Tense test is learning curve for Tomic

2013 AEGON International, Bernard TOMIC, Julien BENNETEAU, Players

By Xavier Harley-Rudd

Bernard TomicBernard Tomic made it rare back-to-back wins to roar into the quarter-finals of the AEGON International, but had to battle through a tense tiebreak to see off Julien Benneteau.

The Australian followed on from his first victory in virtually two months by adding the scalp of the French ace 6-2 5-7 7-6, taking the tiebreak 7-4 in a match that should have really been concluded in straight set.

Tomic soared away with the first set and lead 4-1 in the second, but the world no32 hit a purple match to force a decisive set.

The last time that the 20-year-old registered back-to-back wins was in February, but since then he has suffered on court and off court drama – including controversy surrounding his father and coach John, who was watching courtside following an ATP ban for accreditation pending a court case over alleged assault.

Tomic said: “I thought I had already won the match and took my foot off the pedal. Then before you know it, he goes for his shots and breaks you.

“Then he gets the firepower to play, and from there he started playing ridiculous – some of those volleys he was making were probably some of the best I’ve ever seen.

“But being up a set and 4-1 then I should have won it comfortably. I’m lucky and somehow I pulled it through in the end. I have learned something today, that I need to focus more when I’m winning.”

Tomic’s turn to wilt Ward

2013 AEGON International, Bernard TOMIC, News, Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Bernard TomicBernard Tomic bounced back from his shock exit at Queen’s with two breaks of serve to defeat British wildcard James Ward on Tuesday.

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.

Simon set to impress

Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV, Andreas Seppi, Fabio FOGNINI, Gilles SIMON, Juan MONACO, Julien BENNETEAU, Kevin ANDERSON, Milos RAONIC, News, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER, Players, Radek STEPANEK, Thomaz BELLUCCI

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

aegon international men's winnerGilles Simon, who has yet to progress beyond the 4th Round at Wimbledon, is one of the favourites to lift the 2013 AEGON International crown.

But the French ace, whose game is suited to the low bounce on grass, as top seed will no doubt feel the pressure on him at Devonshire Park as he was pushed out of being the top seed on Thursday evening.

Milos Raonic, the world no15, taken over the mantle as no1 seed for the 2013 AEGON International as a late wildcard.

The Canadian was bundled out of the opening round of the grass court Gerry Weber Open in Germany by French ace Gael Monfils, following on from his early French Open exit after being out served by South African Kevin Anderson.

Despite his infamous booming serve, Raonic’s game has recently been going through a bad patch after he parted ways with Spanish coach Galo Blanco last month.

The 22-year-old has turned to Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic, who retired from  the ATP Tour last year after 14 seasons, on a trial run and the duo are working together from their respective residence in Monte Carlo.

Raonic said: “We both come from aggressive styles of play, so he understands the mentality I have on court as well as the areas where I can improve.”

The British duo of talented teenager Kyle Edmund and Davis Cup stalwart James Ward have also been given wildcards into the Eastbourne event.

Ward, a 2010 AEGON International quarter-finalist, admitted: “I’m really looking forward to returning to Eastbourne, it’s the perfect opportunity to get in some matches ahead of Wimbledon.”

Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci has become the first withdrawal from the tournament, and previously skipped the Eastbourne event, although was never amongst the players likely to win.

But Phillip Kohlschreiber, who narrowly missed out on being the no1 seed, is the most probable champion with an attacking style of play that is suited to grass and saw the German reach the 2012 Wimbledon quarter-finals.

South African no1 Anderson made a name for himself on grass with an impressive run to the quarter-finals at 2008 Wimbledon – just a year after joining the ATP Tour – and the thundering serves from the 6 foot 8 inch powerful ace are going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Bernard Tomic deflatedYet unseeded Bernard Tomic, who crashed out at Queen’s in London, went one better by becoming the first teenager since German legend Boris Becker to reach the Men’s Singles semi-finals at Wimbledon.

That was in 2011, but the tenacious Aussie had an unhappy return to SW19 last season and has courted controversy off the court due to allegations involving his father/coach John.

Tomic was surprisingly defeated in three sets by Italian Fabio Fognini at the 2012 AEGON International, so will be a dangerous floater in the draw.

