Monday, May 6, 2013

What Will They Do About Tomic?

by Savannah

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The man with the broken nose and neckbrace is Thomas Drouet. He has worked as a hitting partner for several ATP players, most recently Bernard Tomic, the troubled Australian player with tremendous talent and a history of erratic play. Tennis Australia has suspended him and he's had run ins with the law for joy riding, called "hooning" in Australia as I understand it.

Last evening French sources broke a story that should be upsetting to tennis fans, one that had John Tomic assaulting his son and head butting Drouet. Reports were that Drouet was left bleeding on the sidewalk as John Tomic walked away.

As everyone knows news travels fast in the Twitterverse and some were calling for the senior Tomic's banning from tennis before the full story was out.

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Well now the story is out and to say it's troubling is an understatement.

The Australian Herald Sun posted the following account:

Speaking moments before Tomic Sr was to face a Madrid court last night, Drouet told the Herald Sun he had been treated like a "dog" and a "piece of s---" by Tomic Sr for months.

He said things came to a head after Tomic Sr demanded Drouet buy him a carton of milk as they were waiting to go to the airport.

He said he replied that he didn't have time.

Tensions were already high, he said. He said he saw Tomic Sr punch Bernard in the mouth during a practice session last Tuesday, leaving the player in tears.

He said that as they were about to board a flight, Tomic Sr again began abusing him, and then sacked him, saying he would not be paid; but Bernard insisted he take the flight with them.

Drouet said outside the Madrid hotel Tomic Sr asked him to walk with him.

"After 100m or something like this he was looking around and then he started again. I thought he was going to say sorry for the verbal abuse, but no.

"He spat in my face, then walked away, and said he wouldn't pay me any more.

"I said, 'OK, John, you are a real man. That's fine. Bernard will pay me'.

"And he headbutted me.

"Every day he treat me like a dog for six months, with disrespect and then this. But he need to be off the ATP (tour)."

This leaves nothing in doubt except what, if anything, Tennis Australia will do. In a way this is a decision Bernard Tomic and his family will have to make. When a parent is this abusive to his son, his meal ticket, I wonder if he's abusive to the rest of his family? If he is, and Bernard wants to get rid of him will his father turn on his mother or another family member? Is this threat the reason Bernard hasn't moved to sack him?

For assaulting Drouet TA can indeed ban John Tomic forever. Doing that would also provide Bernard with the cover he needs to hire another coach, and possibly get private help as a victim of abuse.

Let's wait and see what happens. The last thing Bernard needs is outsiders, fans, telling him what to do in this situation.

In Memoriam

Brad Drewett stepped down as CEO of the ATP after being diagnosed with what is commonly known as Lou Gehrig Disease or ALS. Despite that his death was not expected and hit the tennis community hard.

One thing I noticed searching tennis fan sites was that not many understood what his job entailed. That is a good thing. The man he replaced, Etienne de Villiers, had become a staple in the tennis press as he tried to force through measures that antagonized the Players Association and the top players of the sport. That Drewett did his job in the shadows is testimony to his effectiveness and hard work at forging cooperation between the players and the ATP.

I haven't seen much chatter about who will replace him. Should it be someone who can navigate the waters between the TD's and the players? Of course. Will it be an American? A Frenchman? A Brit? Time will tell.

End Note

Leave it to Maria Sharapova. When asked about the situation Sloane Stephens has created for herself she said the following as reported by @TennisNews TPN

Sharapova on Stephens' comments "I'm a pretty competitive girl. I say my hellos, but I'm not sending any players flowers as well."

She went on to mouth platitudes about how people perceive players. The day Sharapova sends anyone a bouquet you will know The Apocalypse is nigh. In fact the day Serena Williams sends anyone flowers you'll know it's upon us.

I'm amazed that people are trying to make this a problem caused by Serena. Haters gonna hate as the expression goes. Sloane started this mess with her "disrespectful" comment. If she suffers endorsement wise and p.r. wise that is on her, not Serena. Sloane should understand that the world of professional sports, as cut throat as it is, is not going to change because she's on the scene. You want respect you have to earn it. Talking shit about players who have won more tournaments than you've even sniffed at is not going to help you get it.


Karen said...

When I saw all of this stuff coming out about Tomic's dad, I recalled a few months ago you had a post here and I was very sympathetic to Bernard without even knowing what was happening. I tell you children, no matter their ages, act out and cry for attention in various ways. All this self destructing that Bernard has been doing for the past few years have been a cry for help. One wonders where are the powers that be when father punched son in his mouth causing him to break down in tears. The biggest issue that I have in all of this is that were it not for the fact that Drouet got injured, this cycle of abuse that is being perpetrated against Bernard would not have come to the public's attention. One only has to wonder what else is being swept under the carpet in tennis.

Savannah said...

You were very sympathetic to Bernard and unfortunately I went for the okey doke and put him in the asshole category.

My daughter and I were talking about this situation tonight and agreed that John Tomic punching his son in the mouth had to be something that's been going on for a long time. Abusive people sometimes single out one family member to pick on but many times they're abusive towards the entire family. Let's not forget that Bernard has a younger sister who is also trying to make her way in tennis.

IF Tennis Australia has known about the situation and did nothing to try and help, they're complicit in the abuse and should step aside and let the ATP hand down a decision.

If Tomic senior is convicted of assault he should be banned from tennis period. I think that the ATP can give Bernard the cover he needs to get away from his father and get the counseling he needs as an abuse victim.

And what if John Tomic, unable to abuse Bernard, turns his full focus on his wife and daughter? That has to weigh heavily on Bernard.

Sadly, there is a clause in the ATP rule book that could lead to Bernard being suspended from tennis for up to three years.

From the ATP Rule Book:


8.04 Player Major Offenses/Procedures
A. Offenses

2) Conduct Contrary to the Integrity of the Game

The favorable reputation of the ATP, its tournaments and players is a valuable asset and creates tangible benefits for all ATP members. Accordingly, it is an obligation for ATP players, their coaches and family members to refrain from engaging in conduct contrary to the integrity of the game of tennis. Conduct contrary to the integrity of the game shall include, but not be limited to, comments to the news media that unreasonably attack or disparage a tournament, sponsor, player, official or the ATP. Responsible expressions of legitimate disagreement with ATP policies are not prohibited. However, public comments that one of the stated persons above knows, or should reasonably know, will harm the reputation or financial best interests of a tournament, player, sponsor, official or the ATP are expressly covered by this section.

Violation of this section shall subject the player to a fine of up to $100,000 and/or suspension from play in ATP World Tour or ATP Challenger Tour tournaments for a period of up to three (3) years.

Karen said...

So basically you are forboden from criticising the ATP. No wonder so many things get swept under the carpet in tennis. I imagine that there is a similar rule for the WTA? And then they wonder why fans have become so sceptical of the sport