I've got the right goal, the mindset to do what it is I need to do
Bernard Tomic says it’s only a matter of time before he cracks the top ten after world No.2 Roger Federer handed him his first loss of the season in Melbourne
“It’s not my favourite part of the job beating up on the home heroes,” said Federer to a packed Rod Laver Arena after producing a tennis master class to beat crowd-favourite Tomic 6-4, 7-6, 6-1. The young Aussie hopeful talked a big talk ahead of his third round showdown with the 16-time Grand Slam champion and despite losing in straight sets Tomic’s performance drew praise from his compatriots, with Australia’s Herald Sun declaring ‘Not Bad, Son’ on its back page.
The world No. 43 remained upbeat after the loss to Federer, choosing to take the positives from the matchup and his start to the season, in which he put together a 10-game unbeaten streak and won his first ATP tiltle in Sydney.
“Yeah, a lot of players, especially in the locker room, they idolize Roger,” said Tomic. “You want to pick up anything you can from this sort of a player. He is the greatest our sport's ever had. You learn something every time you watch him. I learned something tonight as well.
“You use this and you use it in a good way. It's going to make me a better player. I'm going to keep working hard. Point by point, I'm going to get my opportunities this year again and become a better player.”
Controversy has followed Tomic around like a shadow during his relatively young career. The German-born player was tagged with the nickname ‘Tomic the tank engine’ after admitting to not giving his best effort in Shanghai last year and after dropping down the rankings from No. 28 to No. 64 in the space of six months the 20-year-old knew he needed to change his ways. Now after a successful few weeks at home, Tomic is planning to take heed of Federer’s advice.
“[Federer] said, ‘Keep going, you improved’,” explained Tomic. “Every time I played him, he mentioned, ‘Well done, Bernie, keep going, keep improving’, which is a good thing, hearing that from somebody that's giving some advice. Keep going, keep pushing yourself. It's important you take that onboard because, you know, you can become a better player when you get information off the world's best.
“Right now I need to improve. I'm going to keep improving. I've improved a lot. But to become someone like him, or even in that area, I've got to improve more.
Tomic, who now plans to take a week’s rest before returning to the practise court, says he will more than likely play Rotterdam before heading to Marseille and then Dubai.
“I've got the right goal, the mindset to do what it is I need to do,” he said. “I'm going to sit down and have my rest time, train, get ready for each tournament I play, like I did here, like I did last week and the week before. It's a challenge, but I've committed to myself I'm up for it. I can't wait for the next tournament to start, for me to start training and getting better.
“It's just a matter of time when I get up to the big group of boys in the top 10. I've got to believe and do the things that I was doing the last few weeks. I know I'm going to be in there with this attitude.”