Tomic rocked: ‘Can I cry now?’
FEW people lose any sleep over Bernard Tomic these days.
As a nation Australia has become accustomed to the tennis brat's shameful performances on the tennis court and off it, and his window of forgiveness is now barely a centimetre wide, if it's even there at all.
He drives bright sports cars, taunts the rest of us about how much money he makes and his tank jobs give the impression he doesn't even care - something he admitted to after an early departure from Wimbledon this year.
They say humans aren't perfect - so we already know Tomic is human - but he finally showed an honest side to himself that perhaps didn't make people want to take his racquet and belt him over the head with it (though we can't say that with 100 per cent confidence).
Tomic said he was "bored" with tennis at the All England Club recently, so in an interview with Melissa Doyle on Channel Seven's Sunday Night program, she showed him some footage from the troubled star's early days.
It was a clip of a fresh-faced Tomic - then just a young boy - saying he loved tennis "from the ground to the sky, it's my soul". It clearly had an impact.
"Can I cry now? That was amazing, thanks for showing that to me," Tomic said. "It's motivating, it's emotional - I was about to cry, so thank you.
"It was many years ago when I was young and dreaming of playing at the level where I am, and I know I never would have got there and where I am now if it wasn't for my family.
"Back then, you're a kid and you dream, and I did love everything about it (tennis) at that stage."
Obviously he doesn't anymore.
You could publish a 100-page "join the dots" book using the litany of black marks on Tomic's record. One of those came in 2015 when he lashed out at Tennis Australia (TA) and then-Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter for a lack of support, calling the Aussie legend a "good actor".
Rafter dumped Tomic from the Davis Cup team and the youngster clearly isn't prepared to forgive and forget, taking aim at the two-time grand slam champion once again.
"Pat's said a lot of bad things about me throughout my career, and he's always perceived as this nice guy," Tomic told Doyle.
"This image - people don't know him behind closed doors. He's not that much of a nice guy.
"And he's - you know, he likes to put on a show."
Tomic the Tank Engine didn't earn that moniker for nothing. Time and time again the tennis community has accused him of giving up when the going gets tough.
But that's not how he sees it.
"I don't tank," Tomic said. "I just get disappointed in myself and very angry, I forget about what the score is and who I'm playing and I think about different things even though I'm on the tennis court."
We doubt too many people will stomach that excuse.
But Tomic isn't out to please people. Asked what he had to say to those thinking of buying tickets to his matches, he told them to stay at home and watch him on TV instead, because even he doesn't know which Bernard Tomic will turn up on any given day - the lethargic loser or the prodigy once touted as a future major winner.
The man whose dream it was to establish himself as a top-10 player - something that is drifting ever closer to fantasy than reality - managed to turn his lack of effort into a humble brag. When you've accumulated more than $5 million in prize money on the ATP circuit, you're allowed to feel good about yourself.
"Throughout my career I've given 100 per cent. I've given also 30 per cent. But if you balance it out, I think all my career's been around 50 per cent and I haven't really tried and I've achieved all this," Tomic said.
"So it's just amazing what I've done."
As amazing as he thinks it may be, his tennis achievements don't give Tomic satisfaction anymore. He said he's "trapped" by tennis and admitted "not many things can make me super happy".
In an interview that drew plenty of appreciation on social media for its honesty, Tomic spoke about how tough his father John was on him, how "loose" he can get when he blows off steam and how he believes he's picked on for expressing his feelings in a way Australians don't like.
But the chat was never going to finish without a mention of money. After his Wimbledon exit Tomic said he can buy the houses and cars most Australians can only dream of, but he doesn't regrets those comments, admitting he made them to "p*** people off".
The 24-year-old had the opportunity to play elsewhere - he was born in Germany and his father is Croatian while his mother is Bosnian - but Tomic wants us to know he calls Australia home.
"There have been big offers to play for different countries around the world. Millions that, you know, people could only imagine. And I never did that. I stayed loyal to Australia," Tomic said.
"At the time, I thought about it. The money was insane."
But it's hard to see all the money in the world buying him acceptance in the country he's represented since he was a teenager. And that love of tennis he saw himself speak about more than a decade ago is long gone as far as he's concerned.
"Do you realistically think there's any chance you will ever find love for tennis?" Doyle asked.
"No, no, no. I'm just going to go about it as a job," Tomic replied.
A lot of ppl go to work to earn a crust, and have no love for their job... Tomic is certainly honest. Respect that. #Sundaynight— Marty Pask (@mpask) July 23, 2017
"I'm just Bernard". Feel a bit sad watching this Tomic stuff. How did he get so bitter? I still hope he can mature and turn it around.— Michael Randall (@MickRandallHS) July 23, 2017
Watched Tomic interview. Will cop flack for my opinion: His family is the root of most of whats going on.Hope he finds peace + bounces back— Andrew Bogut (@andrewbogut) July 23, 2017