Bernard Tomic responds to “unfair” boos, explains his groin injury

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Bernard Tomic waves to the crowd as he leaves the court after retiring in his match against Rafael Nadal. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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.

Best photos from Day 2 at the Australian Open

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.

Bernard Tomic attempts to explain that tanking is all part of his strategy

“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.

  • Published On Jan 15, 2014

    Sounds like he had no choice. He will probably need to make sure he does not join the Davis Cup team unless he is doubly sure he can compete fully.

    Changing the way he is perceived as a "tanker" will take time - he probably has no more "get out of jail free" cards for retiring for whatever reason. He would also be well advised to not try to explain away why lack of effort in a match is ok. Particularly when fans pay a lot of good money to see people playing like professionals

    Ali Akhtar
    Ali Akhtar

    Have no reason to doubt that he is truly injured.  And a groin pull is serious and needs to be rested immediately.

    But the fault is his for making that earlier ridiculous comment that his previous cases of lack of effort were a "strategic tactic."  Now any time he retires, even legitimately injured, those comments will still come back to haunt him.  Just like the boy who cried wolf.