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Tomic can’t ‘find any motivation’ at Wimbledon

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LONDON (AP) After all the hard work and dedication it takes to get to Wimbledon, at least one player couldn’t be bothered with actually trying to win.

Bernard Tomic, a 24-year-old Australian who reached the quarterfinals at the All England Club in 2011, said Tuesday he “just couldn’t find any motivation” to compete this year.

“I felt a little bit bored out there,” Tomic said, “to be completely honest with you.”

Tomic was playing at Wimbledon for the eighth time. He lost to Mischa Zverev 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 on Court 14.

“I feel holding a trophy or, you know, doing well, it doesn’t satisfy me anymore,” Tomic said. “It’s not there. I couldn’t care less if I make a fourth-round U.S. Open or I lose (in the) first round. To me, everything is the same. I’m going to play another 10 years, and I know after my career I won’t have to work again.”

Tomic has won three titles in his career, the first in Sydney in 2013. He then won consecutive titles in Bogota, Colombia, in 2014 and 2015.

He has not advanced as far as the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam event since losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in 2011 – when at 18 he became the youngest man to reach the final eight at Wimbledon since Boris Becker defended his title in 1986.

Tomic, who reached a high of No. 17 in the world rankings in January 2016, entered Wimbledon ranked No. 59 after reaching the quarterfinals in Eastbourne, where he beat Zverev 6-3, 6-2 last week in the second round.

“Some weeks I play well and beat a bunch of players and do super well in tournaments … but now it’s a roller coaster, and I just can’t seem to find, like, the commitment to work hard, to enjoy (playing) and to lift trophies,” Tomic said.

Zverev broke Tomic late in the first set and again early in the second set, after which the Australian said he mentally “wasn’t there.” Tomic also admitted that when he called for a medical timeout, he did so to “try to break a bit of momentum” – although Zverev said later that he believed Tomic was injured.

“It kind of made it almost tougher for me, because I didn’t know what to expect, because between points he was walking slowly, and he definitely acted like something was wrong,” Zverev said. “But then he would still, you know – if the ball is within reach, he would still hit the ball hard, especially with the forehand, place it well, and hit a lot of winners.”

Zverev finished with 18 aces, compared to Tomic’s four. He also had 11 fewer unforced errors than Tomic, who committed 25.

“I feel like Bernie has been playing Wimbledon since he was about 11,” said Thanasi Kokkinakis, an Australian who lost to Juan Martin del Potro in his first-round match. “Maybe he’s bored. I’m not sure. I do know he’s skillful and hopefully he gets it together because he’s a good player.”

After acknowledging his lack of interest, Tomic was asked about whether he would give back his prize money because of his performance – a question he quickly shot down. He also disagreed with a suggestion that he didn’t give his best effort against Zverev.

“While I do feel a bit of guilt and I’m like, maybe I could have played four or five sets,” Tomic said, “in my opinion, he played well and I was just playing terrible and I just couldn’t find any rhythm, and he deserved to win.”

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6-time champ Djokovic loses at Miami Open to Benoit Paire

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Novak Djokovic’s 16-match Key Biscayne winning streak ended, and his struggle to overcome a bothersome right elbow continued.

Djokovic lasted barely an hour at a tournament he has won six times, losing his opening match Friday in the Miami Open to Benoit Paire, 6-3, 6-4.

The defeat was Djokovic’s third in a row. He returned from a six-month injury absence at the Australian Open and lost in the fourth round, and was upset two weeks ago at Indian Wells by Taro Daniel, a 109th-ranked qualifier.

Against the 47th-ranked Paire, Djokovic dropped serve four times, returned poorly and had difficulty anticipating his crafty opponent’s drop shots.

In women’s play, Naomi Osaka’s breakthrough winning streak ended with a loss to No. 4-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-2. Osaka said began feeling ill before the match but didn’t want to retire after upsetting eight-time champion Serena Williams in the first round.

The 20-year-old Osaka is ranked a career-high 22nd and won her first career title last week at Indian Wells.

Djokovic sat out the last half of 2017 because of problems with his racket-swinging arm, saying it had been bothering him for more than a year. He was sidelined again after this year’s Australian Open and said he had a “small medical intervention” on his elbow.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion didn’t seem to favor it against Paire, but his shots lacked their usually snap and sometimes were awkwardly struck, including the last two on match point.

In the first set Djokovic served with a chance to reach 5-all, but from 40-0 he lost five consecutive points and the set. Another dismal stretch came when he was broken at love in the final game of the match.

The loss was Djokovic’s first at Key Biscayne since 2013. He missed last year’s Miami Open but won the title three consecutive years in 2014-16.

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Top-ranked Halep wins tough 3-setter in Miami

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Top-ranked Simona Halep of Romania struggled to post a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 second-round win over French lucky loser Oceane Dodin at the Miami Open on Thursday.

In the first career meeting between the players, Halep allowed the 98th-ranked Dodin to break her serve on six of seven opportunities she presented in the match, which lasted more than two hours.

Halep broke Dodin’s serve for the seventh time at 4-4 in the third set before closing it out.

Halep played in her third career Grand Slam final at the Australian Open in January, but has yet to secure a Grand Slam trophy.

Halep’s best Miami Open was reaching the 2015 semifinals.

Also Thursday, former No. 1 Angelique Kerber of Germany advanced to the third round with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Johanna Larsson of Sweden.

Kerber is 19-4 this year and has reached at least the quarterfinals of all five tournaments she’s played.

Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open and U.S. Open champion, won her first tournament since that U.S. Open at Sydney in January. She also reached the Australian Open semifinals.