Bernard Tomic, the 23-year-old Australian tennis star, has some maturing to do. So says world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who likes Tomic. Tomic waved the white flag of surrender during his Madrid Open loss to Fabio Fognini, failing to compete on match point while gripping his racket by the strings. Djokovic said: “I’m just hoping for him, because over the last couple of years I got to know him better and he’s a good guy, he’s a good person, but he’s just failing to be committed to this sport as it is required.”
Reading between the lines, what Djokovic also says is astonishing. It’s that Tomic, whom he knows well and calls a “good guy,” isn’t applying himself to the sport. Think of what that would augur for Tomic if he did commit. Tomic is ranked #22 in the world and has won 3 titles. He is approaching 150 match wins on tour. And that, according to Djokovic, is without even making a commitment to the game. Djokovic, with his 11 Grand Slam titles, knows what commitment looks like. No player in the game’s history has practiced tennis with more devotion and commitment than Djokovic. (He has equals, but no one who surpasses the Serb’s dedication.) Will Tomic hear Djokovic’s hidden praise and raise his level?