Bernard Tomic wins first-round Australian Open clash with father John Tomic and girlfriend Vanessa Sierra in the stands
Bernard Tomic wins first-round Australian Open clash with father John Tomic and girlfriend Vanessa Sierra in the stands

Bernie wins, but look who is back on Team Tomic

Bernard Tomic is back - and so is his controversial father John.

The Australian Open wildcard surged into the second round after outlasting Japanese rival Yuichi Sugita, who withdrew with a side strain midway through the third set - but not before Tomic put on an "unbelievable" clinic after winning 10 of the final 12 games of the match.

Shunted out to a windy Court 8 on Monday, there was a loyal faithful in attendance to support Tomic's latest career resurgence - and one particularly notable viewer.

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Tomic looked to have all the answers before his opponent hung up the racquet. Picture: David Caird
Tomic looked to have all the answers before his opponent hung up the racquet. Picture: David Caird

 

His father John, a notorious figure in the tennis world, was back on Team Tomic - which also included girlfriend Vanessa Sierra.

Tomic Snr, who has been mysteriously absent in recent times after playing a huge influence over the early stages of his son's career, offered words of encouragement as the world No.233 left the court.

"He was here supporting, doing what a dad should do I guess. It was nice to have him there for sure," Tomic said.

 

Tomic’s girlfriend Vanessa Sierra and his father John Tomic were in the stands to watch his match. Picture: David Caird
Tomic’s girlfriend Vanessa Sierra and his father John Tomic were in the stands to watch his match. Picture: David Caird

 

After a shaky start, Tomic looked crisp and dangerous - showing no ill effects from the knee injury that sidelined him from the Murray River Open last week.

A lucky net cord winner secured Tomic's first break of the match, to give him a 3-1 lead in the second set, and from there it was one-way traffic.

"I played very, very badly in the first set. I was kind of a bit nervous, it was windy, it was cold. Second and third was some of the best tennis I've played in a while," he said.

"He's always going to play a tough game, always aggressive. These conditions … it's a bit different.

"I got a net cord and from then I lost two or three points from the next maybe 20-25. I was playing unbelievable then."

Amid the carnage, Sugita called for the trainer for some attention to his injury, while down two breaks in the third.

As the world No.104 was having his left side strapped up, Tomic chewed the fat with a group of young kids in the front row of the crowd.

He walked away from that interaction and began to warm up again, he did so with a big grin on his face - something that has been far too rare on the Tomic rollercoaster over the past decade.

Tomic admitted he was nervous heading into the clash after experiencing a flare-up of the knee complaint which he's struggled with in recent weeks.

"I didn't practice yesterday - only for 30 minutes, because I felt it. Then I put the tape on and didn't feel it today, so it was good," he said.

 

 

"I'm hoping (I won't be troubled by it). I felt it last week - I practised with (Marin) Cilic and this was before I had to play (Marc) Polmans and felt it for a day.

"Prior to this I felt it in the last three or four days of quarantine, so I took it easy there. I didn't play that match against Polmans. Then I didn't feel it for about five days and (on Sunday) I felt it. So I was really nervous."

Tomic - who will face the winner of Canadian 11th seed Denis Shapovalov and Italian rising star Jannik Sinner - ended a four-year drought at Melbourne Park, having last reached the second round in 2017.

"It's good, it's a great feeling. It's good to be back at this level," he said.

 

 

Originally published as Bernie wins, but look who is back on Team Tomic


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