic himself could ask his father to leave and Tomic responded: “It’s not going to happen.”
After the match Tomic Jr was keen to play down the incident, claiming that he was only indicating to his father that he wanted his racquets restrung.
It’s not the first time that strain has shown in the father-son relationship, or that Tomic Sr has created a stir. In 2010 it was reported that he had a ‘heated discussion’ with the Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley, during which the coach threatened that his son would play under a different flag. The altercation occurred because of what Tomic felt was bad scheduling on the part of the tournament, putting his son at a disadvantage. Tiley, controversially, seemingly hinted to the press after the incident that the young Tomic needed to take more control in his coaching situation, telling The Australian: “He ultimately needs to be responsible for who he has around him and that decisions he makes and what he says.”
Tomic Sr also ordered his teenage son off the court during a futures tournament in Perth in 2008, after claiming that the officials and umpires were conspiring against the player. The petulant reaction resulted in a one-month ban. And it’s not just the authorities, but also other players on the tour that the Tomic family has disgruntled. After a practice invitation from Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon in 2009, the young Australian put his compatriot’s nose out of joint by opting to hit with Juan Carlos Ferrero instead.
Family coaching usually comes with a degree of tension in tennis. Damir Dokic, the father of Jelena Dokic and the most notable example of father coaching gone wrong, threatened to ruin his daughter’s career with his abusive behaviour towards her and bystanders at tournaments, to the extent that even after reconciling with his daughter he is still banned from WTA events.
Even the crack team of Rafa and Toni Nadal has been fraught at times, the world No.2 admitting in his autobiography that his uncle’s demanding nature has led to fall-outs. However, the family, as ever, has been careful to keep any personal issues firmly behind closed doors.

– Olivia Lee


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.