Tomic crashes as his father takes control again
TENNIS: Bernard Tomic is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Between waning personal ambition and financial obligations to others.
Between independence and the all-controlling tentacles of his father John.
If tennis misery has a face - and there are unfortunately too many to chose from - it was Tomic's visage at Roland Garros on Tuesday morning (AEST).
Shunted out of the French Open by Marco Trungilleti, Tomic was uncharacteristically surly - again - post-match.
After almost all of his previous 328 matches, Tomic has been amiable, polite and expansive.
Often to his cost.
In Paris this year, Tomic has worn the look of a tortured soul. A prisoner.
After the freedoms of 2017, when he tennis descended into tailspin, and he couldn't give a damn because he was happy off-court, he again appears trapped.
Coincidence or not, the hulking figure of John Tomic is rarely far from Bernard's shadow.
Tomic senior holds the key to his son's success. Always has.
But it's an unusual dynamic, a toxic mix.
Bernard is 25. Yet he remains in the thrall of a domineering figure who seeks, and usually obtains, absolute control.
For all that, there is no lasting stability. Never has been.
Tumult is the only constant.
During qualifying, the Tomics wore Lotto clothing.
By the time Bernard prepared for his first-round match, Lacoste had supplanted Lotto as the preferred clothing brand.
Nothing too sinister about that in the revolving door that passes for loyalty in tennis.
But in the background the abrupt switch of clothing is linked to murmurings of yet another management change.
John is rumoured to be again pulling the strings.
If so, Bernard will be yanked from one group of agents to another - as he has been for much of a bridge-burning career.
There was a time not so long ago when Lleyton Hewitt would have walked across hot coals to help Tomic.
On Tuesday, as Trungilleti was urged to victory by a partisan crowd, there was barely an Australian voice to be heard at Tomic's match.
He is, apart from the company of his omnipresent father, truly alone.
- Leo Schlink, Paris