Bernard Tomic’s much talked about comeback to the tennis tour ended in a whimper with a 1-6, 4-6 defeat to Russian ATP Cup star Roman Safiullin.
In bizarre scenes on Kia Arena, Tomic claimed to have COVID in a rant to the chair umpire.
“In the next two days I’ll test positive, I’m telling you,” Tomic said at a change of ends midway through the second set.
“I’m telling you. I’ll buy you dinner if I don’t test positive in three days, otherwise, you buy me dinner.”
Tomic also expressed his disappointment in the covid testing system adopted by Tennis Australia.
“I cannot believe nobody is getting (PCR) tested. They are allowing players to come on the court with rapid tests … no official PCR testing.”
There were no pre-match indications of any physical issues hampering the 29-year-old. He shared his excitement for his match on Instagram only minutes before the match.
There had been much hype leading into Tomic’s first-round qualifying match as he had been sharing his new training regime on social media over the last few months.
Tomic entered Kia Arena to a raucous reception with the crowd showing their support for the one-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist.
Unfortunately, his tennis did not match the pre-match hype as he lost the first set in a mere 23 minutes. Tomic’s first service game included four aces and two double faults.
The Queenslander did show a lot more fight and interest in the match throughout the second set but he was not able to recover after his serve was broken early in the set.
Recently, Tomic stated he wants to put his chequered past behind him.
“I’ve had a lot of hate in my life. But I can’t give up. You don’t think I see the hate comments? It hurts,” Tomic said on Instagram.
“In the past, I used to let it get to me and react out of stupidity. But now I’m using it as fuel. I’m back, I’m hungry and I’m ready. No one can stop me now but me.”
Due to his on-court comments throughout the match, Tomic’s post-match media conference was cancelled.
After a disappointing first-round qualifying defeat, only Tomic will know if he is serious about his latest comeback or if it’s just another false start.
He posted the following statement on his Instagram account after the match: