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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