Another Italian regular to Devonshire Park, former Eastbourne champion Andreas Seppi, has a slim shot of winning the tournament.

Clay court expert Juan Monaco of Argentina, Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov, French ace Julien Benneteau and Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek will all be vying a slice of glory although it seems that the top three seeds of Raonic, Simon and Kohlschreiber are the overwhelming favourites to taste success.

 

Greener grass beckons for Tomic

Bernard TOMIC, Marion Bartoli, Players

 

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Bernard Tomic deflatedBernard Tomic, narrowly ousted out of Queen’s in an opening round thriller by German Benjamin Becker, will be after more than just one more grass court contest ahead of The Championships at SW19.

The Australian ace, booed off court at Wimbledon for taking lumps of the hallowed turf following a shock defeat, will be unseeded at Eastbourne although that will not faze him.

However, his results have far from impressive ever since his father and coach John was controversially charged with assaulting Tomic’s former practice partner Thomas Drouet during the 2013 Madrid Masters in May.

Drouet, who recently became a practice partner for Devonshire Park regular Marion Bartoli, an ex-Eastbourne champion, could come briefly face-to-face with Tomic Snr at the 2013 AEGON International as the entire arena is only small.

The Frenchman was left which left with severe facial and neck injuries, although Tomic Snr is claiming he acted in self defence.

Tomic Snr is banned by the ATP Tour from being granted accreditation pending their investigation into the alleged assault, with the case in a Madrid court postponed until October.

But he was permitted to be a spectator at Queen’s in London and will be granted access to Eastbourne as a paying member of the public.

He saw his son fall 6-4 6-7 7-6 in his first match since retiring with a hamstring injury from Roland Garros, the 20-year-old’s decisive tiebreak littered with errors in an otherwise impressive display.

John TomicThe ATP rules can prohibit a person from gaining accreditation and in a statement said:

“The ATP continues its investigation into the incident in Madrid concerning John Tomic. Mr Tomic’s credential privileges continue to be suspended at all ATP tournaments until further notice.”

However, the ATP is respectfully leaving it up to individual tournaments to determine whether to ban Tomic from attending as a spectator.

A senior spokesman for the LTA told EastbourneTennis.com: “Regarding Mr Tomic. The safety of our players, officials, coaches and spectators is of paramount importance to us.

“We are adhering to ATP rules to ban him from having accreditation or from having access to accredited areas.

“But if Mr Tomic chooses to buy a ticket then we will treat him as any other member of the public, and will be expecting him to behave in an appropriate manner on site.”

Hopefully the name Tomic will be mentioned in glowing terms for on court exploits during Eastbourne’s genteel Wimbledon warm-up event rather than court controversy off court.

Tomic has the traits suited to low bouncing courts so should be able to capitalise during the brief grass court season, even though his quirky style resulted in a shock defeat during a rain delayed contest in London.

 

Simon snatches top billing

2013 AEGON International, Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV, Andreas Seppi, Bernard TOMIC, Denis Istomin, Fabio FOGNINI, Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, Gilles SIMON, Grega ZEMLJA, Ivan DODIG, Jarkko NIEMINEN, Juan MONACO, Julien BENNETEAU, Kevin ANDERSON, Martin KLIZAN, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER, Players, Radek STEPANEK, Thomaz BELLUCCI, Viktor TROICKI

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

2013 entrants and seeds

gilles simon top seed 2013Gilles Simon, the 28-year-old from Nice, is the top seed as the highest ranked of the trio from the world’s top 20 ATP players due compete at the 2103 AEGON International.

Simon, who reached the dizzy heights of world no6 is nicknamed “Gilou” with his most significant success over Rafael Nadal in Madrid five years ago.

Although British fans will probably remember the current world no17 bowing out to Olympic champion Andy Murray at the 2013 Australian Open.

German Phillip Kohlschreiber (world no18) missed out on being seeded no1 and has the perfect all round game that is suited to grass, so is the most probable champion.

Argentinian Juan Monaco (world no20) is the no3 seed but is a clay court expert so is likely to find the adjustment from a gruelling season on a slower surface difficult to adjust to.

