A decade after his father predicted he could have won “10 to 15 grand slams” by now, tennis ace Bernard Tomic is in rankings free fall and in danger of spiralling out of the world’s top 200.
Tomic turns 27 on Monday but must be wishing he could wind back the clock to his heady days as a prodigiously talented junior.
At 15, Tomic won the Australian Open boys’ singles title and it was after he added the US Open junior crown to his collection a year later that John Tomic urged Tennis Australia to break the bank for his son.
He wanted TA to hire coach Darren Cahill to ensure Bernard could maximise his rare potential.
“I said to Todd (Woodbridge) and to (TA boss) Craig Tiley, if Australian tennis wants Bernard from 20 to 27 to make 10 to 15 grand slams, like Federer, we have to now concentrate on Bernard,” Tomic Sr told AAP at the 2009 US Open in New York.
“We have to make structure now for two years. This is the time.”
Sadly, that time has seemingly passed.
A lone Wimbledon quarter-final appearance in 2011, when he was only 18 and the first teenager since the great Boris Becker 25 years earlier to reach the last eight at the All England Club, is as close as the one-time world No.17 has ever come to challenging for a major.
Tomic will be flat out even making the draw at his home slam in January.
Now ranked No.182 in the world, he faces the ignominy of even missing the cut-off mark for the qualifying event if he falls much further.
Denied a wildcard in 2018, Tomic has no chance of being granted one for the 2020 edition following his spectacular attack on Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt after a first-round defeat this year.
Tomic claimed “no one likes him (Hewitt) any more,” after falling out with his one-time mentor and key ally while also throwing former Davis Cup teammates Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis under the bus.
“We have a lot of issues that not a lot of players are happy about. We all know who those players are – myself, Kokkinakis, Kyrgios.”
Hewitt remains on the selection committee for Australian Open wildcard picks.
Should he miss the qualifying cut-off mark, Tomic’s only other avenue to a main-draw berth would be by contesting the Open wildcard playoff in December.
He opted not to enter the wildcard playoff this year and has since won just seven matches at ATP level in 2019.
His last main-draw victory came at Atlanta in July.