UNLESS you’re a diehard tennis nut, chances are you didn’t even know Bernard Tomic was playing this morning.
Play he did, but the Aussie might not want the world to know about it. Not having hit since bombing out of the qualifiers for January’s Australian Open, the tennis star returned to the court in Lille in northern France for an event on the second tier ATP Challenger Tour.
His first round match against Frenchman Antoine Hoang ended in disaster as the local man won 6-2 2-6 6-4.
Tomic’s slide down the rankings has been alarming — the 25-year-old who was formerly ranked inside the top 20 is now a lowly 181st in the world — but even he would have been expected to dispose of Hoang, the world No. 251.
In front of a sparse crowd on a far less impressive stage than that which he used to share with people like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, Tomic couldn’t get the job done.
It shouldn’t really come as a surprise. In 2017 he made it to the third round of tournaments just three times, while it looked like he was going to forgo the Australian Open qualifiers altogether before making a late decision to take part.
He lost in the third round to Lorenzo Sonego and rather than hit the practice court, Tomic hit the jungle. He quit reality TV program I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here after just three nights, becoming the first person to ever quit on the Australian version of the show.
That gave the critics further ammunition but also led to plenty of debate over Tomic’s mental state as he revealed he was “depressed”.
Time away from the spotlight was probably what the former golden boy of Aussie tennis needed — and never was that more evident than in his comeback in Lille.
There was no spotlight at all. Like we said, you can’t be blamed for not even knowing he was playing.
He was one of the biggest names in the draw but wasn’t even seeded, and tennis fans were likely focusing their attention on the Miami Open instead.
It was simply sad the return of someone a country once held high hopes for was so low key — and so unsuccessful. A quick search of Tomic on Twitter revealed very few results — and the majority of those that did appear were in French.
It was a similar story elsewhere on the net. In an age where people want news and results the moment they happen, typing Tomic’s name into Google revealed just one result that revealed the outcome of his match against Hoang.
Australia just wasn’t interested, it seems.