Tennis Identity

Editorial: Tomic Fined For Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Dropped by HEAD

“Tanking” is a term that stands for a big no-no in tennis. It means you’ve thrown in the towel and are just going through the motions. You’ve given up and are letting the other player roll over you on purpose. You’ve gone into the tank. Nick Kyrgios has admitted to this, and John McEnroe suggested Novak Djokovic did the same thing in his French Open match against Dominic Thiem; a defending Grand Slam winner just doesn’t lose a QF match 7-6 6-3 6-0 to a young upstart. It’s a black eye for the sport, and difficult to prove in some cases.

And then there’s Bernard Tomic.

The Australian has been fined $15,000 by the International Tennis Federation for unsportsmanlike conduct. Some might call him a “young” Australian being just 24, but in this case, youth is no excuse. Tomic admitted after his first-round loss to Alexander Zverev that he was “bored” during the match, and called for the trainer to disrupt his opponent’s play rather than for an injury.

It was definitely a mental issue out there. I wasn’t mentally and physically there to perform. I don’t know why, but, you know, I felt a little bit bored out there to be completely honest with you. It’s a roller coaster, and I just can’t seem to find the commitment to work hard, to enjoy, and to lift trophies. Maybe I have to look at a few things, maybe play less tournaments. The last two years, nothing motivates. -Bernard Tomic

His racket sponsor Head has just dropped him as a result.

Tomic statement

You can be sure Nike is paying attention- their slogan, after all, isn’t “Just Do It (If You Feel Like It – NOT).”


New York Times tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg appeared on Australian radio station 3AW to discuss the player and his admitted indifference.

After his comments, the tennis world wasted no time in justifiably blasting him.

The irony is that Tomic received $45,000 just for losing in the first round, so the fine has minimal impact. And he won’t give it back, either.

Well, if you ask (Roger) Federer to give back $500 million, would he do that or not? We all work for money. At 34, maybe I can donate to charity. If you ask Roger if he’ll do it, I’ll do it. -Bernard Tomic

Bernie, being a top-tier tennis professional is a privilege (that you albeit worked hard for). You’re out there in front of fans and they expect you to give your best effort, and here you are admitting you’re mailing it in. Explain that to a fan of yours that works two jobs just to keep a roof over their heads. Explain that to players struggling in the lower rungs of the pro circuit, traveling in vans just to get to the qualies. Read the New York Times article “No Thrills, No Crowds, No Glory” for a little perspective. Maybe playing in front of ten people would change your outlook.

In my (admittedly humble) opinion, the ITF was way to easy on you. Maybe a year long suspension would’ve gotten your attention. They levied a ban on Sharapova for taking a drug that had just appeared on the banned list- and they ruled it was unintentional behavior. You admit your behavior is intentional. Your nonchalance and admitted ambivalence have no place on the court.

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