EMIRATES ATP RANKINGS - STARS OF TOMORROW
Bernard Tomic: Knuckling Down
by Matt Fitzgerald|
Having slipped to World No. 64 in the Emirates ATP Rankings at the start of the season but now back inside the Top 50 thanks to his first ATP World Tour title in Sydney, Bernard Tomic believes he knows what it will take to continue climbing higher.
“There are a lot of players who play well for a certain number of weeks,” Tomic tells ATPWorldTour.com. “It’s about playing really well for a consistent number of weeks. That’s what the top players do really well, so I have to build on that. I have to get to what they do and keep a consistent level.”
With a breakout quarter-final performance at Wimbledon two years ago, it appeared that Tomic was ready to take flight in his first full season on the ATP World Tour in 2012. His campaign began well with a semi-final showing in Brisbane and electrifying fourth-round run at the Australian Open, but Tomic, who peaked at No. 27 on 11 June, was unable to string together three wins in a row again throughout the season, finishing with a 26-27 record and a year-end Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 52.
“If I worked smarter and harder, I would have improved much more. But it’s good to grab these things when you’re young,” says Tomic. “I’ve realised it the past four months that you have to put in the right amount of quality work and believe in yourself. It’s a tough road. I have obviously improved the last three years, but to continue to improve is up to you and not anyone else.”
While Tomic ended 2012 with four straight losses, he looked ahead to the off-season, where he would be able to wipe the slate clean. The 20 year old had an epiphany of sorts, recognising it was ultimately up to him to put in the hard yards required to reverse his results heading into the new year.
“I sort of found it out myself. I’m the only one who can help myself on the tennis court,” Tomic says. “This is where being a tennis player is fun. It’s a challenge and you learn a lot of things at the tournaments throughout the year. You step aside and if you want to improve, you can. I told myself that in November and December and knuckled down by working hard. Now it’s about keeping that consistently.”
Tomic’s efforts to take more ownership of his career this year haven’t gone unnoticed. Australia’s Davis Cup captain Patrick Rafter recalled Tomic to the team in April. The top-ranked Australian won both of his singles rubbers to lead his country to victory against host Uzbekistan. Tomic appreciates his time around Rafter and teammate Lleyton Hewitt, who are two of three players from Australia to become World No. 1.
“It’s amazing feeling to be around these people. Lleyton and Pat give a lot of advice to me,” says Tomic. “To have these people around at the Davis Cup and tournaments is great. They give good advice. It’s important to pick up advice from champions like them. Anything I take from those guys is huge for me.”