Tennis brat needs to zip his mouth

DOES anyone actually like Australian tennis product Bernard Tomic?

Often touted as the next big thing since Lleyton Hewitt before he exhausted his talent and overstayed his welcome, Tomic is a polarising force in tennis.

Some like him and others find him impossibly irritating.

I'm quick to say I belong in the latter camp.

Tomic is the ultimate tennis brat. Years of hype and being told how good he is, and will be, have corrupted his career prospects.

Now, the future of Australian tennis is fast shaping up to be a flash in the pan unless he decides to change course.

Instead of knuckling down and working hard on the practice court to refine his skills and harden his tennis brain, Tomic has fallen victim to the glitz and glamour of fame, with an attitude to match.

Practice time has been substituted with fast cars attracting police attention on the Gold Coast and mouthy tirades to the press and fellow players.

The hallmark of any dedicated athlete is the hunger to succeed and to fight - no matter how close to defeat they may be.

Look at tennis champion Serena Williams. Williams wins matches as much with her power and shots as she does with her mind. She is the ultimate competitor and would never dream of just quitting.

But Tomic did just this last season during a horror second-round thumping dealt by Andy Roddick at the US Open.

A pouting Tomic appeared to commit one of the biggest crimes in any sport - tanking.

A defiant Tomic angrily denied throwing the match, but his comments to the press about not giving 100% (apparently he estimated his effort at 85%) highlights his heart was not in it.

To be fair, Tomic is young and growing up and not everyone is expected to do this in the glare of the public spotlight. However, if Tomic desperately wants success, he needs to learn to shut his mouth more and work hard.

There's no such thing as a free ride in sport and it's foolish to think otherwise.

Good week

Daniela Hantuchova enjoys a run of form at the Brisbane International, fighting her way to the third round.

Bad week

Maria Sharapova withdraws from the Brisbane International with injury but hopes to be fit in time for the Australian Open.

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