While jokingly conceding he “sucks on clay”, Australian star Bernard Tomic admits he very nearly chose skip the claycourt season this year to focus on his grass court preparations.
Tomic will begin his French Open campaign, where he is targeting the third round as an attainable goal, against American world No.631 Brian Baker on Tuesday.
His record on clay – comfortably his least favourite surface and the one that does not suit his style of tennis – leaves much to be desired and he’s only twice reached the second round at Roland Garros from six attempts.
But the 23-year-old remains hopeful of producing a career-best showing in Paris this week.
“You can say I suck on clay,” he laughed.
“… I need to try to do well here.
“The goal is to try and make third round here and I have to get ready because it’s not my favourite surface.”
That optimism comes despite a woeful claycourt season to date – a period in which he has produced three losses, zero wins and a retirement after just three games in his most recent match.
And Tomic admits that even before his lacklustre claycourt return this year, he’d given consideration to skipping the surface altogether after picking up a wrist injury at Indian Wells in March.
“I was gonna (skip the claycourt season) this year,” Tomic said.
“I swear, after Indian Wells when my wrist was sore, I was gonna pull out of all the claycourt tournaments and maybe just come to Roland Garros.
“Last year, looking back, I won a match, had a chance to make third round and second round of Monte Carlo.
“(But since) I came on tour at 18, maybe my max result was a quarter of a 250 and (twice) second round (in Paris).
“So my claycourt (record) is very, very bad on the five or six years on tour.”