Tomic makes dream Davis Cup debut
Originally published on: 05/03/10 14:29
Bernard Tomic got his Davis Cup career off to the perfect start with a 6-2 6-1 6-1 victory over Taiwan’s Tsung-Hua Yang in the opening rubber of the Asia/Oceania tie in Melbourne.
The comprehensive victory was the perfect response to the 17-year-old’s critics, many of whom had suggested he was not yet ready to represent his country.
But with captain John Fitzgerald constantly voicing encouragement and urging him to focus throughout the match, Australia’s second-youngest Davis Cup player crushed his opponent with a nerveless display on Melbourne Park’s Margaret Court Arena.
Peter Luczak later put Australia 2-0 up ahead of Saturday’s doubles with victory over Chu-Huan Yi 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-3, but the day belonged to Tomic – and the German-born teen was thrilled to have the breakthrough win under his belt.
“Today was the greatest day, probably, of my life – to play on that court and to win,” he said. “And I played really well. I was up against a player I’d had a lot of tough matches against in juniors and I was lucky I played really well today to beat him.
“I could’t be much happier. Yang’s always played well against me, I’ve had a lot of three-setters with him so today to win in three and to win it quite comfortably was good.”
Tomic revealed that Fitzgerald had prepared his inexperienced squad for the tie with a Davis Cup history quiz, which left a lasting impression and helped to calm the youngster’s nerves.
“Fitzy made us watch a massive Davis Cup video last night and we had a questionnaire at the end,” said Tomic. “I didn’t get a lot of the answers but it took us back the 1900s when Davis Cup started and it was good to see that.
“Davis Cup in Australia has been so strong in the last 50, 60 years and to have that experience and know that, it’s good.”
And after dividing opinion in the run-up to the tie, with Lleyton Hewitt, currently recovering from surgery, initially questioning Tomic’s inclusion in the squad, the two-time junior Grand Slam champion was grateful for his captain’s unwavering support from the sidelines.
“He’s got some great advice and he kept pushing me to stay on him and not lose my focus which I tend to do,” Tomic said after admitting his mind still has a tendency to wander.
“I do that a lot when I play, I get up a lot and before you know it the guy comes back and that’s what I really needed to do today and he kept pushing me, so that was good.”
Fitzgerald was full of praise for Tomic’s performance.
“I think you have to take the opposition into consideration but that was pretty impressive,” Fitzgerald said. “He hardly missed a beat and gee, he timed the ball well. He’s a good player.
“He was a little nervy as you would expect in the first set, and then he just loosened up after that and showed us what he can do.”