Details are emerging regarding this weekend’s report of an altercation outside the player hotel in Madrid between Bernard Tomic’s father, John, and his hitting partner, Thomas Drouet. John Tomic had been arrested after allegedly headbutting Drouet, breaking his nose and leaving him bloody and unconscious, according to reports Sunday. Bernard Tomic told L’Equipe that he was with his physical trainer at the time of the incident and did not see what happened.
In court on Monday, John Tomic was charged with assault. He and his lawyer did not deny causing Drouet’s injuries but claimed he acted in self-defense after Drouet grabbed him by the arms. Another hearing has been scheduled for May 14. If found guilty, John Tomic could be fined and sentenced to up to three years in prison.
Before John Tomic’s court hearing, Drouet told the Herald Sun that he witnessed John punch Bernard in the mouth last Tuesday in Monaco, leaving Bernard in tears. Drouet said John Tomic had been verbally abusing him for six months and things finally came to a head before the team was set to board their flight to Madrid.
He said that as they were about to board a flight, Tomic Sr again began abusing him, and then sacked him, saying he would not be paid; but Bernard insisted he take the flight with them.
Drouet said outside the Madrid hotel Tomic Sr asked him to walk with him.
“After 100m or something like this he was looking around and then he started again. I thought he was going to say sorry for the verbal abuse, but no.
“He spat in my face, then walked away, and said he wouldn’t pay me any more.
“I said, ‘OK, John, you are a real man. That’s fine. Bernard will pay me’.
“And he headbutted me.
“Every day he treat me like a dog for six months, with disrespect and then this. But he need to be off the ATP (tour).”
The ATP and Tennis Australia are investigating the allegations. Todd Woodbridge, head of professional tennis for Tennis Australia, said during a radio interview, “[W]hat’s important for us at Tennis Australia is that this allegation is thrown toward John, his dad, and not to Bernard.”
Tomic’s message, repeated several times, was this: “I just want to say that I’m not in the jail, how they are writing.”
Yes, OK, but was he in jail at any time in the past few days? No answer to that one; just a friendly promise that everything would be “proved” tomorrow, and that he would then call back, in the afternoon, to expand further. “Hard to explain to you,” he hedged. “I’m not in the jail, just say like that. Tomorrow I will say.”