Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Thomas Drouet Diaries

by Savannah

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Source: Ella Pellegrini Source: News Limited

So Thomas Drouet kept a diary about his time with Bernard Tomic and his father John Tomic. The entries that have been published make you understand who Bernard and his father are and why he's not the star Tennis Australia thought they would be.

November 2012

A 27-hour trip and I am feeling really jet-lagged. I barely arrive and there is a fit of anger from John because Bernard is playing on his PlayStation.


For the first two weeks there's minimum three to four hours training a day. John has multiple fits of anger during training. Bernard and John are always yelling. I am just very busy playing tennis, preparing drinks and muscle building, but the physical trainer from Barcelona, Salvador Sosa, arrives. He is very well known and respected on the circuit. This is a good team.

Almost immediately John abuses Salva on court because he dares to lean up against a wall. He makes him run after all the balls. Salva is in his early 60s but does as he is told.

Bernard, too, tells me to run or stay home. If I win a point, he then plays 10 drop shots and if I don't run each time there's drama. The pressure is constant.

PAY CUT CHRISTMAS with the Tomics.

I miss my family, but I'm happy on the tour. Then John tells me there is to be a salary change. It's Christmas, but he tells me he is dropping my wage from Euro1200 (about $A1720) a week to Euro1000. My food is also supposed to be paid for, but I have to pay for it myself.

"I pay you too much," John says. "If you don't want, you can go home".

I quit my job at the Monte Carlo Country Club as manager for the competition group and I can't go back. I don't know why this has happened. But John has more news. He tells me he won't pay me a wage for Christmas Day because we did not train. Salva and I tell him that's not the point, that we are here in Australia away from home and a salary is for each day we are away.

Bernard tells him to pay, maybe he will or won't, but I'm starting to think probably not.

I know now that I have made a mistake when I told John how I quit everything to be here. Now I sense John knows he has me, as I have nothing else to go to. But I have an ex-wife and a child and house to pay and I have to work.

I will keep going. It's still early days. It will get better.

One day after seven hours on court, John blows a fuse.

John asks me to play a set with Bernard. He tells me to play as hard as I can and to bug him as much as I can. He tells me that if I win more than three games in the set, he (Bernard) will run back home.

Caught up between my fear of John and my compassion for Bernard, I play the best I can for fear of retaliation and win the set. Bernard is furious with me, breaks a racquet and the father orders him to run home ... great atmosphere.


Exhibition tournament in Perth Arena and we are alone with Bernard; he wins his three games. John isn't there and it is a good atmosphere, good work.

Bernard beats Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-4 in their Hopman Cup clash. Fantastic. It's just about tennis and not all the other stuff I have seen.

Bernard's regime is strict, whether it is eating or drinking. For preparation of the drinks, I must have 2 litres of specific mixes: in 50cl, 1.5 spoonfuls of XTEN, 2 spoonfuls of Endura, give Bernard two pills 45 minutes before the match, three big white pills 15 minutes before the match, during the warm up of a match, at the beginning (of a match) a blue sachet, then in the middle (of the match) an orange one. If the powder dosage is not exactly respected and the bottles not taken out at the last minute I get yelled down

I must put Bernard's racquets in a cold room before the match and pull them out at the last minute. They are breaking racquets all the time. If John doesn't like a racquet he just breaks it.


Bernard wins his first ATP Tour title.

We all celebrate. Tomic wins, brilliant. There is a great feeling, everybody on a high and happy.

We are still in the tennis centre in the evening when John walks in and shows us the prize money paper. We think initially he is showing us as part of the celebration. Like, "Look at this prize money - yay!"

But no. "You see how much taxes I pay?" he says. "I give you too much money, I will pay you less". Our spirits drop.

Unbelievable. He leaves us deflated.


The Australian Open and my girlfriend Sophie (Lombard) comes over and I have to lie and leave my hotel room in the evening at 11pm to meet her at her hotel and then get up before 6am to make sure I give Bernard his fresh orange juice in his room every morning.

I knock, he tells me to "fuck off", but I have to say, "Can you drink this and take your energy pills, please Bernard". As much tension in the team as ever.

John is like jealous or something.

If I can slip out to see Sophie, I go like a spy to her hotel looking left and right to make sure John doesn't see me. How weird. Sometimes I can't go because we are still working. Tension, tension, always tension.

Every day, it's a new crazy scene.

Bernard is horrible during the training before the match against (Roger) Federer. He tells me to run, to play right, play left, treats me like a dog.

