Australia’s Bernard Tomic has lasted just 82 minutes at the 2019 French Open, bowing out in a lacklustre effort that might yet cost him a fine for tanking.
Tomic played like he had a lunch date on the Champs-Elysees in a soft 6-1 6-4 6-1 loss to a bemused Taylor Fritz overnight on Tuesday.
He earned $75,000 for the first-round loss – and boos from the crowd – despite conceding in his post-match media conference that he had been less than impressive.
“Well, I didn’t play good,” he offered.
Tomic nonchalantly raced between points as the young American exploited his apparent immobility, with the Australian even trying unsuccessfully to concede defeat prematurely.
Facing match point, Tomic seemed to signal to Fritz where he would direct his serve, then ran to the net to shake hands once it was hit for a clean winner.
He was forced to return to the baseline when his bemused opponent and the chair umpire insisted Tomic had faulted.
Tomic said he agreed with compatriot Nick Kyrgios’s assessment that the French Open “sucked” but was careful to point out that he hadn’t thrown in the towel.
“Pretty sure I did [give my best effort],” he said.
“But, you know, [the] surface is not good for me.
“It’s just my game is not built for this surface. Everything I do is not good for it.”
Bernard Tomic at his best in presser:
Nick said that he didn't like the French at all.
BT: I agree.
What's your plans now?
I go to the hotel
What kind of inspiration did you get when you grew up from Laver, Newcombe, Roche?
Hardly any because I didn't watch them.
— Alessandro Stella (@al_urker) May 28, 2019
It’s not the first time Tomic has been accused of tanking. In 2016, he even copped a warning from training mate Novac Djokovic, who said it was common knowledge on the tennis circuit that the Australian was not living up to his potential.
Tomic was once ranked at No.17 in the world, but started the French Open at No.84.
Bernard Tomic's press conference was pretty unreal (not that I'm surprised). pic.twitter.com/A0gkqfYcVv
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) May 28, 2019
For his part, 21-year-old Fritz admitted he didn’t quite know what to think after his first main draw win at Roland Garros.
“It was kind of weird; in the first set he hit some good shots but did not move, like, a lot,” he said.
“I felt like if I kind of just worked the point, then I would win.
“Then the second set … I thought he started playing very well and for a couple games there we were in, like, a battle.
“You have to stay focused and kind of like be ready for whatever.”
Australian men's tennis is an absolute state. Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios are letting themselves down so badly… https://t.co/hI0GGuZa2I
— Uche Amako (@UcheAmako) May 28, 2019
Tomic’s performance was in contrast to compatriot John Millman, who also bowed out in the first round. He fell agonisingly short in a four-hour battle with world No.5 Alexander Zverev.
Despite revealing he had been playing the clay swing with torn ligaments in his little toe, Millman was clearly disappointed with the loss.
Millman had come from two sets down on his Roland Garros centre court debut to rattle the fancied German, who threw an almighty tantrum when he lost the fourth set.
But last year’s quarter-finalist found some inner calm in an inspired final set to land a 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 2-6 6-7 (7-5) 6-3 escape.
“It’s disappointing, because I feel like there’s a lot of people in the draw I would’ve beaten,” world No.55 Millman said.