Media and players urge Tomic to dump dad

Updated: 2013-05-08 05:51

By Agence France-Presse in Sydney (China Daily)

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Aussie star's father-coach accused of head-butting son's practice partner

Australian media and former players on Tuesday urged the country's top-ranked tennis star Bernard Tomic to dump his father as coach after he was accused of head-butting his son's training partner.

John Tomic denied a charge of assault in a Spanish court on Monday against Thomas Drouet during a brawl outside a hotel on Saturday where players in the Madrid Masters were staying.

Drouet, from Monaco, appeared outside court in a neck brace with white plaster over his nose, although Tomic claimed his actions were in self-defense.

The hearing was postponed until May 14. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to between three months and three years in prison.

Tomic senior has a history of run-ins with tennis authorities and Australian media urged his son to look for a new coach.

"In the tennis world of crazy and manipulative parents, Tomic Sr is now No 1," said the Sydney Daily Telegraph, which called on authorities to throw him out of the sport.

"If the allegations against him are proved, he will be shown little mercy by tennis officials, who are now well versed in dealing with rogue parents," it said.

Media drew comparisons with other notorious tennis parents, including Damir Dokic, father of Jelena Dokic, who ended up in jail, and Jim Pierce, father of Mary Pierce who was banned by the WTA.

The Australian newspaper said: "Bernard must split from atomic father.

Media and players urge Tomic to dump dad

"John Tomic's conduct has raised concern for years, despite local officials using a mixture of both carrot and stick in an unsuccessful bid to temper the behavior of him and his son," it said in an opinion piece.

In a statement, Tennis Australia said the allegations against Tomic were "very concerning" and it was working with ATP officials who were investigating.

Bernard Tomic, ranked 49th, has had his own share of controversy and last year created more headlines off the court than on it, including run-ins with police in his sports car and claims that he was not trying hard enough.

The 20-year-old was recently recalled to Australia's Davis Cup team after captain Pat Rafter disciplined him for a lack of professionalism.

Several former players urged him to sever the tennis partnership with his father, led by former Davis Cup team mentor Wally Masur.

"The parent-coach dynamic is a dangerous one. There are so many precedents that have proven it's just not healthy," Masur said.

"If you look back at players like Andrea Jaeger, Jennifer Capriati, Jelena Dokic - the parent-coach dynamic is really a nexus that needs to be broken at a young age."

He said Tomic should make more use of Rafter as a mentor.

"Let's put Bernie in someone's hands that he trusts and respects and we'll go from there," he said.

Former Australian Davis Cup player Sandon Stolle said it was time tennis authorities took a stand after several previous controversies with Tomic senior.

Gram Slam winners Ken Rosewall and Neale Fraser were also quoted by media as calling on Tomic to seek a new mentor.

(China Daily 05/08/2013 page23)