Photo: Screenshot via ESPN
20-year-old Australian Bernard Tomic has been “the next big thing” for a while, and now he’s seemingly poised for a breakout at the Australian Open after a strong month of play on the ATP tour.The Australian media is going wild over him, but to make a deep run Tomic will have to beat Roger Federer in the third round. And over the weekend, Federer threw a heaping pail of cold water over Tomic-mania.
Here’s what he told reporters when he was asked about a potential third-round match with Tomic (via Matt Cronin of Tennis.com):
“He’s also got his work cut out in the first few rounds. He will be making a mistake about thinking about me in the third round because he also has to get there.”
Then they asked Fed about Tomic’s chances of breaking into the top 10:
“I think we should go step by step, see how it goes. Let’s speak in a year’s time. Everybody wants to jump from—what’s his ranking 60—to 10 in a year. It’s hard to do. No. 10 is a big ask. Don’t forget how tough the Top 10 players are right now.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Tomic’s skills.
“Well, if he gets that far. … I would love to get in that position to play Roger in the third round. He has to get there as well. You don’t know what can happen. Tennis is a funny sport, so we’ll see.”
This is what a confrontation looks like when the notoriously subdued Roger Federer is involved.
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