Bernard Tomic has hailed Davis Cup as the ultimate tennis experience after surpassing the legendary Rod Laver with his 17th singles win for Australia.
Tomic’s 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 6-4 triumph over Jozef Kovalik propelled Australia to a 2-0 lead against Slovakia on Friday – after Nick Kyrgios’ earlier victory – and also improved his record in the competition to an enviable 17-4 in singles.
Laver retired with a 16-4 win-loss tally and now Tomic has set his sights on lifting the Cup for the first time after edging Australia back to within a rubber of a place in the 2017 World Group.
“For me, there’s nothing that can match Davis Cup,” Tomic said.
“I love it with my heart and soul and I’ve always played well in the event and any tie that comes in the future, I’m always there 100 per cent for Davis Cup.”
The 23-year-old was criticised in some quarters for boycotting the Rio Olympics in favour of an ATP title defence elsewhere in South America.
But there can be no doubting his commitment to the green and gold.
“It’s a huge thing for me because it’s not the fact it’s Davis Cup but the fact is you’re playing for your country, you’re playing (in a) different situation,” he said.
“You have your teams there , everyone supporting you in the team, that build-up for 10 days, two weeks before.
“Davis Cup ties are very, very different to anything you experience on tour alone. We compete so much alone for ourselves and when this comes around, it’s so different.”
Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt, the country’s greatest Davis Cup warrior, lauded Tomic for his passion and resilience in the Cup cauldron.
“It’s never easy playing Davis Cup and in some of those matches Bernard has had to play he has been the big favourite in a lot of those matches but he’s still got to go out there and get the job done,” Tomic said.
“And for the last couple of years, he’s been doing that consistently.
“If you look at his Davis Cup record, the only guys he’s lost to have been top-shelf players and that’s a credit to himself that he can go out and play tough tennis, best of five sets and we can rely on that.”