Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tomic through to Wimbledon quarter finals

TONY EASTLEY: Queenslander, Bernard Tomic is being lauded by many of the greats of Australian tennis after winning through to the quarter-finals of Wimbledon last night.

Tomic produced another impressive display to beat Belgian veteran Xavier Malisse in straight sets in the fourth round.

The 18-year-old is the youngest man to make the last eight at the All England Championships since Boris Becker achieved the feat on his way to a second title - that was 25 years ago.

Steve Pearce was court side for Tomic's match and he filed this report.

STEVE PEARCE: It's a significant moment for both Bernard Tomic and Australian tennis, as the much hyped and sometimes controversial teenager chose the lawns of SW19 to deliver on the promise that as a junior he's shown for many years.


Tomic had little to lose on Saturday in his shock win against fifth seed Robin Soderling, but in the fourth round, much was expected of him and he knew it.

BERNARD TOMIC: Two different wins, I mean, then I beat a much higher ranked player but today I was playing for a big spot and in one way they're both unbelievable achievements but today was a win I really wanted and I prepared for well and played well for it today.

STEVE PEARCE: It's Tomic's ability to handle the pressure of the big occasion that was first noticed in Melbourne against Rafael Nadal in January and then again on Saturday night in London.

John Newcombe won three Wimbledon singles titles, the last of those 40 years ago. He says Tomic has the poise to be a top player.

JOHN NEWCOMBE: It seems that he has this ability when he gets in the big points, he doesn't panic, he doesn't try to overplay. He maintains with what he knows he can do but on top of that he really believes in what he's capable of doing and it's coming off.

STEVE PEARCE: Does that surprise you that at his age that he has the composure to be able to do that, to actually come in and play these matches on pretty big stages?

JOHN NEWCOMBE: We saw him do it at the Australian Open. I think it took a lot of people by surprise there and you know, got through to the third round and played a pretty good match against Nadal, wasn't panicking there. There hasn't been a lot since then, so in a way it's a bit of a surprise that it's all you know, come to the fore here at Wimbledon.

STEVE PEARCE: Australia's Davis Cup captain and a former runner-up himself here, Pat Rafter, is equally impressed with Tomic's ability to think and play his way through difficult matches.

PAT RAFTER: He's serving very well. He is making enough returns and from the baseline he is incredibly smart, and these guys don't know what's coming at them and he can pull the trigger and hit it hard whenever he wants to or dink it around and make it slow it up and it's a point of difference that this kid has got and it will take him a long way.

STEVE PEARCE: What are we dealing with here? I was standing around with a lot of people watching that and there is a lot of people of every nationality going, wow, this guy can play.

PAT RAFTER: Yeah, he's great for the game. It's something different. We got into a rut of seeing the same baseline-type style of tennis but this kid brings something different for sure.

STEVE PEARCE: Tomic is coached by his father John, a pairing that has caused some angst at Tennis Australia and some controversy for the teenager but Rafter has only praise for both.

PAT RAFTER: His father is, you know, he doesn't come from a tennis background but he knows a lot about tennis. It's been really interesting sitting with him for the last seven matches I've watched him play and I must say the father's very, very good for him. He's very important for him.

STEVE PEARCE: Whatever the outcome of Wednesday's match, Tomic at this stage is refreshingly realistic about his chances of an unlikely title win.

BERNARD TOMIC: Three matches away, wow, that's a big question. I don't know. Well anything is possible.

TONY EASTLEY: Australia's Bernard Tomic. Steve Pearce, our reporter for AM at Wimbledon.

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