Bernard Tomic’s colorful and record-setting 15-year Australian Open streak is over after the fallen star was overlooked for a qualifying wildcard.
Sitting at No.462 in the rankings, but still active on court, the one-time world No.17 has been a fixture at the Melbourne Park grand slam every January since 2008.
But he will be gone when qualifying begins on Monday after Tennis Australia opted for the youth and promise of Tomic’s more than 30-year-old experience and credentials when issuing seven wildcards to fellow Aussies.
Despite his spectacular fall from grace, Tomic is still ranked higher than four of the wildcard recipients, including 18-year-old world No.1017 Derek Pham.
But the former prodigy and two-time grand slam junior champion is seven years older than the oldest wildcard recipient, Adam Walton, the world No.432.
Bernard Tomic’s 15-year Australian Open streak has ended after the fallen star was overlooked for a qualifying wildcard (pictured, with girlfriend Keely Hannah)
The world No.462 is being overlooked for the likes of 18-year-old world No.1017 Derek Pham
Four of the seven wildcard entrants are exciting teenage talents.
While Tomic is understood not to have sought a wildcard, the 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finalist could still be offered one.
But that was always in doubt after Tomic collapsed in TA and launched a scathing attack on Davis Cup captain and former close ally Lleyton Hewitt, one of the main wildcard judges.
‘Nobody liked him (Hewitt) anymore,’ Tomic said after a first-round Open exit in 2019.
‘We have a lot of issues that some players are not happy about. We all know who the players are. Myself, (Thanasi) Kokkinakis, (Nick) Kyrgios.’
Kyrgios accused Tomic of throwing him under the bus because of his outburst – but the Canberra-raised entertainer has endured his own relationship with Hewitt and opted to skip the Davis Cup for the past three years.
If Tomic fails to move up his ranking and misses another Australian Open, it will be a sad end to a fairly historic career at his home slam.
Arguing with Tennis Australia and Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, one of the main wildcard judges, didn’t help Tomic’s cause.
Tomic’s off-court antics have not impressed many tennis fans (pictured with ex-girlfriend Vanessa Sierra)
He is the youngest player to win the junior Australian Open, at 15 years and three months in 2007.
The following year, Tomic saved match points against Italian Potito Starace to become the youngest man in history to win a main-draw match at the Open.
Australia’s Davis Cup dominator for several years while carving out an impressive 19-4 record in the team competition, Tomic has also enjoyed a string of fine results at Melbourne Park.
He reached the last 16 three times and made the third round on three other occasions, with promising runs ended twice each by legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Tomic hasn’t had much success in recent years, making the main draw just twice since 2015.
In 2021, he was the only successful qualifier among 20 Australian hopefuls before making the second round.
Tomic also deserves credit for continuing to soldier on at low-level events in North, Central and South America.
He played 38 matches in 2022, including 24 in the last four months of the season, winning titles in Santo Domingo and Cancun and losing in the final in Harlington, Texas.
But he pocketed a paltry $US35,732 ($A51,900) for his toils, including just $US2160 ($A3140) for his most recent tournament victory in November, a far cry from the days when he to a TV journalist that he was ‘counting my millions’ after a third-round Australian Open qualifying failure in 2018.
Had he been awarded a wildcard into this year’s Open qualifying, Tomic would have been guaranteed a $26,000 payday.
If he made the main draw the 12th time, he would have banked at least $106,250.