Often accused of being a defensive player, attack looks to be the buzzword in more ways than one for Bernard Tomic in 2014.
The defending champion enjoyed a breezy start to the Sydney International, taking just 59 minutes to demolish world No.36 Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-3 6-0.
With his use of angle, touch and flat shots, critics occasionally bemoan Tomic’s lack of a killer punch. But after losing the first game on Tuesday, he ruthlessly went on to win 12 of the next 14 to set up a second-round meeting with qualifier Blaz Kavcic.
And it seems attack won’t just be limited to general play.
Tomic has promised to go out and take tournaments by the throat rather than just defend them or ranking points.
“This is my first tournament for the year, I won it last year,” Tomic said.
“I’m not looking at it to defend it. I’m looking at obviously winning another title.
“If I start looking at defending the title, I’ll get nervous and I’m probably not going to defend it more than likely.”
It was a solid afternoon for Australia as Marinko Matosevic also took full advantage of his wildcard into the tournament, moving into the second round with a three-set win over Florian Mayer.
The world No.56 Matosevic belied his ranking with a 6-2 4-6 6-3 win over the German No.38.
Matosevic enjoyed two breaks of serve in the first set before Mayer bounced back to level the match in second.
With the decider locked at three games apiece, Matosevic reeled off 10 straight points to all but seal the match.
Despite being Australian No.1 for a period last year and often being overlooked, Matosevic said he was comfortable being third in the pecking order to Lleyton Hewitt and Tomic.
“It doesn’t matter. Lleyton has obviously put the runs on the board being world number one and (with) two grand slam wins, Davis Cup wins,” Matosevic said.
“And Bernard has made quarter-finals of Wimbledon as an 18 year-old.
“You can’t take anything away from them. I’m happy. Until I get the results in the big tournaments, I’m happy to play third fiddle.”
Matosevic will next play Andreas Seppi, who enjoyed a first-round bye.
Fellow Australian Sam Groth couldn’t take advantage of his wildcard though, the journeyman eliminated by veteran Radek Stepanek.
Groth, fresh from a quarter-final appearance at the Brisbane International, had his chances against the Czech Davis Cup hero before succumbing 6-7 (8-6) 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.
In other men’s action, Nicolas Mahut beat Ryan Harrison 7-6 (7-2) 7-5, Marin Cilic edged qualifier Jan-Lennard Struff 3-6 6-3 6-3 and Sergiy Stakhovsky downed Carlos Berlocq 6-3 6-4 while Alexandr Dolgopolov and Albert Ramos also moved through to the second round.