Wimbledon

Aussie greats praise Tomic

2011-06-28 10:44
Bernard Tomic (AP)

Sydney - Australia's tennis greats Tuesday praised teenager Bernard Tomic's run to the Wimbledon quarter-finals, hailing him as a breath of fresh air.

Tomic, 18, is the youngest man since Boris Becker in 1986 to get so far at the All England Club after another impressive display to crush Belgium's Xavier Malisse 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 in the fourth round.

Only Becker, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg have made the last eight at a younger age and Tomic is also the first qualifier to reach the quarters at Wimbledon since Vladimir Voltchkov in 2000.

John Newcombe, who won three Wimbledon singles titles, said the young Aussie had the poise to be a top player.

"It seems that he has this ability when he gets in the big points, he doesn't panic, he doesn't try to overplay," Newcombe told ABC radio.

"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."

Tomic next faces the in-form Novak Djokovic for a place in the semis and Pat Rafter, twice a Wimbledon-runner-up, has been impressed with the teenager's ability to think his way through difficult matches.

"He's serving very well. He is making enough returns and from the baseline he is incredibly smart," Rafter told ABC.

"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 up, and it's a point of difference this kid has got and it will take him a long way.

"He's great for the game," he added.

"It is something different. We got into a rut of seeing the same baseline-type style of tennis but this kid brings something different for sure."

Three-time Wimbledon champion Becker and six-time winner Roger Federer have hailed Tomic as a star in the making, and the Australian media gave him front-page treatment Tuesday.

"Tomic burns up the grass at Wimbledon," said the Sydney Daily Telegraph, while The Melbourne Age screamed "Teen Tomic wows Wimbledon".

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