Tomic’s Wimbledon words draw $15K fine, racket sponsor loss
LONDON — Bernard Tomic was fined $15,000 at Wimbledon and dropped by his racket sponsor Thursday — not for something he did during his first-round loss, but for what he said during a news conference afterward.
The penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct was announced two days after the 24-year-old Australian was beaten by Mischa Zverev 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, then spoke to the media about feeling “a little bit bored out there.”
Tomic also said Tuesday that he “just couldn’t find any motivation” to compete this year and acknowledged that when he called for a medical timeout against Zverev, he did so not because of an injury issue but to “try to break a bit of momentum.”
Racket maker Head issued a statement via its Twitter feed on Thursday saying: “We were extremely disappointed with the statements made at Wimbledon by one of our sponsored athletes, Bernard Tomic. His opinions in no way reflect our own attitude for tennis, our passion, professionalism and respect for the game.”
The statement concluded: “Therefore, we have decided to discontinue our collaboration with Bernard Tomic.”
The fine amounts to more than a third of Tomic’s prize money: First-round losers at the All England Club this year earn 35,000 pounds (about $45,000).
Tomic has not reached the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam tournament since losing at that stage at Wimbledon against eventual champion Novak Djokovic in 2011. That year, at age 18, Tomic became the youngest man to reach the quarterfinals at the All England Club since 1986, when Boris Becker won the title.
Djokovic, a 12-time major champion also sponsored by Head, was asked about the company’s decision to cut ties with Tomic because of his comments.
“We all, in the heat of the moment, maybe say some things that are not appropriate maybe, by definition of someone or something,” Djokovic said. “But it’s understandable, in a way, why Head has reacted in this way. Because it’s not the right message to send out there from one of the most talented players that has played the game in the last six, seven years, and someone that was a hero to — he is a hero to — many children, especially in Australia.”
Tomic reached a high of No. 17 in the ATP rankings in 2016; he entered Wimbledon at No. 59.
“I feel holding a trophy or, you know, doing well — it doesn’t satisfy me anymore,” Tomic said Tuesday. “It’s not there. I couldn’t care less if I make a fourth round (at the) 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.”
Also losing a chunk of change for unsportsmanlike conduct at Wimbledon was Daniil Medvedev of Russia, who threw a handful coins in the direction of the chair umpire after a second-round loss Wednesday. Medvedev was given three fines totaling $14,500 — $4,000 for a code violation warning during the match, $3,000 for earning a point penalty later and $7,500 for his conduct after the match.
The 49th-ranked Medvedev repeatedly apologized during his news conference, saying he was not trying to imply that umpire Mariana Alves was biased.
“I was just disappointed and (did) a stupid thing,” said Medvedev, who earned headlines for a decidedly different reason Monday, beating three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka in the first round.
When his 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3 loss to Ruben Bemelmans ended, Medvedev shook hands with his opponent and Alves. But then he grabbed his wallet from his bag and tossed the coins toward the bottom of the official’s chair.
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