Bernard Tomic has manned up and admitted he and Nick Kyrgios are giving Australian tennis an image problem.
In a frank and candid interview after he set up a second-round US Open showdown with Lleyton Hewitt, Tomic has taken accountability for his actions ahead of his looming court date in Miami for a wild house party.
The Monte Carlo-based Australian No.1, who shares a passion for fast cars and the night life, says earning millions of dollars at such a young age hasn’t helped.
But Tomic is promising to try to lift his act and says it’s important for the country’s young stars to heed the sage advice of the Aussie tennis legends like Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, John Newcombe and Tony Roche.
“For sure, we’re not perfect,” Tomic said.
“I experienced a little bit more when I was younger – 18, 19 – but Nick’s obviously in the rollercoaster that I am so he has to handle it as best as he can. Only he can handle it the right way.
“Obviously I had what I had, but I think on court I’ve improved a lot the last few years and mentally I’m pretty good on court whereas I think Nick on court struggles a little bit.
“But he’s getting better – he just needs time, he’s a good bloke and I really wish the best for him.”
Tomic accepted he and Kyrgios weren’t giving Australian tennis a good look and hoped he could restore his reputation, but he said tennis fans were undoubtedly in for a rollercoaster ride over the next decade.
“We’re our own individuals and we’re always going to have this. The next 10 years, it’s going to be like that for sure,” he said.
“It’s not going to be all good, that’s for sure.
“We have to work on it as best we can – everyone is different. Nick has a different personality to me. I have a different one to him.
“Can we be very good the next 10, 12 years? I cannot guarantee this.
“On court, I think I’m very good but off court there’s some problems and he’s the opposite way around. He creates problems on court.
“But it’s our personality, our character. Obviously it’s not the best thing but we have to work on this for sure. We have to improve.
“It can be tough to control but our personalities, the pressure around us, but we always can sometimes explode on the side.”
Tomic, 22, hopes he and 20-year-old Kyrgios will mature as they grow older.
“Maturity is the biggest key, also having a lot to do with money coming in; it is different,” he said.
“At our age, having that stuff around, it is tough to control and I found myself very good last year.
“I am working as hard as I can. I am putting the main thing in front of me and that is tennis, to be the best that I can.
“I started the year at 70, 75, but I am getting closer. I am coming 16, 17 in the race. It is my best year.
“I have the opportunity to finish the year strong, but it is up to us, we have to change it, to turn it around.”