MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Tennis Australia has reached out to Bernard Tomic out of concern for his “health and wellbeing” during a steep rankings slide but has offered no guarantees of a wildcard to the Australian Open in January.
The former world number 17’s ranking has plunged to 145 after a forgettable season and he will not have enough points to qualify directly for Melbourne Park.
Tomic has raised fears about his mental state, describing himself as “bored” with tennis and feeling “trapped” in the game during media interviews.
However, the Australian player has also drawn fierce criticism for his half-hearted approach to the game and for boasting about his prize money despite not trying very hard.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said it was clear Tomic was “struggling”.
“We’ve reached out to Bernie from a health and wellbeing point of view and it’s up to him to respond,” Tiley told local media.
”He’s been talking to (Davis Cup captain) Lleyton (Hewitt). He’s in a tough place right now.
”His ranking has dropped and he’s struggling; we’ve all seen it.
“Our job as a federation is to make sure we’ve got a team of people there to support beyond tennis and that’s really where we’re at.”
Tomic has generally played well at the year’s first grand slam and would be a drawcard for local fans despite his polarizing ways.
Tiley said it would be up to Tennis Australia high performance chief Wally Masur and twice grand slam champion Hewitt to decide whether he should get a wildcard.
Relations with Hewitt have been tested by Tomic’s decision to opt out of Davis Cup this year, with the captain saying publicly that he was “frustrated” with the player.
“He hasn’t been able to convert the points that he needs to get to be a direct entry to the Australian Open,” said Tiley.
”We’re used to having him be there in that position so he’ll need to rely on some help in getting in but I’ll let Lleyton and Wally make that decision.
“Obviously it’s his goals, it’s his career, it’s his objectives,” Tiley added.
”We’d like to see him take up the offer (of help) and to continue to work on advancing his career.
“Often players will go through that up and down and he’s probably in that down phase right now.”
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Clare Fallon