By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
In their first meeting on the ATP Tour, Tomic put his recent off court troubles begin him to breeze past Ward without breaking a sweat.
The two grass court experts treated the Centre Court crowd to an entertaining contest, although both wavered in terms of confidence at times with a number of unforced errors.
Once Tomic edged ahead then it appeared highly unlikely that the Australian would surrender, leaving Ward – on his fifth successive wildcard at Eastbourne – to concentrate on Wimbledon.
Big serving Tomic has slipped down the world rankings to no64 following his father’s suspension as an accredited coach since an incident at the Madrid Masters. And it was Tomic’s first ATP circuit triumph since his father was charged with alleged assault of former training partner Thomas Drouet in May.
With his father and coach John courtside for the second tournament on the bounce, finally the pair had something to cheer about as the four-match losing streak was halted.
His win-loss record of 15-11 after brushing aside Ward says it all, but if Tomic can continue to utilise his thunderous serve and stay solid at the back of the court then he could be an outsider for the Eastbourne crown.
However, that depends upon whether he is fully recovered from the hamstring injury suffered during the 1st Round at Roland Garros.
Tomic said: “My leg is probably not 100 per cent but I’m feeling OK out there, so hopefully my leg holds up every match I play and I don’t feel it.
“Every match here is going to give me more confidence, and I’m going to have to use these matches for Wimbledon preparation.”
The distractions because of his father/coach could be shaken off at Devonshire Park, which would take Tomic into Wimbledon brimming with confidence.