Bernard Tomic’s father broke down in tears during his testimony on the opening day of a hearing for his alleged assault of his son’s hitting partner, according to an Australian newspaper report.
John Tomic is accused of assaulting Thomas Drouet near their hotel before the Madrid Open in May. The elder Tomic has insisted that he acted in self-defense when he head-butted Drouet, who said he broke his nose and was knocked unconscious.
According to The Australian, Monday’s court hearing in Madrid centered on an exchange of “he said/he said” testimony. One police officer testified that John Tomic told him that he hit Drouet. In response, Tomic blamed the officer’s poor English, claiming that he actually told the officer he did not hit Drouet.
When he was asked whether it was true he admitted to police hitting Drouet, Tomic Snr burst into tears with audible sobs and wiping away tears said it was not true.
“I never said I hit him … they had a translator on the phone … they all spoke bad English, I didn’t hit him and I didn’t say I hit him,” he said.
The police officer at the scene, identified only through his badge number 10480 said he understood both Tomics very well and what they said that day.
“Bernard Tomic said that the person that attacked was his father and his father was now in the reception,” the officer said.
“I went to talk to Tomic (Snr) and he told me himself ‘he attacked him’ with my English level I understood perfectly what he was telling me. He was telling me “I hit him” and he mimicked actions.
In his testimony Monday, Bernard Tomic denied telling officers that his father admitted to hitting Drouet.
“Is it true when police arrived you told them your father attacked Thomas Drouet?” prosecutors asked the tennis star.
“No I didn’t say that, I said there was a situation and that was it, mind you the police English was very bad,” [Bernard] said.
“I was checking in (to hotel) and all of a sudden my dad came in with blood on his face saying ‘he hit me’.”
He then described how he went outside and saw Drouet lying unconscious with people around him.
The court also heard testimony from two doctors. A decision is expected in two or three weeks. If found guilty, John Tomic could be sentenced to up to three years in prison.
In May, Drouet told L’Equipe that the alleged assault stemmed from tensions that began to escalate when the team was preparing to fly to Madrid from Nice, France. According to Drouet, John erupted after Drouet refused to fetch him some milk; John threatened Drouet with termination and canceled his flight to Madrid before Bernard intervened. When they arrived in Madrid, John summoned Drouet for a talk and spat in his face, Drouet said. John then head-butted Drouet.
Drouet also told L’Equipe that during his time working with the Tomics he had witnessed John physically assault Bernard multiple times, including an incident in May in which John punched Bernard in the head.
“Bernard bled from the mouth around the lips and teeth,” he said. ‘‘Bernard was bleeding around the mouth, the teeth, there was blood on the court. All that because Bernard had told him that he had had enough of hearing his criticisms. I didn’t intervene as I have read I did other places. Afterward, John took Bernard’s three rackets and destroyed them. Bam. Bam. Bam. A half hour later, he was joking with Bernard.
“I want to make it understood that this man is violent and dangerous. And unpredictable. I saw John hitting his son when I was at their house in Australia in January. He abused him physically. I know because I heard a big noise in the next room.”
Drouet has split with the Tomics and now serves as a hitting partner for Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli.
John Tomic’s credentials have been revoked for all ATP and ITF tournaments while the tour investigates the incident. While Tomic was allowed to watch his son as a paying spectator at the Aegon Championships last month, both the French Open and Wimbledon banned him from the grounds. That didn’t stop Bernard from joking that his father may have been able to slip past security at the All England Club.
“Maybe my dad is watching,” he said after beating Richard Gasquet in the third round. He added with a laugh: “Maybe you guys just can’t see him.”
When pressed on whether he believed his father was in the stands for his win, Tomic replied, “Well, you don’t know with my dad. You just don’t know. He could be there.”