He can feel controversy swirling all about him but Bernard Tomic is vowing to block out the off-court distractions and emerge a Wimbledon dark horse.
John Tomic’s feud with Tennis Australia – which has led to his top-ranked son being unavailable for next month’s Davis Cup quarter-final against Kazakhstan – has dominated the 22-year-old’s lead-up.
But displaying the maturity that former Cup captain and now TA’s head of player performance Pat Rafter had been hoping for, Tomic promised to overcome the off-court dramas and live up to his newfound seeding status at the All England Club on Friday.
The former teenage quarter-finalist and two-time junior grand slam winner said he’d become accustomed to dealing with off-court dramas from a young age.
“I’ve always been good at that and I obviously see the stuff around,” Tomic said after drawing a first-round match against German Jan-Lennard Struff on Monday.
“But honestly, it’s the biggest tournament here that we have so I have to respect it and focus as much as I can then obviously, afterwards, deal with other things off court as best as I can.
“Obviously there’s going to be some stuff after Wimbledon to talk about but for sure I’m happy to open up about that.”
In the meantime, Tomic’s eyes remain on the prize.
He could well face titleholder Novak Djokovic in round three but Tomic says it’s much too early to be thinking about that.
Still stinging from his shock French Open final loss, Djokovic first must negotiate a path past tough German Philipp Kohlschreiber, the highest-ranked unseeded player in the draw – and possibly Lleyton Hewitt in round two.
“It’s not easy for Novak to start that match off,” Tomic said.
“So you have to respect everyone but for me obviously being a seed now it opens a little bit some doors paper-wise.
“But that can not mean a lot.”
Tomic required cortisone injections to get through the French Open but is feeling freer after persevering with new orthotics.
“In Halle, I played a match with them, which wasn’t the best thing to do but I forced myself to be ready for Wimbledon,” he said.
“To play with these new in-soles is very difficult. I’ve never played with them.
“So for four or five days I had started playing with them, it was tough. But I’ve gotten used to them now.
“I’m moving a lot better in them and my back pain is easing off, so I think that was the cause.
“So we’ll see how it goes but it’s definitely a lot better than Paris.
“I’m a lot more confident this year heading into Wimbledon. It’s a tournament I’ve done really well at in the past so it’s a good feeling being back here.”
Tomic looked anything but a player ready to walk out on his Davis Cup teammates during quality practice sessions with Lleyton Hewitt and Nick Kyrgios.
“Nick, he was serving very good. He’s very confident as well. He’s got a good draw as well to do some damage,” Tomic said.
“And obviously hitting today with Lleyton, he’s an always an amazing hit on grass.
“I’ve been practising very well. So for me, the last two days have been crucial to train well.
“It’s the days you do before Wimbledon that make the big difference.”