Tomic stirs up more controversy down under.

Doubt has been cast over the plausibility of Bernard Tomic’s excuse for withdrawing from this week’s Australian Open Wildcard Playoffs, potentially creating yet another standoff between him and officials of Tennis Australia. Citing illness, Tomic notified Open officials of his withdrawal on Sunday night, but  Tomic practised for two hours in Queensland on Tuesday, confident he would be handed one of Tennis Australia’s discretionary wildcards for next month’s Open. Medibank International Sydney tournament director Craig Watson said the 18-year-old was no guarantee to play in Sydney from January 9-15 after his decision to abandon the play-offs in Melbourne.

“That wildcard play-off was designed to give the players who deserve to play a chance to play at that [top] level,” Watson said. “It throws a bit of a spanner in the works, the fact that there has been a hiccup with Bernard.”  But Watson said he will still be lobbying Tennis Australia to grant Tomic a wildcard for the event in Sydney. Tomic was also a no-show at Sunday’s wildcard playoff draw in Melbourne – a compulsory event for players to attend. Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said there were no guarantees for anyone hoping to receive a discretionary wildcard. “If what you’re saying is correct, one, I’d be highly annoyed and, two, I’d have to talk to the team on what decision we would be taking,” Tiley said. “He’d be considered [for a wildcard], he’s been considered all year – but if someone makes a decision to rely on the discretionary wildcard, I never advise someone to do that.”

Peter Luczak was slated to meet Tomic in today’s quarter-finals, but will now face James Lemke after a 6-2 4-6 6-2 victory against Luke Saville.


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