In form Kevin Anderson has been given the no4 seeding and the 6 foot 8 inch South African star will be a force to be reckoned with courtesy of his thundering serve and game suited to fast surfaces.

Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov, a Devonshire Park regular, takes the no5 slot with former Eastbourne champion Andreas Seppi of Italy a dangerous opponent as no6 seed.

Seppi’s compatriot Fabio Fognini takes the no7 berth with French ace Julien Benneteau completing the eight seeds.

But the player that the seeds will be aiming to avoid will be Monaco-based Australian Bernard Tomic, who in 2011 became the first teenager since Boris Becker to reach the Men’s Singles semi-finals at Wimbledon.

Tomic stuttered out of the 2012 AEGON International in three sets to Fognini despite being the no4 seed and was booed off the Wimbledon courts following his destruction of the grass with his racquet after tasting defeat.

Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek will be another difficult opponent, and if compatriot Tomas Berdych – a top 10 player – has a shortlived experience at Queen’s in London then he will listen to whether his coach Ivan Ljubicic wants him to warm-up Wimbledon as a Devonshire Park wildcard.

Thomaz Belluci has withdrawn from the tournament, which isn’t the first time that the Brazilian has opted to skip the event.

Men’s Provisional Seeds

Seed

Men

Nation

1

Gilles SIMON  France

2

Phillip KOHLSCHREIBER  Germany

3

Juan MONACO  Argentina

4

Kevin ANDERSON  South Africa

5

Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV  Ukraine

6

Andreas SEPPI  Italy

7

Fabio FOGNINI  Italy

8

Julien BENNETEAU  France

The entrants confirmed are:

  1. Gilles SIMON (France)
  2. Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (Germany)
  3. Juan MONACO (Argentina)
  4. Kevin ANDERSON (South Africa)
  5. Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV (Ukraine)
  6. Andreas SEPPI (Italy)
  7. Fabio FOGNINI (Italy)
  8. Julien BENNETEAU (France)
  9. Martin KLIZAN (Slovakia)
  10. Jarkko NIEMINEN (Finland)
  11. Viktor TROICKI (Serbia)
  12. Feliciano LOPEZ (Spain)
  13. Denis ISTOMIN (Uzbekistan)
  14. Radek STEPANEK (Czech Republic)
  15. Ivan DODIG (Croatia)
  16. Grega ZEMLJA (Slovenia)
  17. Bernard TOMIC (Australia)
  18. Fernando VERDASCO (Spain)

Tomic out of tune

Bernard TOMIC, Fabio FOGNINI

BernardTomic-Eastbourne2012Bernard Tomic, who withdrew from the 2013 French Open due to a hamstring injury after losing the opening two sets to Victor Hanescu, should be fit in time for his return to Eastbourne.

Tomic required treatment after 10 minutes of the opening round contest, and it was the second time this year he has quit against the Romanian after conceding with a leg injury in Dubai.

But the Monaco-based Australian is set to rest before competing at Queen’s in London before his last warm-up for Wimbledon at the 2013 AEGON International.

Tomic fell in three sets to Italian Fabio Fognini in his opening match, a 2nd Round clash, at the 2012 AEGON International as no4 seed. This year he won’t be among the seeds and could be a dangerous floater.

There are some rumours flying around claiming that Tomic deliberately withdrew at Roland Garros when he was on the verge of defeat, which was because of the ban by the French Open organisers on his father and coach John.

And Wimbledon’s All England Club are set to match this ban at SW19 for The Championships that start on 24 June. An All England Club spokesperson said: “We are supporting the ban on accreditation pending his investigation/trial. We will also look to prevent entrance by ticket.”

The International Tennis Federation has rejected Tomic’s father’s coach’s accreditation application for 2013 Wimbledon because of assault charges in Madrid, Spain.

Tomic, who made a major impact as a 18-year-old at 2011 Wimbledon to become the youngest men’s quarter-finalist since Boris Becker in 1986, was not a popular figure at SW19 last year and was booed out of the court after taking chunks out of the hallowed turf with his racquet following a shock defeat to David Goffin.

Although his father will be travelling with him to England for the grass court season, both Queen’s and Eastbourne are expected to also initiate bans.

Tomic explained: “My father’s still working with me, nothing’s really changed. He’s still my coach and he will always be because I grew up with him and he knows me better than everyone else.

