Tomic makes case for gap year

After a couple of difficult years, we saw a different Bernard Tomic at the 2019 Kooyong Classic after his entertaining opening match against Jack Sock.

Bernard Tomic, Kooyong Classic

Bernard Tomic. Source: Bernard Tomic

WATCH Bernard Tomic v Nick Kyrgios from 1pm (AEDT) Wednesday EXCLUSIVE, LIVE, FREE and in HD on SBS / streamed live via SBS Sport and SBS on Demand.

The scores for the match essentially don't really matter, because it was a lighthearted and creative affair between two players who have gone through a bad patch, but for the record it was 5-7, 6-4, 10-6.

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Sock, by the way, is coming off a horror 2018 where his singles game completely deserted him, only redeemed when he pivoted to doubles and titles at Wimbledon and the US Open with partner and doubles legend Mike Bryan.

Tomic's messy recent years we all know about. Let's just say he was less than enthusiastic about the grind of the APT tour and it showed.

As his demeanour went downhill, so did his relationship with the Australian tennis public, one always forgiving of any player except those who it sees giving less than 100 per cent.

But by September last year, it was clear that the fog was lifting when he beat then world number 14 Fabio Fognini in Chengdu, China.

In that match, Tomic's entire suite of talent was on display and he showed that not only could he mix it with the world's best, but that the promise was still there.

Tomic is now 26-years-old, still more than enough time to craft a meaningful career, one where he could spend some time back it the top 20.

"I just wanted to get away then, at that period, for four, five, six months. And then six months became one year" - Tomic.
What Tomic's time in the wilderness suggests, is that for many young players, particularly those who begin their professional careers in their teens, a gap year may be beneficial in order to recharge the batteries.

Tennis today is a January to November affair, with barely any time for a player to take a breath.

It may look glamorous to most of us but it's a routine that demands wherever you hang your hat becomes your home.

Someone else's bed, hotel food and airports can only be appealing for so long, meaning planned breaks without consideration for ranking or sponsors may be a way to recharge, reassess and gain some much-needed perspective on life.

Still playing for a period for the same reasons, as Sock did with his doubles pivot, may also be ideal, but would similarly demand consideration from stakeholders in a players career.

For Tomic, this seems to have happened.

At Kooyong, he was relaxed and having fun.

In the post-match interview, he was open and practically gregarious, for him anyway.

"I've still got another, hopefully, seven to 10 years left (playing tennis)," Tomic said. 

It was refreshing and a relief to see him healthy and looking forward to the challenges of 2019, including a next up blockbuster clash against Kyrgios.


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3 min read
Published 8 January 2019 at 1:45pm
By Philip Gomes
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