Sydney - A lack of discipline has led Bernard Tomic and Nick
Kyrgios to hit the "self-destruct" button and their behaviour is
tarnishing the image of Australian tennis, Ken Rosewall said.
The 20-something tearaways have long been tipped for grand
slam glory but, after several years on the tour, the sum total of their
achievements is three quarter-finals at the majors. Along the way, they have
also paid lots of fines for their bad behaviour.
Last week, Tomic was fined $15 000 by the sport's governing
body, the International Tennis Federation (ITF), after saying he was
"bored" and had faked injury during a listless first-round defeat at
His comments led to him being dropped by his racket sponsor
Kyrgios, similarly, has said he struggles to stay motivated
and was fined $16 500 by the ATP, which runs the men's Tour, last October for
purposely throwing a game away during his second-round defeat by Mischa Zverev
at the Shanghai Masters.
Such lack of respect for the sport does not sit well with
82-year-old Rosewall, who did not earn a penny in prize-money when he won his
first four grand slam titles during the 1950s when the majors were only open to
"I feel a lot of us older players, who came from
tennis-playing families, we learned to play the game and behave,"
Rosewall, who is in London to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1967
Wimbledon Pro event, said in an interview.
"Plus the fact there was more discipline then. When I
first came overseas, Harry Hopman was the captain and coach of the team. Our
team was made up of players of 17, 18 and 19 years of age and he was like a
"The players of today, because they’ve made more money,
they think that they don’t need that discipline, and misbehave
accordingly," Rosewall added as he enjoyed the city's skyline from the
ninth floor of his London hotel.
Rosewall and his Australian band of brothers - Rod Laver,
Fred Stolle and the late Lew Hoad - appreciated the opportunities that playing
tennis brought to them.
Asked if he felt the behaviour of Tomic and Kyrgios
reflected badly on the legacy created by his generation, Rosewall said:
"That’s pretty accurate. I’d say that."
"Us older Australian players are really disappointed in
their actions. It seems like they both couldn’t care less. I don't know,"
Rosewall said, shaking his head.
"You could probably go to all of the Australian players
you can think of that have represented Australia in Davis Cup, we’d all say the
Kyrgios and Tomic were at loggerheads with Pat Rafter when
he was Australia's Davis Cup captain and he ended up axing Tomic from the
national squad for the men's team competition.
Having shown little respect for their peers, the tournaments
they play in, the fans or Tennis Australia, Rosewall felt Tomic's and Kyrgios's
families should have pulled them up on their bad-boy antics.
"They (Kyrgios and Tomic) both talked to Pat Rafter
when he was a bit more involved (as Davis Cup captain) and he got upset because
they didn’t seem to be taking any notice or didn’t care," said the
eight-time major champion, who will be in the Royal Box on Friday for the
Wimbledon men's semi-finals.
"They are not getting any proper support from their
family. I would have thought Kyrgios’ family should have said something to him
about his behaviour.
"And the same with Tomic. But he’s had problems with
his father, who’s had problems with a lot of other people and it seems to have
gone from bad to worse. They’ve self-destructed alright."
The failure of the current crop of players means Australia
has not won a men's grand slam title since Lleyton Hewitt triumphed at
Wimbledon in 2002, the longest barren run since Norman Brooks claimed their
first Wimbledon title in 1907.
Rosewall felt Tomic's behaviour was especially disappointing
because "a lot of money from Tennis Australia" has been spent on him
and he said the player's attitude could backfire.
"The other day Tomic said: ‘Well, I’m going to play for
another 10 years, then I’ll have enough money and then I can finish’.
"With his behaviour and not trying, which he has
admitted to, no one’s going to want him to play in their tournaments,"
"If you are putting up good prize money as sponsors,
they won’t want to take the risk that he’s going to misbehave or won’t
Tomic and Kyrgios could not immediately be reached for