“But I might put someone else on board that can help my dad and those two people can negotiate. Not a coach, but someone just to help me a little bit. I haven’t made a decision yet on who.

“It might be a few weeks away yet, after the grass season. I probably have a choice of two or three people now. I will decide with my dad over the next week and who knows? Maybe you’ll see someone you don’t expect.”

BERNARD TOMIC

2013 AEGON International, Bernard TOMIC
Tomic, BernardTomic, Bernard
Birthplace:
Stuttgart, Germany
Residence
Gold Coast, Australia
Height
6’5″ (196 cm)
Weight
201 lbs (91 kg)
Plays
Right-handed
Turned Pro
2008

Bernard Tomic was born in Stuttgart (Germany) on the 21st of October, 1992, but has Australian citizenship and has competed with the national team in the Davis Cup. He began his tennis career at the age of seven, and he was already showing great promise even as a junior.

He won the Australian Open Junior crown in 2008 and the US Open Junior title in 2009.

Tomic reached the 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finals, where he knocked out the then world no5 Robin Söderling. But it was the future champion, Novak Djokovic, who halted his run – in four sets.

Won the 2013 Sydney title and is always a danger in any draw.

2012 Friday Men’s Preview

Andreas Seppi, Andy Roddick, Bernard TOMIC, Denis Istomin, Fabio FOGNINI, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER

AEGON InternationalThe quarter-finals at the AEGON International feature the no3, no6 and no7 seeds.

Three of the players remaining have won at least one ATP World grass court title, and four are looking for a first career title on the surface.

Subject to confirmation, and obviously the weather, the men’s quarter-finals and semi-finals will be contested on Friday – delayed from Thursday because of rain and rain breaks at Eastbourne on Thursday.

No7 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, who beat Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal on the grass at Halle last week, is up against no3 seed and defending champion Andreas Seppi.

The German no2 has a 3-2 career mark over the top Italian, although Seppi won the last meeting in the 2nd Round at Rotterdam in February. This will be their first meeting on grass.

Kohlschreiber comes into his sixth ATP Tour quarter-final of the season with a 27-13 match record, and his best result was a fourth career title in Munich last month.

And last week he opened the grass court circuit with a run to the semi-final in Halle, losing to countryman and eventual champion Tommy Haas.

Seppi is also making his sixth quarter-final showing of the season, and last month he picked up his second career title in Belgrade.

Italian Fabio Fognini and no6 seed Andy Roddick square off for the first time.

Fognini, appearing in his first career ATP World Tour quarter-final on grass after back-to-back three sets wins over Albert Ramos and no4 seed Bernard Tomic, is playing in his second quarter-final of the season. On April 29, he reached his maiden ATP Tour final in Bucharest. The 25-year-old Italian is 11-11 win-loss ration this season.

Roddick came into Eastbourne losing six consecutive matches, the longest streak of his career, and world ranked no33. But a retirement win over fellow American Sam Querrey ended the losing streak and on Wednesday he only lost eight points in 10 service games en route to a 6-2 7-6 win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

The former world no1 and three-time Wimbledon finalist is appearing in his third ATP Tour quarter-final of the year. But the 29-year-old American is trying to reach his first semi-final since last August in Winston-Salem, USA. 

American Ryan Harrison looks to even his record against Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. In their previous meeting on the ATP Tour at San Jose in February 2010, Istomin won in straight sets. Harrison’s win-loss record is 16-14 on the season and he’s already surpassed his match wins total from last year of 14.

The Texas resident, aged 20, is playing in his third ATP Tour quarter-final on as many surfaces – clay, grass and hard – this year. His best result was the semi-finals at San Jose in February.

Istomin comes into his fourth ATP Tour quarter-final this season with a 20-18 win-loss record.

Aussie qualifier Marinko Matosevic takes on Belgian Steve Darcis for the first time.

Matosevic is also playing in a third ATP World quarter-final on as many surfaces. He reached his first ATP final at Delray Beach in March.

Darcis’ win-loss record is 10-10 on the season, and this is his third quarter-final. His last ATP Tour semi-final came in July 2008, when he was runner-up in Amersfoort.