Year in review: Tomic takes it to new level
Establishing himself as the No.1 Australian after a career-best season in 2015, Bernard Tomic is positioned for even bigger things during the Aussie summer.
With the tennis season coming to a close, we reflect on the highlights for some of our best-performed players in what was a magnificent year for Australian tennis in 2015.
Bernard Tomic has long held lofty rankings goals. In 2015, he met them.
The Queenslander enjoyed a stunning rise to crack the world’s top 20 in September, having been ranked as low as No.71 in January. His ascent meant that for the first time in six-and-a-half years, Australia had a No.1 player not named Sam Stosur.
Marking the improvement were newfound levels of consistency as well as a potent serve and increased fitness, helping him overcome several big names – including top 10 stars David Ferrer and Marin Cilic – in a career-best season.
Just 18 months ago, Tomic took the first tentative steps back on court following double-hip surgery, which he underwent immediately following Australian Open 2014. The fact he is where he is today is a testament to his competitive instincts and motivation, factors that also helped him grind out several three-set victories in 2015.
“I obviously played very consistent through the year, and that’s the most important key,” he said at Indian Wells. “I’m believing in myself more and I know I have put in the hard work (in the off-season). Got me in good shape and good fitness to play well in Australia. The problem was taking it out of Australia playing well in that February month. I managed to do that.”
Indeed, this was the first season in his career that Tomic was able to replicate his results in Australia – where he traditionally performs well – consistently on foreign soil.
After reaching quarterfinals in Brisbane and Sydney and then the fourth round at the Australian Open, Tomic travelled to North America and maintained his momentum, making the quarters in Memphis, semifinals at Delray Beach, and the last eight in Acapulco.
After heading to Europe and playing a central role in the Australian Davis Cup team’s victory over Czech Republic – he won both his live singles rubbers in straight sets – he then returned to America and stormed into the quarterfinals at Indian Wells, his first career Masters-level quarterfinal.
When the tour turned to clay, the Aussie struggled, but found his best again on grass to reach the quarters in Stuttgart and the third round at Wimbledon.
The back end of the season brought more success for the 22-year-old, who by now was firmly entrenched in the top 30. He defended an ATP title for the first time in his career when he won in Bogota, coming through three three-set matches to lift his third tour-level trophy. “Every title you remember. I’m very happy to have won my third title and to defend it here was amazing,” he told atpworldtour.com.
Tomic scored another impressive result in New York, overcoming decorated compatriot Lleyton Hewitt in a five-set blockbuster en route to the third round.
And he pushed even higher thanks to a strong performance in Asia. In the penultimate ATP Masters event of the year in Shanghai, Tomic backed up his Indian Wells performance with a second Masters quarterfinal, beating Richard Gasquet and David Ferrer along the way before falling to Novak Djokovic.
“Now is a big chance to finish the year very close to the top 15. I have to work hard,” he said. “This is my best year. I’m working much harder. I’m a bit smarter and wiser. Allows me more of an opportunity to play better, feel better for matches. The results are showing, so I’m very pleased.”
Tomic didn’t quite reach the top 15 but he came very close, peaking at a career-high mark of No.18 and setting himself up for a prized top 16 seeding at Australian Open 2016.
With his history of strong performances on Australian plexicushion, his big-match credentials and his ability to raise his game in front of home fans, even bigger achievements are well within reach.