Bernard Tomic is tennis's resident bad boy. The 20-year-old is currently the top-ranked Australian man on the ATP tour and he's into the second week of Wimbledon for the second time in his career. At his best, he looks like the sort of player who could challenge for Major titles for years to come, especially on faster surfaces. At his worst... well, his worst is pretty bad. He has walked off the court in protest in one match and been accused of tanking in others. He's had legal troubles away from the court, too.
Tomic's biggest problem is his father, the proverbial nightmare tennis parent. In May, John Tomic attacked his son's hitting partner, Thomas Drouet, outside of a hotel in Madrid, leaving Drouet with a broken nose, a cut above the eye requiring stitches and a bruised neck. As a result, the elder Tomic was banned from the grounds at the French Open and also Wimbledon. The father-son relationship is so toxic that Bernard once approached a chair umpire and asked that his father be tossed from the stands (not granted).
I've never been a fan of the bad boys in tennis or any sport but it's hard not to feel some compassion for Bernard Tomic. He's hardly the first athlete to have daddy issues but few have had to endure them in the glaring view of the public as he has. He's an adult now and responsible from his actions. One hopes for his sake and that of the sport that a heavy dose of maturity will see him through to brighter days.
Tomic has had a good Wimbledon so far. He's taken out two seeds: Richard Gasquet (9th seed, France) and Sam Querrey (21st, USA). He faces former finalist Tomas Berdych (7th seed, Czech Republic) in his next match.
Yes, I am going to gloss right over the big story of the past week: the early round demises of both Roger Federer (3rd, Switzerland) and Rafael Nadal (5th, Spain), winners of nine of the past ten Wimbledons between them. Actually, I will say this much: no one should be surprised that neither (especially Fed) is the player he once was. There are also still chapters yet to be written for both.