MELBOURNE, Australia — Less than 24 hours after he was booed by his fans on Rod Laver Arena for retiring from his first-round match against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open, Bernard Tomic called an impromptu press conference to explain that — no, really — he was seriously injured.
Accompanied by a doctor who was there to vouch for Tomic’s injury, the 21-year-old explained he had been diagnosed with a groin injury.
“He has an adductor longus tear,” the doctor attending his press conference explained. “His groin, it’s about a one‑ to three‑week injury. Had he played on, it could have been a three‑ to four‑month injury. The scan is entirely consistent with his symptoms yesterday and completely vindicate him coming off.”
So why hold a formal press conference to announce an injury, which are usually communicated through the tours or via press releases?
“I felt like I got booed a little bit on court, which was pretty unfair,” Tomic admitted. “I just needed to get my side out, which is, you know, obviously the truth and it’s important.”
Tomic’s reputation for putting in less than 100 percent effort in his matches has earned him the nickname “Tomic the Tank Engine”. Earlier this week he told reporters that his lack of effort is a strategic tactic that has worked for him in the past. But that wasn’t the case against Nadal and Tomic wanted to make that clear.
“Obviously they thought I was shaking Rafa’s hand because he’s too good and I’m forfeiting the match because I can’t play against him,” Tomic explained. “So I needed to say it was my leg. I don’t think they quite understood that it was my leg.”
Tomic hopes to be ready for Australia’s Davis Cup tie against France in two weeks.
Here’s ESPN’s report on Tomic’s withdrawal, which includes footage of last night’s boo-birds and today’s press conference. Just ignore the fact that Chris Evert mistakes him for Lleyton Hewitt during her comments.