Melbourne - Bernard
Tomic won the battle of Australia's tennis bad boys with a comical
trick serve through his legs at the Kooyong Classic on Wednesday, as he and
opponent Nick Kyrgios both talked up their chances at the Australian
The world number 83's good-natured 6-3, 6-4 victory over his longtime
friend Kyrgios ended with a flourish when he sent down the sneaky
serve, while bouncing another ball, on match point.
It caught the relaxed Kyrgios completely off guard, and left him laughing and shaking his head.
The collegial battle between the two showmen, who have both struggled
with motivational difficulties, was a crowd pleaser and they were happy
afterwards to talk up their chances at the opening Grand Slam of the
year next week.
"We've both made deep runs at the Open," said Kyrgios, pointing to his 2015 quarter-final and Tomic's three fourth rounds.
"It's looking good for Australia, we have a lot of players, all playing with different style, but looking strong."
As for his own chances at his home Slam, Kyrgios had limited advice.
"I guess it's not doing what I've been doing," said a player who quit
the 2018 season in October with an elbow injury and then played
basketball and worked with his charity in the off-season.
"Maybe when I reach the second week of a major, I just play better. I
have to raise my game and play better at the end of the day.
"I've been doing all the right things for next week, ticked all the boxes, got the body right.
"I feel like a veteran at this stage, I just need to make sure the body is right."
Like Kyrgios, now ranked 51, Tomic has fallen in and out of love with the sport.
A year ago, he could not even qualify for Melbourne Park, advising
media after a loss that he could be found "counting my millions."
That bad attitude lasted through his aborted three-day run in the
South African jungle in an Aussie celebrity survival series a month
Chastened somewhat, Tomic began to rebuild his game last season,
winning his first title since 2015 at Chengdu last September and he
appears to be carrying that momentum forward.
"I'm just doing what I need to do. My attitude to tennis is the same whether I won or lose," he said.
"My target is to make another Grand Slam quarter-final, maybe even a
semi. I need to be healthy to have a good year. I'm okay now (with
He added: "I know this Australian Open is going to be big as well … and I can do a lot better than I've done in the past."