Melbourne, Australia, 11 January 2012 | AAP
In his own words, it wasn’t tennis, but Australian teen Bernard Tomic will accept a win over world No.7 Tomas Berdych any time.
The wild wind at the Kooyong Classic made the games a lottery, but it was 19-year-old Tomic who held the winning numbers as he came up with a three-set win.
His slice slid under the breeze and his court craft blunted Berdych’s power game as Tomic rebounded from a first set deficit to win 4-6 6-3 6-4.
Tomic said the conditions were “absolutely” some of the worst he had played in.
“It’s not really tennis – it’s whoever keeps the ball in the court wins the point,” he said.
“He’s a world class player but I think even as good as you are with the wind it doesn’t really matter, it’s tough.
“You hit your slice and kick the ball when it’s windy because anything can happen.”
While the eight-man field is dotted with top 10 players aiming to prepare for the Australian Open rather than gather ATP points, Tomic dismisses the suggestion the nature of the event means it has less value.
“I take a lot (out of it),” he said.
“Even if this match was on Rod Laver (Arena) and it was windy it would be the same story.
“It’s good match preparation here and I think I’m getting ready for the Open.
“I like to win as much as I can – this tournament is one of the most serious exhibitions there is. This is where the best players have been preparing and trying a few things out before the Open.”
Tomic, now ranked 37 in the world, arrives at the Open after reaching the the semifinals of the Brisbane International where he bowed out to world No.4 Andy Murray.
He said his confidence after a breakout year in 2011 was higher than ever ahead of the first grand slam of the season.
He said he had stopped growing but was getting stronger rapidly and was moving about 20 per cent better than at this time last year.
“I’ve done very well in the (Australian) Open since I started,” he said.
“I haven’t lost in the first round yet.
“Hopefully I can do well (this year) if I get the right draw and not draw the top names early. That’s what happened at Wimbledon.
“I’ve got a good shot at being seeded at the French Open and Wimbledon. I haven’t got many points to defend and the next few months are going to be really (crucial) to get my ranking up.”