Maybe it's the pressure.

I remember back on the Gold Coast, in the evening Salva and I would stick together, drinking a beer on the terrace, the only moment of calmness for both of us.

One evening, I remember we are chatting and we see Bernard coming down around 11pm. He tells us, "What the hell are you doing here, go to bed".

Then later on, Bernard tells us that he often escapes at night to go see his friends. We then understand why it takes 30 minutes to get him out of bed every morning.

Off court, Bernard runs into trouble with his Ferrari and the police; went out to night clubs every weekend.


THE Tomics arrive in Monaco and I must pick them up at Nice airport at my own expense.

Bernard, meanwhile, had partied like crazy after the Australian tournament season and when he comes back he has lost 2-3kg of muscles.

Salva and I see him, and "Oh my god, who is this?"

Bernard doesn't want to do anything now. Salva fights to get him to do sprints. I watch as they go to this long track near the courts. Bernard runs like he is at a marathon, just a slow jog. Mr 50 per cent. He is like a zombie.

It is now five days before the Marseille and Rotterdam tournaments. He has worked only for five days training, not enough.

Four months in and I am very stressed. I never know how John will behave from one day to the next. Every day you never know how he is going to react to something or how he is going to behave, maybe nice, maybe not. Always it's stress, every day stress.


IT'S cold, it's snowing and Bernard loses in the first round against Grigor Dimitrov.

He is playing only 50 per cent because he is tired and didn't do anything after the Australian Open.

That night I go to John's room ... Salva, me and John - and John starts to cry.

He has tears, he genuinely is upset.

"Bernard doesn't want me anymore, it's finished I might as well go home," he says. Salva and I console him ... inside, though, we want him to go home and we want Bernard to say this.

Every day, we think today is the day maybe Bernard tells him to go home.

We can't say that, but we wish it. We know the problem is John, but, as Salva says, if you do one mistake it will be to try to separate them. "Coming between them, you are dead, let Bernard do it for himself," he tells me.


JOHN blows a fuse because I don't go upstairs to fetch the suitcases and he threatens to leave me back in Monaco and to exclude me from the team.

Bernard comes down and says, "Everybody shut up".

He asks why I am out (of the team) and can't believe it is because I didn't carry John's bags.

If it isn't me, John attacks Salva.

But then suddenly it's like he forgets that. He then starts to tell Salva that whoever gets to Marseille before 7pm first, the other pays for dinner. Salva uses it as a joke to lighten the mood. John just makes for the car and starts to drive crazy. I don't know, 160km/h maybe. Really, really fast. He really wants to win.

We head for our rooms and John tells us to be back downstairs in 20 minutes to eat. John takes two whiskies and a main and dessert, then asks for the bill which is Euro150. He hands it to Salva and says "you lost the bet, so you pay". We know he doesn't have the money. I feel so bad, so when we are back in the room I give him 20 euro for what I ate, and Bernard, too, gives him 15-20 euro. Bernard didn't feel good either.

Early morning training and Bernard breaks a racquet because John is insulting him. It's all back to normal.

John takes me apart because he saw me at breakfast with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He says, "Who pays you, Tsonga or me?"

Then he just disappears. I don't know what happened to John, but the day before Tsonga and after the match against Somdev Devvarman, John says we practice. Bernard does not want to listen to him.

John screams at me. "You don't play with him then, Thomas."

Bernard tells me to play.

I am standing there with a racquet and ball in hand and I don't know what to do. Bernard was telling me aggressively, "You play now". John is yelling at me, "No you don't play".

Then they yell at each other and Bernard starts whacking his racquet ... bam, bam, bam bam ... over and over on the court.


WE depart for Indian Wells and I am in charge of the logistics.

We arrive in New York, Bernard doesn't have the right visa, he talks down to the customs officers and is taken to the station for four hours. We miss our connecting flight.

Eventually he comes out and I negotiate with the girl at the desk, who puts us on the flight to Phoenix the next day.

Bernard tells us that we can sleep at the airport, that he has booked a hotel in New York and he is going to have a party with his mates.

Salva and I are stupefied as we are left to sleep on a chair all night. I take a photo. It's incredible.


JOHN buys a BB gun at a supermarket because he says he wants to go hunting. I laugh and say, "Okay, let's buy it". We go fishing, there is a big lake here and after practice we relax and fish then we just shoot dirt.

Then we come back home and Bernard says, "Who is the biggest man now, we are going to shoot each other". He says it as a joke.

John says I will do it, and he just pulls the gun and shoots him. He bleeds in his legs.

Then Bernard says, "Now you do it ... you do it or you are not a man." So John does it.

Then they shoot on Salva, too. Now they say to me it's my turn ... but I go to my room first and put four or five pairs of shorts on and then they shoot me, too, but I don't really feel it.

We make a video of it and it seems funny at the time. It's fun crazy.


BERNARD is supposed to train with Kei Nishikori but turns it into a scandal. He doesn't want to play with him, so he tanks it. They are doing this practice to find their rhythm, but Bernard just whacks it back, and he loses 6-1 in 10 minutes. Nishikori is really pissed off.

His coach tells me after we will never want to play with him again. Bernard doesn't like to practice with other tournament players.

Bernard is up against Andy Murray. It should have been a good game. Bernard starts well, but then misses the 40-15 break and after that he just lets go of the match.

I think 80 per cent of his defeats are either by abandonment (he gives up) or by injury, although his nickname is tank machine.

That's what people call him behind his back after John McEnroe said he tanked it against Andy Roddick during the 2012 US Open. Everybody jokes about him as "the tank".


Before we discuss who has what personality disorder here is a definition of sociopathy versus psychopathy

Sociopathy and psychopathy share many traits, which is the main source of confusion for differentiating them in psychology. Traits that sociopaths and psychopaths share include:

  • a disregard for the rights of others
  • a failure to feel remorse or guilt
  • a disregard for laws and social mores
  • a tendency to display violent behavior and emotional outbursts

Though not all psychology professionals agree on what exactly differentiates sociopaths from psychopaths, among those who believe each are separate disorders there is a list of definite differences. Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place. Some sociopaths form attachments to an individual or group, though they have no regard for society in general. In the eyes of others, sociopaths appear clearly disturbed. Any crimes committed by a sociopath tend to be disorganized and spontaneous.

Psychopaths, on the other hand, often have charming personalities. They are manipulative and easily gain people’s trust. They have learned to mimic emotion and so appear “normal” to other people. Psychopaths are often educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they can have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature.

Psychopaths, when committing crimes, carefully plan out every detail and often have contingency plans in place. Because of this marked difference between the method of crimes committed by sociopaths and psychopaths, the distinction between these disorders is perhaps even more important to criminology than it is to psychology.

Another belief among some professionals is that the etiology of the disorders is different. According to David Lykken, a behavioral geneticist known for his studies on twins, psychopathy stems from a physiological defect in the brain that results in the underdevelopment of the part of the brain responsible for impulse control and emotions. Sociopathy is more the product of childhood traumas and abuse. According to this model, some professionals believe that sociopaths are capable of empathy, but only in specific contexts.

For example, sociopaths may attach their loyalty to a person or group and will feel empathy for or not hurt those people to which they are attached. Psychopaths, however, have an inability to feel empathy and are just as likely to hurt their family and friends as they are strangers. Other psychologists make these same distinctions, but define them as primary psychopathy and secondary psychopathy.

I wonder what Tennis Australia has to say about this? Probably nothing. At least I haven't found any official comment. I'm sure none of this is news to them. And keep in mind that Tomic senior got an eight month suspended sentence for his attack on Drouet. And he's fighting it.


Ladies we all have that relationship tucked deeply away in our psyche. You know what I'm talking about. The one that everyone told you was bad for you, wrong for you, that would leave you in a very bad place and doubting your self worth. Most of us have gotten through the psychological damage done by that relationship and gone on to form healthy and stable ones.

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So lets not judge okay? She'll hopefully come out of this a better woman. After all most of us make it okay right?

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For those of you who threw up a little in your mouth Thera Breath by Dr Katz works wonders.


Matt said...

I'm sorry to take away from that mainstay of this article but in the miscellany section of this article... KVITOVA AND STEPANEK!? Isn't he a MARRIED MAN with Vaidisova?? WTF is going on here Savannah??

Wasn't Kvitova's last BF 2-3 years her junior? Now she's going for a man 10-15 years her senior?

I have no words. On the Tomic diaries or this story. What is happening in the world of tennis.

Why is all this happening!?

Randy Burgess said...

Did this just come out in the Aussie online news today? Datelines always seem to be mangled by online publications - I can see it says "September 15, 2013 12:00AM" at the top right of the web page but I am unsure whether this is really the publication date or just a robotic timestamp.

At any rate, I am glad this diary is getting published. Yes, it is sensationalistic; but even so, I hope it discourages any further attempts by some in sport to cover up for the worst sort of parental abuse, not to mention criminal actions.

Questions -

1) How did Drouet ever put up with all this BS? What was the draw for him to quit everything and sign up as a slave? Did he not know that Tomic Sr. was a nasty piece of work from the beginning? The diary format leaves this unclear to me.

2) Why on earth do people like Darren Cahill keep making excuses for Tomic Sr.?

I am angry at Tomic pere and sad about both pere and fils. Neither is a happy person and they take it out on other people. I bet if we could find out more about the father's childhood we would find he was neglected or abused in some way as well.

Savannah said...

Matt it seems that Stepanek and Vaidisova were officially divorced earlier this year.

Savannah said...

Randy it seems this came out Saturday (Sunday) in Australia. I've posted Part 2 today (Sunday in the States, Monday in Australia).

I keep saying that I'm waiting for Tennis Australia to say something for a reason. Cahill has always stood up for Tomic and I wonder if he is still close with officials at Tennis Australia, close enough to want to help hide their dirty laundry. It's going to be harder for him to do now that Drouet has published his diary.

It also makes that eight month suspended sentence look a little shaky, especially since Tomic Sr is fighting it.

You might have to put on a hazmat suit to wade through some of the web sites but some of the fan comments by people who seem to be of Eastern European descent are very interesting. That isn't my area of expertise so that's why I refer you to the fan sites.

Karen said...

While I am sure that there are those who are glad that Drouet published this, I am of 2 minds on this. 1, he did it as a sort of back up plan. He wanted documentary evidence out there about what he went through. In that sense, it is a bit self serving. However, I am of the view that it will no doubt affect his job prospects going forward. Which player out there, whether established or up and coming is going to want to hire someone who if there is anything adversarial in camp, will no doubt document everything that has happened. Tennis players are notoriously private, especially as it relates to their day to day lives. No one knows the training regimens of the top players, or indeed any player. We see them at tournaments doing their thing but no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors. If I were a tennis player, I am sure that I would not hire this guy lest he take away my trade secrets and publish them.

Tennis is just waiting for a Lance Armstrong type situation. It is happening in bits and pieces, i.e. Troicki and Cilic and now Tomic. Surely, at some point in time someone will come out and blow the whistle on something else. With what Drouet has done, I am sure that every tennis player is now looking at those contracts and the confidentiality clauses contained therein.

As for Tennis Australia, I am not quite sure what they can say in this situation. It was John Tomic who got his son to where he is today. While I am not excusing John Snr's behaviour, this is just giving me reminders of another father who was painted in a very negative light by the media and those around that family. We have no idea what Drouet's contract called for him to do & we are only getting his side of the story. I say wait to see if there is a response to the allegations contained in the diary.

Savannah said...

John Tomic had a lot of help from Tennis Australia in getting his son where he is. The help was probably financial as well as professional. That Tomic Sr knows nothing about training is evident from what Drouet has written. Why wouldn't TA offer to continue helping him? Why did he have to go outside of the Federation for the kind of help Drouet and Sosa were offering? Why doesn't he like the Williams, have a personal professional staff that helps them? I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that no one wants to work with him.

Drouet does mention the other jobs he's held and how professional the players were he worked with in the second part of the diary published today. Did Safina's old coach have problems getting a job? Look at Carlos Rodriguez? Ricardo Sanchez? They get work. I don't think Drouet need to worry about being hired by someone else.

But back to TA. The most interesting thing is that this came out in the Australian press. I think they almost have to say something. I'd like to know what they feel about Tomic Sr fighting a suspended sentence instead of just letting it go.

Randy Burgess said...

I'm trying to think of any other tennis parents (mother or father) who headbutted a training partner.

Can't think of any.

And I can't even begin to think there is any possible comparison to Richard Williams. Or was it some other parent who was being referenced?

Regardless, we don't need to whitewash Tomic Sr. in order to defend someone else.

Savannah said...

Randy the problem the tour had with Richard and Oracene was not this kind of problem. The tours wanted it's favorite coaches to have access. It's the same situation Sloane Stephens is in.

I've heard the McEnroe's complain on the air about how strict Toni is with Rafa though. But can anyone deny that Rafa is a disciplined player thanks to his uncle's influence? What kind of player would the US be able to field if it imposed discipline on those it perceives to be it's new stars? I'm talking about Querrey and Isner.

What Drouet is exposing is psychopathy. He's doing it to try and help Tomic. I don't think Tomic is able to break free of his father though.