Bernard Tomic says he’s never felt better heading into an Australian Open campaign despite falling agonisingly short of a berth in the final of his hometown tournament.
Tomic was defeated 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) by Milos Raonic in their Brisbane International semi-final on Saturday, with the big-serving Canadian setting up a rematch of last year’s decider against Roger Federer.
Small margins decided the winner with neither player able to break serve, despite a combined six opportunities to do so in a tight first set, and none forthcoming in the second.
Tomic showed great fight to claw back from 5-1 down in both tiebreakers to level the scores, and will take plenty of confidence from his run at the Brisbane event, which peaked with a career-first win over Japanese star Kei Nishikori in the quarter-final.
That result all but assured him of a top 16 seeding in Melbourne, provided Stan Wawrinka beats Bernard Paire in the semi-final of the Chennai Open late on Saturday night (AEDT).
With an Open draw that will keep him distant from the top-ranked players until the late rounds and with some quality on-court minutes already in the tank, Tomic recognises there is a “huge opportunity” now in front of him.
“This is probably the best I’ve been feeling on court physically, and (I’m) very confident every point I play,” Tomic said.
“This week was very, very good tennis from me. I think I can improve a lot, which is the good thing for me.
“Last year on tour really proved that I can match up with the big guys, I got my fitness up.
“I’m just happy to be this fit and feeling this good on court.”
Tomic will now shift his attention to the Sydney International, where he is the top seed and has a relatively smooth path to the semis, with his second-round opponent on Wednesday to be either young Australian wildcard Jordan Thompson or Slovakian Martin Klizan.
The 23-year-old won the tournament three years ago, was a finalist in 2014 and knows what a fourth career ATP title win would do for him at this juncture.
“I have nothing to lose,” Tomic said.
“I realise you have to win titles, you have win big tournaments to move up a lot.
“I have to go there with the mindset to win the tournament.”