Tennis has dominated the media headlines this week with a dramatic series of events resulting in a public questioning of the sportsmanship of Australia’s best young talents, as well as, the integrity and capability of Tennis Australia – Australia’s peak body for tennis. The result so far has even seen drastic changes to the Australian Davis Cup team, with the axing of Bernard Tomic following his public condemnation of TA calling for an internal inquiry into Tennis Australia’s management of player funding.
It appears public opinion is currently divided between those backing Tennis Australia and calling for Australians younger athletes to ‘grow up’, and those followers who recognise Tomic’s public outcry as justified and perhaps overdue. We will let you make your own mind up about the future of Tennis in Australia, and the management of its affairs by TA.
Below are extracts from two recent Sydney Morning Herald articles detailing the recent events and friction between Tomic and Kyrgios and Tennis Australia. Additionally, we have provided a link below for those members who may not recall the documentary series “The State of Play” produced by Four Corners in 2010. The series provides another interesting reference to accusations of poor internal management and politics within TA.
“The State of Play” – http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/special_eds/20100301/tennis/
Tomic Calls For Internal Inquiry Into Tennis Australia
Except from SMH.com.au
During the post match press conference for his third round Wimbledon exit, Bernard Tomic vented almost uninterrupted for five minutes, taking aim at Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley and president Stephen Healy, while also describing Pat Rafter as a “good actor” and a “mask”.
“Pat is a nice guy. If the Australian public don’t know Pat, he’s a good actor, he’s well spoken, always prepared and knows what to say,” Tomic said.
“He’s prepped by Tennis Australia to know what to say. He’s always ready to fire back questions that we answer to. You know, behind that I think very disappointed in Craig Tiley in Tennis Australia. He’s the reason the last few years, it’s been up and down for me.
“There has been [a] lack of support towards me. There has been no respect I think towards me. It’s been difficult, you know, been good player the last three, four years coming up, and, you know, people expecting a lot from you. All of a sudden, things started changing after I had that surgery [double hip surgery after the 2014 Australian Open]. You know, I didn’t get one phone call from Tennis Australia, can we help you, Bernard? Can we do this? Do you need something?
“Nothing. No phone calls were there. You know, I was on my own and felt really bad to such a high level as Tennis Australia, who supported me along the way very good. You know, don’t get me wrong. From what Pat said, a lot of money was invested in me, for sure. But whatever they invested in me, they got in return 10, 20 times more. That’s 100 per cent certain. Now all of a sudden, they are neglecting me, for some reason.”
Tomic’s frustrations with the lack of support and respect from Tennis Australia came to a head when they forced him to pay for balls and court hire at Royal Pines and Pat Rafter Arena when he was trying to find an undercover court to practice leading into this year’s Brisbane International.
“Got a call from Tennis Australia, ‘You have to pay for your own courts’. Now, I thought it was funny. You know, okay, okay, I paid the court, no problem.
“So rains started again. Maybe I go up to Pat Rafter Arena and practice there. Went up there, organised. Ten days before, nine days before. Practice and stuff. Guy coming to me, you have to pay the court and balls. Do you think that’s fair? Honestly … certainly not. That’s where things started changing. I couldn’t believe it. I took the receipt. Whose information was it through Tennis Australia? Pat and Craig. What’s going on? Where is the support? How can you do this? It’s not about the money. It’s about the respect.”
Despite the war with Tennis Australia, Tomic has vowed to play Davis Cup later this month out of respect for Lleyton Hewitt and the Australian public.
He also revealed Australia’s No.1 men’s player Nick Kyrgios had volunteered to sit out the Davis Cup quarter-final against Kazakhstan if Tomic wasn’t going to play.
“I always wanted to play Davis Cup. I’m going to,” Tomic said. “I’m going to go down there and play for the respect of Davis Cup, for the respect of the Australian public, for myself, and mainly for the respect of, you know, Lleyton and the team. You know, it’s interesting what’s happened the last week that Nick wasn’t going to play, as well. You know, I was not going to play.
“He said, ‘If you don’t play, I don’t play.’ It was interesting now looking at this, we are in the quarter-finals of a stage, and, you know, we are sort of about to pull the pin … ”
“I will play, I will play. I will go down. I have the respect for Lleyton. The respect for the legends, Tony Roche, Laver. Not for Tiley, not for these guys. I don’t think what they are doing …it’s not good at all.”
Nick Kyrgios has taken a swipe at Tennis Australia for axing Tomic from the Davis Cup team, revealing he didn’t believe his close friend should have been dumped.
After his fourth round exit from Wimbledon on Monday, Kyrgios spoke for the first time about the drama surrounding Tomic and Tennis Australia, saying he didn’t believe Tomic deserved to be dropped.
“Well, I mean, I think the ultimate goal is to win the Davis Cup. That’s why we’re playing it. I mean, is it not? And he’s Australia’s No. 1. I think out of all the players, he’s the best on a grass court that we have. So, yeah, I mean, I’m sure we could put him in”, Kyrgios said.
Tomic’s rant comes after his father John criticised Tennis Australia for a lack of financial support to his daughter, Sara. But the 22-year-old Tomic was highly critical of Rafter’s performance for Tennis Australia.
“They are holding so much money down there, and doing what they want, increasing their salary, this, that, giving Pat a salary, it’s like saying, ‘here, Pat, here’s a salary’,” Tomic said.
“He doesn’t know what he’s doing. They are giving him a budget. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. What’s his job? Deal with it, Pat. You’re the mask. He’s a mask for these guys, Craig and Steve. They don’t want to deal with this. They give it to Pat, ‘you do the work’. You take care of this and that. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. It’s crazy. Meanwhile, he’s charging me for balls. Charging me for balls and court at his own arena nine days before [a competition]. What’s he doing?
“I don’t understand. Where is the support? Where is the respect, you know? Why I have to play for them, for these guys, these sort of people? I don’t understand. Like why now has it changed? It’s really these guys in Tennis Australia, someone needs to go investigate them, what they are doing and where that money is going. It’s horrible.”
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Article adapted from the following two Sydney Morning Herald articles published this week.