Hungry Tomic: 'I don’t need TA’s help'
BERNARD Tomic knows the next six months is vital to reigniting his tennis career and he says he would "love" to qualify for the Australian Open.
And he is adamant that he doesn't need any of Tennis Australia's "help" to get there.
The controversial 25-year-old's only match preparation for the grand slam's final qualifying event - which begins on Wednesday at Melbourne Park - came in a 6-3 6-3 loss in an exhibition match against world No.169 Yoshihito Nishioka at the Kooyong Classic, having not played since a Challenger event in Slovakia in November.
Tomic, who skipped last month's wildcard playoff for the grand slam, said he is confident that his game is on track and that he has not lost his hunger for the sport.
"My hunger has always been there … sometimes I probably look a bit lazy and stuff - that's me," he said.
"I don't really go about at 100 per cent.
"But this year has to be a good year for me. A couple of years back, I was 130 in the world and was also top 20 for two years after that.
"For me, it's not a big issue, but I just have to find my time in the next six months. It's going to be very important to me."
Tomic was overlooked for a wildcard for his home grand slam after he rejected an invitation to compete in the December playoff, forcing the Queenslander to go through this week's qualifying event.
He will play Frenchman Vincent Millot - ranked 192 in the world - in the first round.
Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt said this week he was "concerned with where it's going at the moment" with Tomic, who would not be drawn on Tennis Australia's decision.
"I'm not going to say anything," he said.
"It's their view.
"I never needed the help of Tennis Australia to achieve what I've achieved in my career.
"So for me, it's not a big problem and I need to get back playing consistent and getting better. For me, that's the main priority in 2018 and we'll see how it goes.
"There's another 10 years of my career left, so for me, it's no problem."
Tomic last played qualifying for a grand slam in 2011 at Wimbledon, where he went on to make the tournament's quarter-finals.
And despite his limited preparation, admitting he "needs matches", he said he can take heart from his previous effort.
"For me, (that performance at Wimbledon) is in the back of my mind and I know if I'm playing the right tennis and doing the right things, good things will come," Tomic said.
"But I have to be ready.
"I think as long as you're playing well, you can always believe in yourself and always play well from there. I need to get back to feeling confident on court because I obviously have had a 2017 run that hasn't been that great."
Talk this week had suggested that Tomic could have been headed for the South African jungle amid rumours he had allegedly boasted of an offer worth more than $1 million to appear in Network 10 reality show I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here, though that was swiftly quashed by the man himself on Tuesday.
"I've got no idea who started that," he said.
"That's completely out of whack."