Tennis Australia (TA) has decided not to award Bernard Tomic a wildcard into the Australian Open, leaving the fallen star at a career crossroads.
TA chief executive and Open tournament director Craig Tiley ended months of speculation when he formally ruled Tomic out of contention for a wildcard into the main draw.
Tomic’s only hope now of contesting his 10th straight Open is by qualifying, but Tiley says the world number 140 has indicated he will not be going down that path.
“He’s not going to get a wildcard. He’d have to go through qualifying,” Tiley said.
“Qualifying starts next week and for the men it starts on Wednesday. We play half the draw on Wednesday and the other half on Thursday.
“I would hope that Bernie would want to put himself in a position to play, but he’s indicated that that’s likely not going to be the case.”
Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt and TA’s head of performance Wally Masur, who ultimately decide on wildcard calls, had forecast Tomic would miss out after opting out of last month’s wildcard playoff and then withdrawing from Brisbane International qualifying.
“We’ve made the offer, Lleyton did,” Tiley said.
“We said: ‘We’d just like you to play the Australian Open wildcard playoff and, if you just make yourself available and play it, you give yourself a good chance to get in’.
“We all know Bernie can play the game. He’s had some great wins here.
“He’s one of Australia’s top players and we’d love to see him competing and playing.”
Tomic backed to rebound from challenging 2017
After reaching the third round of the Open last year, Tomic won just eight more matches in a dismal season.
He was fined a Wimbledon-record $20,000 after admitting to feigning injury and being “a little bored” during a listless first-round loss to Mischa Zverev at The All England Club.
Tiley, though, does not believe the one-time world number 17 and former Wimbledon quarter-finalist has reached the end of the road at just 25.
“No, it’s a fork in the road,” Tiley said.
“Being a professional athlete is a long journey. We’ve supported Bernie for a long, long time and Lleyton I think is doing a fantastic job with the Davis Cup team.
“He’s made it very clear to Bernie that to be part of that team and part of the opportunities, there’s certain things you’ve got to do.
“If Bernie does those, then I think he’ll see the opportunities come his way.”
But Tiley does suspect Tomic’s summer is over before it even began.
“That’s my view, but that’s going to be a decision that Bernie will take,” Tiley said.
“The offer’s been put out to him at the time, but he chose not to take up that offer so the opportunities will be limited.
“The qualifying entry is already complete but there’s wildcard opportunities in qualifying, so that’s the only way he could get through.”