Bernard Tomic is trying to stay cool as he and fellow tennis wild child Nick Kyrgios attempt to win back the Australian public this summer.
Tomic and Kyrgios were both scratched from 2016 Newcombe Medal contention after a series of run-ins with fans and officials again last year, but are hoping to rebuild their image as well as shoot for Australian Open glory.
“Obviously we’re just crazy, a bit crazy, so it’s tough to control. Honestly speaking,” Tomic said in the countdown to the season’s first grand slam at Melbourne Park starting on Monday.
“Sometimes we do lose it, but we have to remain mentally strong and focus on the main thing, which is playing tennis and doing well and trying to achieve our target.
“But for sure we are not the calmest people.”
After serving a three-week ban late last year for “not giving his best efforts” in a match at the Shanghai Masters, Kyrgios has again caused worldwide headlines for the wrong reasons after briefly donning an anti-Donald Trump shirt following Monday night’s Fast4 exhibition event.
The slip-up came hours after Kyrgios received rave reviews for proving king of the kids during a warm-up with ball boys and girls in Sydney.
“I feel like me and Bernard, we might not always be the greatest role models,” the 21-year-old said after hitting on the make-up court at Darling Harbour.
“In the past we’ve done some silly things but we’ve also played some great tennis.
“Ultimately that’s what these guys want to be; they want to be good tennis players.
“We’ve had some great wins, competed at the top of the game. It’s always fun coming out – it strips it back and you do it because you like to play. That’s all that really matters.”
Kyrgios, the world No.14, and 27th-ranked Tomic are Australia’s two best hopes of making a run at Melbourne Park.
Battling a knee injury, Kyrgios scored a confidence-boosting win over Spanish great Rafael Nadal in the shortened format before Tomic sealed victory for Australia over the World with a five-set defeat of Dominic Thiem.
“It starts next week: we’ll be ready as much as we can and I’m sure we’re both aiming to go deep,” Tomic said.
Kyrgios will rely on cortisone to get through the Open and is vowing to fight through the pain barrier.
“I’m going to lay it all on the line in Melbourne. Whether it hurts or not, I’m going to push it to the limit,” he said.
“Obviously the grand slams are the tournaments me and Bernard tend to step up and that’s where we like to play.
“I’m going to try and leave it all out there and whether it’s hurting or not, it’s really not going to affect my game.”