Swimming star James Magnussen has jumped on the Bernie Tomic bandwagon and at this rate the rest of the country will too.
Magnussen was a conspicuous observer in Tomic's courtside front-row box as the 20-year-old claimed bragging rights with a convincing victory over outclassed Australian number one Marinko Matosevic at the Sydney International on Tuesday night.
Tomic reigned 6-3, 6-4 in the much-hyped clash of the Davis Cup outcasts to continue his impressive unbeaten start to the summer.
"James Magnussen, thanks for coming out mate," Tomic said as he basked in the glory of his latest triumph.
Tomic found himself offside with Australian fans after a series of meek performances and off-court controversies in 2012, but he has taken no time this summer to win back respect and credibility.
His victory over Matosevic follows three at the Hopman Cup in Perth, including a stunning straight-sets dispatch of world No.1 Novak Djokovic.
"Hopefully I can keep this tennis up and do better," he said.
"I think I'm extremely strong now. I played not too bad today. I'm happy with my performance leading in from the Hopman Cup and I can't ask for anything better."
Apart from being able to seize back his Australian top ranking if he goes on to win the tournament, Tomic's immediate reward is a second-round shot at redemption against Florian Mayer on Wednesday.
Mayer clubbed Tomic in straight sets in Australia's Davis Cup World Group playoff loss in Hamburg last September.
It was during that drubbing that Tomic and Cup coach Tony Roche were involved in an animated courtside exchange - all in front of unimpressed captain Pat Rafter.
Rafter had already dumped Matosevic for the Hamburg tie because of his poor attitude earlier last year and took similar disciplinary action against Tomic, suspending the youngster from next month's Cup tie in Taiwan.
By the time Tomic and Matosevic hit the court for their twilight showdown, temperature had dipped somewhat from the scorching 41 degrees it had been earlier on Monday.
Tomic was strong around the court, while the crucial difference was Matosevic's poor second serve which made it harder for the Melbourne-based player to stay in the game.
Matosevic won 75 per cent of points when he got his first serve in, but only 40 per cent on second serve - a figure that was not good enough to hold off his powerful opponent.
The first turning point in the match came in the fourth game of the opening set, when ended after 11 minutes when Tomic finally converted a break point to go ahead 3-1.
Games then went on serve until the ninth game, when Tomic broke again to take the set 6-3 in 36 minutes.
Both player went hard at it in the second set, until the pivotal fifth game. Matosevic quickly found himself 0-40 down, and a slashing forehand winner down the line gave Tomic the decisive break at 3-2.
Matosevic saved a match point in the ninth game to hold for 4-5, but Tomic went up 40-15 on serve and only needed one more match point to draw an unforced error from his opponent to end the match after 73 minutes.
AAP / ABCTags: sport, tennis, sydney-2000, nsw, australia First posted January 08, 2013 19:30:41