(January 14, 2014)MELBOURNE – Bernard Tomic faced the media again on Wednesday, a day after retiring from his first round match at the Australian Open against Rafael Nadal at the end of the first set with a groin injury. Upon his retirement he was serenaded with boos from the crowd. The Australian wanted to clarify to media and the public in general the details of his injury.
Q. How are you feeling the morning after?
BERNARD TOMIC: Okay. Had the scans in the morning, which confirmed that obviously I was right. Unfortunately it did have to happen to me and it’s unlucky. I was very ready to play the Australian Open and very ready to play Nadal, and unfortunately I have this injury now.
So I have to treat it as much as I can because I have Davis Cup coming along, and it’s important for me.
Q. What exactly is the injury? What did the scan show?
BERNARD TOMIC: A groin, tore my groin playing the other day. I think it was a lot of tennis involved over the past two weeks. Playing very good in Hopman Cup; Sydney playing very good; maybe it was too much.
And then having to bounce back obviously this happened, and there’s not a lot I can do.
Q. Serious tear or a small one?
BERNARD TOMIC: It’s just a small one. It’s not that big. But if I had played on it it would have been 10 times worse, they say, so I could have been out potentially for three, four months.
I’m very happy I stopped. It was the right call.
Q. What’s the treatment plan now?
BERNARD TOMIC: Obviously do recovery as much as I can. I don’t know what sort of form of recovery it is. I have to find out.
THE DOCTOR: He has an adductor longus tear. His groin, it’s about a one to three week injury. Had he played on, it could have been a three to four month injury.
The scan is entirely consistent with his symptoms yesterday and completely vindicate him coming off.
Q. Why are you doing the press conference? Why not just release a statement?
BERNARD TOMIC: Well, I think it’s important for me to come out like this. A lot of people showed up last night, you know, expecting a very good match. A lot of people paid their tickets. It’s disappointing for that to happen.
The form I was in, I was ready to challenge Rafa and unfortunately this happened. I felt like I got booed a little bit on court, which was pretty unfair. I just needed to get my side out, which is, you know, obviously the truth and it’s important.
My recovery is going to start as quick as it can because I have the Davis Cup, and if I’m not ready for the Davis Cup it’s going to be very difficult for us.
Q. Why do you think you were booed?
BERNARD TOMIC: I think I was misunderstood. Obviously they thought I was shaking Rafa’s hand because he’s too good and I’m forfeiting the match because I can’t play against him.
So I needed to say it was my leg. I didn’t quite I don’t think they quite understood that it was my leg. And after, when I started to sort of explain that with my hand signals, they sort of it turned around into an applause.
But that’s the reason why.
Q. Do you think people, with the booing and the papers this morning, made comparisons between Lleyton’s match before yours going to five sets and then yours which lasted a set? What do you make of that comparison?
BERNARD TOMIC: Yeah, I think, you know, I was watching the Lleyton match. It was very, very good tennis and amazing for Lleyton to come back. Unfortunate for him to have lost.
And then having to play my match following, you know, a lot of people following. Everyone was going to be tuned in expecting a lot from me, and then obviously this happened.
But, you know, like I said, I would have loved to have had the chance to being fresh and playing, because I felt so confident over the past few weeks.
What can you do? You know, what I mean? Now I have to be ready for Davis Cup. It’s important for me, the country, very important.
Q. How important is your home Grand Slam to you, Bernard? When it has headlines like today and over the weekend, can you tell us in your own words how much it matters?
BERNARD TOMIC: Well, for me it’s, you know, an amazing Grand Slam. I mean, I love this Grand Slam. I’ve obviously done very good at it. Wimbledon is obviously the best results I have done in.
But, you know, I feel sorry. I would have loved to once my name got drew to play Nadal I was obviously excited in one way because it’s a very good challenge for me. You know, win/lose, it was going to be an amazing match. I would have learned a lot.
You know, once it did happen, it’s not a lot you can do. I do feel bad. But, you know, positive on the hand that it’s probably going to go away in a week or two, so I have to try and do as much treatment as I can to make it disappear.
Q. Do you feel misunderstood by the Australian people?
BERNARD TOMIC: Well, yeah. I think everyone sort of looks at you differently. Being good, being talented, and being young is something, you know, that I had and have.
