Tennis Australia is concerned Bernard Tomic’s bad attitude is dragging Nick Kyrgios down amid growing calls to ban the pair from the Rio Olympics.
While TA chiefs are pleased with Kyrgios’s improved on-court conduct after the 21-year-old safely saw out a six-month probation period on the ATP Tour, the governing body would like to see Tomic follow suit.
The 23-year-old has made headlines for all the wrong reasons for returning serve with the wrong end of the racquet on match point in his first-round loss in Madrid, prompting a second warning from Australian Olympic team boss Kitty Chiller.
TA, though, is unhappy that Kyrgios has seemingly been tarred with the same brush by Chiller and others condemning the behaviour of Australia’s top two players.
“Nick’s done a really good job at containing himself and learning and getting better,” TA spokesman and former head of professional tennis Todd Woodbridge said on Wednesday.
“He was in the press last week for having a discussion for a line call but if we’d have watched every other player last week, it would have been the same.
“So I think Nick’s going about everything the right way – he’s planning his schedule (and it’s) very important for him to stay fresh and that’s what’s he’s been able to do.
“He’s taking breaks and, when he’s fresh, his mind’s fresh and he plays well.
“For him to be lumped into the media last week was a pretty unfair assessment.”
TA president Steve Healey told Fairfax Media Tomic’s actions in the Spanish capital were disrespecting tennis and Woodbridge agreed he needed to lift his game.
Woodbridge attributed Tomic’s troubles to being dispirited after another dreadful claycourt campaign.
“This has happened every year on the clay courts,” he said.
“Bernard is at his worst on clay. He really struggles on the surface and then he really goes deep into lacking confidence and, once that happens, we see him really wander off mentally.
“So it’s been a little disappointing to see what he’s done the last couple of weeks.
“He’s just got to get through this bit of the season. It’s another few weeks until the end of the French (Open) and then we see him start to play tennis again and mentally switch back on.”
Healey said Olympic selections would be discussed at board level next week, but Woodbridge called for calm as critics urge the AOC not to rubber-stamp tickets for Kyrgios and Tomic should TA pick them for Rio.
“We’ve got another eight weeks or so before selection is done, so there’s a lot of tennis to be played, a lot of water to go under the bridge,” Woodbridge said.
“But right now, like when you play Davis Cup for Australia, you want your best players out there.
“Let’s see what they do in this next six weeks.”