He’s Just A Kid…

Jan 19, 2009

Imagine if you will…you’re 16 years old and playing your first ever grand slam match. It happens to be in your home country and there are 6000 vocal countrymen there to cheer you on. You are playing against a man who has been ranked as high as 27 in the world and you storm home to win in 4 sets, becoming the youngest ever male winner of a match at the Australian Open.

Sounds like the stuff of dreams right?

Well today for young Australian Bernard Tomic, this was not a dream. In fact if you look at his rise through the junior ranks you’ll see that this was just one more step on the long journey to the top.

While he is young his talent has been well recognised by tennis insiders for quite a while. He was signed to a UK management group at the age of twelve, and had a sponsorship deal signed with Nike a year later. Nike don’t go throwing money at any thirteen year old.

He was a prodigious winner of international junior tournaments and announced himself to the Australian public last year by claiming the boys version of the major in which he is now involved as a man.

Standing 6″2′ at the age of 16 means there is not much there but skin and bones, so as he develops so too will the weapons that he currently lacks. When these are added to the skills he already posseses he will be a formidable foe.

He is renowned as having court sense far beyond his years, with an ability to move his opponent around using great variety on his ground strokes. He has a lovely slice backhand which skids and drifts slightly away from the player, a stroke you could see being used to great effect on the grass at Wimbledon, with an approach to the net and a volley to finish.

What needs to develop is a stronger serve, a more consistent return and greater penetration off the forehand. The two-hand backhand is fantastic – consistently deep and deceptively powerful. The temperament seems good and the ambition strong. While Australian tennis is far from it’s mightiest at the moment, in Tomic they have a player with the potential to do great things. Only time will see whether the trophy cabinet can match this potential.

Written by: Crooksy

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