x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Wimbledon: In tennis, family is first for the Tomic siblings

While Bernard Tomic was making headlines, his younger sister Sara was taking some early steps in her quest to emulate him.

Bernard Tomic of Australia hits a return to Richard Gasquet of France during their men's singles match at Wimbledon.
Bernard Tomic of Australia hits a return to Richard Gasquet of France during their men's singles match at Wimbledon.

Bernard Tomic secured his place in Wimbledon's second week after winning a thrilling match against ninth-seeded Richard Gasquet.

Much has been said of the absence of Tomic's coach and father, John, owing to an ATP suspension for an alleged assault, which is denied, and the 20-year-old Australian started the week by criticising the game's governing body.

He has ended it with tennis at the top of his agenda though, with his 7-6, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 third-round success over Gasquet following his earlier triumphs against Sam Querrey and James Blake.

"I'm very, very happy," Tomic said. "It's a huge win for me.

"I played very well today and I needed to against Richard. The last two times he beat me, unfortunately. This time I was very happy to win but I played very good tennis."

He was reluctant to speak too much about his father afterwards but he did talk up the help his mentor is giving him.

"When I have my time off, when I leave the site, I'm with him," said Tomic, who next faces Tomas Berdych. "I'm involved with my dad, he's helping me at this tournament and we're doing the right things. I'm not doing it on my own. That's why I have got to where I am."

While Bernard Tomic was making headlines, his younger sister Sara was taking some early steps in her quest to emulate him on Saturday.

Sara Tomic, 15, was the first player knocked out of the juniors, losing 6-1, 6-0 to Estonia's 13th seed Anett Kontaveit.

However, she has set her sights on making sure she is the most famous tennis player in the family.

"I always looked up to him when I was young," Tomic told Agence France-Presse. "I hope to be better than him one day, certainly. He gives me a lot of advice.

"It's different when you have a brother like that, someone at the top level and I hope that I can learn from him in each and every way, every day.

"I'm definitely grateful and I wouldn't change anything. I'm so happy with all the things I've got just from being his sister. But I want to be my own person and hopefully one day I can."

Though she can see similarities with her brother's playing style, Sara Tomic is modelling herself more on world No 1 Serena Williams.

"We have the same backhand for sure. We grew up with the same coach so we do have similar technique but I'm more of a power player. The reason why I want to go professional is because of Serena."

She wears one of the Wimbledon champion's custom-made jackets and said she "started crying" when she received it.

"She's such a killer on the court. I'm having problems with it. I hope I can turn things around and try and be a killer on the court, an attack player. So far I'm not at that point where it's good enough.

"I want to be No 1 but there are so many things I need to work on."

Sara Tomic is in London for the first time and is enjoying her debut Wimbledon experience.

"Even just walking around was special, seeing all the people, kids, fans waiting for all the top players. I hope I can be there one day and I really feel this is where I want to be, she said.

She was even backed by the Aussie fanatics, the green-and-gold clad Australians who roar on their compatriots at every available opportunity.

"The atmosphere, the people, the crowd, the fanatics, they were good," she said. "They're so funny. I was trying not to laugh. It relaxes me, trying to enjoy myself on the court, working hard but trying to enjoy what you do."

Unlike her brother, she is not coached by their father. He may be been banned from entering the Wimbledon grounds but Sara was down to be in his box to watch him take on Gasquet.

"I was happy to see my sister supporting me in my box. It's a very good thing," said Bernard, after beating the Frenchman in their third-round match.

He intends to repay the compliment. "She's feeling her ankle. She couldn't really move. I didn't talk a lot with her. I think I'll go to dinner with her and have a chat with her," he said. "She's playing doubles as well. If I had the time to go see her, I'd love to."

 

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