‘I’ve got to fix this’: Tomic career revival in tatters
BERNARD Tomic admits he faces an uncertain and confronting future after a first-round Australian Open qualifying defeat.
The Queenslander is still hampered by torn ligaments in his left hand, a handicap obvious in a 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 defeat to gritty American Denis Kudla on Tuesday.
The former world No.17, who has now slumped to almost 190th, has barely been able to practise because of a hand injury suffered while playing basketball in the US last year.
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He admitted a lack of professionalism compounded the issue.
"I'm struggling with it," the Wimbledon quarter-finalist said.
"I really haven't been professional in the first month to go get it scanned.
"I played Asia and I pulled out virtually every tournament. I was upset at myself.
"I'm now giving it time to heal. I haven't hit a backhand properly for a month. I'm hitting in pain.
"I've got to fix this. I need my backhand to play. It's my most important shot."
Declaring a goal of trying "to get back into the top 100 but I've just got to stay healthy," Tomic said he would consider his options if the hand didn't improve within a few weeks.
"If this doesn't feel better in two weeks, then I don't know," he said.
Tomic was joined on the tournament scrapheap by Matt Ebden and junior Tristan Schoolkate but there were encouraging Australian victories elsewhere.
Aleksandar Vukic upstaged Italian 11th seed Thomas Fabbiano 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 as Luke Saville overcame Dane Mikael Torpegaard 6-3 6-3.
Max Purcell also advanced 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 over Argentine Andrea Collarini as Blake Mott posted a 6-3 6-4 result over Portugal's Pedro Sousa.
Maddison Inglis saved four match points in an epic 6-0 3-6 7-6 (19-17) win over Slovak Rebecca Sramkova to celebrate her 22nd birthday in style.
Victorian Destanee Aiava notched a confidence-boosting 6-4 6-2 success against Kamilla Rakhimova, of Russia.
Abbie Myers lost 7-5 7-5 to Belarusian Olga Govortsova.