Melbourne - Bernard Tomic admits he was intimidated by the public announcement of Roger Federer's achievements before his defeat by the Swiss master at the Australian Open on Saturday.
Tomic had trumpeted his chances of beating the 17-time major champion in the third round at Melbourne Park but after the 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 loss, the 20-year-old Australian revealed he lost his nerve during the warm-up when Federer's Grand Slam titles were read out to the crowd.
Tomic's nerves became even more frayed when he conceded the opening game of the match, the first time he had lost his serve since the quarter-finals of the Sydney International more than a week ago.
"A lot of players, when you play these sorts of players like Roger or Novak (Djokovic), you lose belief before you get into the match," Tomic said.
"Eighty or ninety percent of players that play the top guys, like with Roger, you lose your belief.
"I got in there... they mentioned all these Grand Slams... Wimbledon champion seven times, five times US Open champion. Then I was, 'Oh, crap, it's Roger'.
"I try to block out who's on the other side of the net but I couldn't quite do it after that announcement. Then that first service game was important. I lost it and then I was like, 'Oh no.'
Tomic led 5-2 in a tie-breaker that decided a second set of the highest quality tennis. The world No 43 said he left the tournament convinced he was on his way to the highest echelon, after stretching Federer before a lopsided third set.
"He's the best player and greatest of all time," Tomic said. "It's just a matter of time, when I get up to the big group of boys in the top 10. I know I'm going to be in there with this attitude."