After a career of mostly ups and precious few downs, Bernard Tomic is in danger of dipping outside the ATP’s top 50.
Tomic’s 6-2 6-3 second-round loss to defending champion Novak Djokovic at the Toronto Masters was the Australian teenager’s eighth defeat from his past nine matches since the French Open.
In eight weeks, Tomic has slipped from a career-high No.27 in the world to 49th and also lost his all-important status as a grand slam seed.
Unless he does something big at next week’s Cincinnati Masters, the 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finalist will be at the mercy of the draw at the US Open starting on August 27.
His slide will leave Tomic with no protection against the top 32 seeds in the first two rounds at Flushing Meadows.
In his first match since losing to Andy Murray in the Olympic semi-finals, Djokovic proved too strong for Tomic.
He claimed three match points with his sixth ace and clinched victory on the first.
“For the first match it was a decent performance,” said the world No.2 and reigning US Open champion.
“Obviously at the start we played very long opening four games and I was struggling to find the rhythm, as most of the players who came in late from London did.”
Murray also avoided post-Games letdown, Scotland’s gold medallist toughing out a painful 6-1 6-3 win over Italian Flavio Cipolla.
Murray, who only arrived in Canada on Tuesday, took to the hard court with minimal preparation but pulled off the win in just under 90 minutes thanks to some help from the ATP trainers.
The world No.4 was treated on his left knee after breaking Cipolla for 3-2 in the second set. Murray was then constantly flexing the knee on his way to victory.
“I feel a little bit sore in the joints, I feel tired mentally,” said Murray, “I haven’t really slept much the last few days, so that’s probably catching up with me a little bit.
“I hit the ball pretty well. After playing for eight weeks on grass, it’s very different here. The ball is very quick compared with Wimbledon. It also bounces much higher. The court is much slower as well.”
Murray won the Canadian titles in 2009-10, but lost his opening match a year ago.
Olympic doubles silver medallist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga went down in his opening second-round singles, losing as French underdog Jeremy Chardy sprang a post-Olympic surprise on his third-seeded countryman 6-4 7-6 (7-4).
Like Murray, Tsonga – who has never lost before the semi-finals in Canada – said he was tired.
For Olympic participants, this week marks a return to North American hard courts after nearly five months on clay and grass.
Bronze medallist Juan Martin del Potro, the Argentine sixth seed, went out 6-4 7-6 (7-5) to Czech Radek Stepanek.