Thursday, February 4, 2010

Boy Wonder

So, um, why is Marin Cilic playing this week? He should be back at home having a snooze. For aboout a week. He just played some epically huge matches in Australia. Why is he still playing this week?

But I didn't come here to write about Marin Cilic today - much as I do like writing about him, because I do sort of love him. No, today, we're talking about the boy he vanquished in the second round in Australia - Bernard Tomic.

I use the word 'boy' intentionally. Because Bernard Tomic is not a man yet, not even close. And although he played some great tennis in Melbourne, although he played above his physical age, and although he came within a few points of taking down the man who ended up reaching the semi finals and might well have come through Andy Murray if he wasn't so physically fatigued... he has a long way to go before he can really play tennis.

I don't question his physical ability - not at all. But what tennis, and especially Slam tennis, where the five set format comes into effect, is that tennis is mental as well as physical. There are lots of very fit, very able men in the ATP - it is the men who have it going on in the mind who rise to the top and become real champions. Take the king of tennis players, Roger Federer. He has always had his talent. He has always had his raw ability. He has always been fit and trained hard. So what turned him from a talent to a champion?

His mind.

Are you listening, Bernard?

If Tomic wants to make it to the top of this sport, he needs to man up. Those words are deliberately chosen. Because he is such a whinging child at the moment. Until he stops making excuses, until he curbs what appears to be an overweening ego, until he realises that even in Australia, where he is touted as the Next Big Thing, that he can never be bigger than the sport, he will go no further.

He suffers from Bad Dad syndrome. I don't think anyone can really doubt this. I heard rumours that his dad, John Tomic, stormed Craig Tiley's office after SchedulingNightMatchGate and threatened to relocate Bernard to Croatia. Now, does this remind you of someone? Because it reminds me of Damir Dokic, and we know how well that turned out.

I would like for Bernard Tomic to sit down with Jelena Dokic and have a good long chat with her. I think she could tell him some very interesting things and offer him some lessons. She had to learn how to become her own person her own way, and it took her years. Much as I find Bernard to be an annoying little shit, I don't want him to go through years and years of the Jelena experience before he comes good.

I want him to grow up.

So go grow, Bernard. And I don't want to see you again until you do.

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