Obviously I have had these issues in those past, but, you know, you’ve got to focus. You got to learn how to handle it, I think.
Q. Do you think there are things you have to do differently to get people fully on your side and understanding?
BERNARD TOMIC: Well, I mean, for sure, you’ve got to do a lot of things differently. You know, you can only learn from the best players out there, the best people, best idols, role models, whatever you want to call them.
You know, I always prepared well for the Australian to do as best as I can, and obviously to have a good draw this year would have been nice. I think my tennis has changed sort of in December and I sort of started playing differently. It showed off in a few weeks.
Unfortunately here where I wanted to show off the most, you know, it was unfortunate with the leg. But it’s okay. I will try and get it treated. It’s important for me.
Q. You have had so many ups and downs in your young career. If you could go back and change one thing, one element in how you’ve approached things in your career, what would that be?
BERNARD TOMIC: You know, that’s a good question. I wouldn’t change I wouldn’t say I would change anything. It’s tough to say that.
Everything happens for a reason. You have to take whatever comes at you, and you’ve got to look at it as a positive. Everything sort of happens for a reason in life. You have to take it as a positive and learn how to improve.
In the end I know I’ll get there. I’ve got to keep playing the tennis I was in the first few weeks, training the way I was training in December, and I’ve got this whole year.
So hopefully now I know can I get that.
Q. So many things have happened in your young career. Do you ever sort of lean back and say to yourself, What’s going on? Why me?
BERNARD TOMIC: Well, I think for sure. You know, like you said. But that’s the thing of getting there very young. You get thrown into a lot of things. A lot of things come your way.
You know, I was lucky that I got there at such a young age doing so good, experiencing a lot. I’m still very young. I just turned 21, so I have a full year till 22. I will see where my ranking is at the end of the year. I know if I keep the right things going I can improve a lot.
Q. Jeered by some supporters off the court, you’re feeling injured, playing against the No. 1 player in the world. How flat were you last night after this happened?
BERNARD TOMIC: It’s not easy. I would love to play that match, because I had a lot to throw at him. I was ready for the challenge. I was very confident. I knew I had the game to frustrate him and to get under him, but I just couldn’t do it because I couldn’t move and I was battling with pain.
Lucky I stopped in the end, because I would have done myself a lot worse playing with Rafa another few hours on court. Who knows? Could have been another few months more, and then I would have dug myself a deeper hole. So I’m lucky I stopped.
Q. People seem to forget that you’re only 21. Do you think the expectations from the public are a bit unfair?
BERNARD TOMIC: Yeah, well, that’s the thing. Coming at a high age, getting so high I think in my career I was 27 people expect you to be 10 in the world now, 5 in the world.
Doesn’t work like that. You look at the players now in the top 10, they are all they’re the best tennis players to ever live playing in one sort or era.
You have amazing top 10 players. It’s difficult to get there. You have to earn the position. It’s difficult to get in the top 15, top 20. You have to work for it.
I got close and then I sort of slipped back. I had points to defend. I didn’t know how to handle it. But I’m learning. One day when I’m there, and I know I will be there very soon, is there is no stopping me. I know I’ll keep going forward. But I got to work hard.
Q. What’s your goal for this year in the ranking? Where would you like to end the year?
BERNARD TOMIC: 25 is reasonable. Looking back to the comments Roger said, I agree with that. There is no reason pushing top 10, because you can’t you have to take steps at a time, and I need to get in the top 30 where it’s going to be easier for me to get seedings into the smaller tournaments, and then I can prepare myself to win these titles.
Once I get top 30 I will be seeded for Grand Slams. It will become much more easier for me in a way. I’ll be much more confident.
Until then, I’ve got to work for that top 30 spot, and then, you know, I can just keep pushing forward from that.
Q. What are your chances to play Davis Cup?
BERNARD TOMIC: Right now probably not looking good, which is a shame. It’s a very important tie for us. You know, we’ve got to take on Gasquet and Tsonga on clay.
If I’m not on the team, obviously Marinko is going to probably have to step up and play. His Davis Cup record isn’t that great, but he’s going to have to change and work hard the next few weeks.
But I will find out in the next five, six days and the team will be known until then.