Bernard Tomic cited food poisoning for his controversial quarter-final retirement in the Sydney International.
A disinterested Tomic was trailing Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3 3-0 when he pulled the plug, clearly eager to get to Melbourne to finalise his preparations for Monday’s start to the Australian Open.
Rain had postponed Tomic’s quarter-final until Friday morning, meaning the world No.17 would have been forced to play a second a match later in the day had he advanced to the final four.
“I was just feeling a little bit sick last night and was very difficult to play two matches today. Unfortunately I made the right decision, being sick, to not play to the end,” Tomic said.
Tomic was criticised by commentators over the nature of his withdrawal, including a mid-match discussion with chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani in which the 23-year-old openly admitted it wasn’t worth playing on in Sydney.
He was seen telling Lahyani that his ranking would only go up one spot if he made the Sydney final, and that he was “looking for Melbourne, am not looking for this.”
Tomic laughed off the remarks.
“I told him, yeah, two matches today, sick, win the tournament, go up one spot,” he said.
“Doesn’t sound good for me, does it?”
The former Wimbledon quarter-finalist also said the Sydney traffic contributed to his lack of energy.
Asked what had given him food poisoning, he said: “I don’t know. (I’ve) been eating the same thing at the hotel. A lot of fish and rice this week.
“I didn’t sleep a lot last night, a few hours. We were all here at like 8am. With the traffic, everything was complicated this morning.
“I’m not feeling my greatest. I actually only thought I was playing one match today.”
Tomic said he was unsure when he would travel to Melbourne.
“Also have to watch also if I travel. I know if you travel you can get sick easier. You have to be careful. Maybe I fly tomorrow morning or tonight,” he said.
“Just going to recover as much as I can today. That’s the best then for me now. Get ready to play. I have an amazing opportunity in Melbourne seeded very high.”
Channel Seven commentator Todd Woodbridge, Tennis Australia’s former head of men’s tennis said “there’ll be a lot of fallout” over Tomic’s retirement.
Tomic’s first match in Melbourne, against Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin, will be played on Tuesday.