(Reuters) - Bernard Tomic has faced a barrage of criticism from former players after the 24-year-old Australian said he faced “mental issues” and was bored during his lacklustre loss to Mischa Zverev in the first round at Wimbledon on Tuesday.
Tomic was touted as a future major champion in his homeland after winning a slew of boy’s titles, including junior grand slam triumphs at the Australian and U.S. Opens, but his career has stalled and he remains without a title since 2015.
Following the 6-3 6-4 6-3 loss to Germany’s Zverev, Tomic conducted an unconventional news conference at the All England Club in which he detailed his struggles to stay motivated.
Tomic’s attitude irked a lot of his fellow countrymen, including former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, who said Australians were not pleased with either his performance or his comments.
“He can do a lot worse than that to ruin the image that we’ve created. But a lot of ex-players are cringing, Aussies, especially... the guys who started this pro circuit. We wouldn’t be here without these guys,” Cash told the BBC.
Australian six-time grand slam doubles champion Rennae Stubbs also expressed her anger at Tomic.
“To say the things that he said in the press conference today is a disgrace,” Stubbs said. “You’re an embarrassment to yourself, and not only to the sport but to Australian tennis.”
Women’s nine-time Wimbledon winner Martina Navratilova suggested that Tomic’s comments were ungracious and suggested he “stay at home”.
“It’s disrespectful to the sport and disrespectful to the history of the sport. If you can’t get motivated at Wimbledon it’s time to find another job,” Navratilova added.
“The spectators paid good money to come here and watch Wimbledon and the guy shows up and doesn’t try, he can’t be bothered. Just stay at home.”
Tomic and Tennis Australia have a strained relationship with the player being dropped from previous Davis Cup teams for controversial comments and opinions.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru