Tomic’s desperate bid to revive career
Bernard Tomic still plans to shake off a back complaint and try to qualify for the Australian Open for the third time in four years.
The controversy magnet withdrew from the final of a low-key UTR Pro Tennis Series event in his home city of Brisbane in the past fortnight because of the back issue.
However, Tomic - now ranked 226 in the world, after peaking at No. 17 at the start of 2016 - is part of a 20-strong Australian contingent down to compete in Open qualifying from January 10-13.
He fell in the first round of qualifying in 2020 and the final round in 2018.
Among the other Australians is veteran Matt Ebden, who scored a last-gasp qualifying spot, as he bids to reach his ninth Australian Open main draw, barely two years after being a top-40 player.
The 33-year-old West Australian's chance came when countryman Max Purcell moved into the qualifying draw without requiring a wildcard.
Another Australian with grand slam main draw experience, John-Patrick Smith, also received a late call-up.
Andrew Harris and wildcards Jason Kubler, Akira Santillan, Blake Mott, Tristan Schoolkate, Rinky Hijikata and Dane Sweeny round out Australia's male representation.
Nine Australian women will compete, including Kim Birrell, Ellen Perez and wildcards Seone Mendez, Abbie Myers, Storm Sanders, Ivana Popovic, Olivia Gadecki, Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz and Alexandra Bozovic.
There is still one more wildcard available in each draw.
Qualifying will be held outside Australia because as part of the tournament's COVID-19 conditions, with the men battling it out in Doha, Qatar, and the women in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Sixteen qualifiers and a further six alternate players will travel on chartered flights to Melbourne, before undertaking 14 days of mandatory quarantine.
Tennis Australia's director of performance, Wally Masur, said adapting to the "unique situation" would be crucial to players' qualifying hopes.
"It's been an unusual year for all players, and the best results will come to players who can quickly adapt, and translate all of their hard work from pre-season and training into competitive match play," Masur said.
"I'm expecting all of our Aussies to put their best foot forward for this opportunity, and I wish our players the best of luck competing in Doha and Dubai."
Originally published as Tomic's desperate bid to revive career