MELBOURNE: Tennis bad boy Bernard Tomic faced a heavy backlash Monday after boasting “I just count my millions” in response to failing to negotiate qualifying for the Australian Open.
Once a rising star, the 25-year-old’s ranking has plunged after a car-crash 2017 season in which he admitted he was “bored” and not always giving 100 percent.
He missed out on a wildcard to his home Grand Slam from Tennis Australia after failing to front up for the December playoff, forcing him to go through three sudden-death qualifying matches.
He negotiated two but not the third on Sunday, denying him entry to the Open for a 10th straight year. Reports said he could now be heading to take part in a reality TV show.
In his only post-match comments afterwards, he said sarcastically: “I just count money, that’s all I do. I count my millions.
“You go do what I did. You go make 13-14 million. Good luck guys. Bye bye,” he added.
It sparked a fierce backlash on social media, including from ex-players,
Former Grand Slam winner Andy Roddick said he had no sympathy for Tomic.
“Maybe stop for a second and think of the millions you’ve left on the table,” he wrote on Twitter.
When someone criticised Roddick, the American said Tomic’s troubles were “self-inflicted”.
Fellow former Grand Slam champion Pat Cash said Tomic had led “a privileged life”.
“It’s a situation where (it was) too much too early as a young player,” he told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
“He really has done nothing in his career. That’s true, and that’s kind of sad in a way.”
Tomic has long had a fractious relationship with Australian tennis fans and Tennis Australia. Last year he admitted he had no love for the game, saying it is just a job and he felt “trapped”.
Australian Open director Craig Tiley in November offered him “health and wellbeing” support.
The one-time prodigy was variously described online as “arrogant, a spoilt brat and a loser” after his latest outburst, although some appealed for his critics to cut him some slack.
Australia’s media let rip, with Brisbane’s Courier Mail calling him “Million Dollar Baby”, while the Melbourne Herald Sun headlined its report “Fool’s Gold.”
Local reports said Tomic’s next move could be to appear on the reality show “I’m a Celebrity … Get me out of here!” in coming weeks.
A teaser from Australia’s Ten Network, which airs the show, on Sunday stated a tennis star would be “at break point before they know it” on the program. –AFP