27TH May 2009

Clay just not my thing

Bernard stops to strategise against Kohlschreiber. GETTY IMAGES

Bernard stops to strategise against Kohlschreiber. GETTY IMAGES



There’s not much about clay that teenage tennis star Bernard Tomic likes – except for the colour.

Five months ago, the 16-year-old from Queensland’s Gold Coast was on top of the world after causing a shock upset to make his way through to the second round of the Australian Open on his grand slam debut.

But that success seemed an eternity ago on Tuesday when Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber made short work of dispatching the young Australian in the first round of the French Open on the red dirt of Roland Garros.

Tomic looked frustrated throughout the match, appearing not to be able to do anything to stop the onslaught from the much more experienced 29th seed who had him racing around the court and won 6-1 6-2 6-2 in just 72 minutes.

Afterwards, Tomic complained he had been hampered by cramp in his left thigh, but admitted that he probably wasn’t physically ready for the tournament, let alone playing on his least favourite surface.

“I’ve always done better on hard [courts],” a downbeat Tomic said.

“It’s an area that I have to improve on in the next few years.

“I’ve always liked players that, you know, hit flat. That suits my game.

“A court where I’m not going to get bad bounces on and it’s not going to jump up.

“That’s why I’ve always liked hard court. My best results have been on hard courts.

“Anything can happen over the next years. I have to improve on this surface and that’s what I’m going to work on.”

Asked if there was anything he did like about clay, Tomic gave a cheeky reply.

“I like the colour,” he said.

“I always liked red, or whatever it is.”

After his success in Melbourne, Tomic took time off and competed in only a handful of events before arriving in Paris from his new home in Florida.

Tomic said despite his lack of success in his debut in the main men’s draw at Roland Garros, he had learned a lot and hoped to go on and win the junior title.

“After my first Oz Open, I didn’t think I was going to get past that first round,” he said.

“For me to see at that tournament that I could play against these players was enough.

“I knew this French Open I couldn’t have won. It’s just an experience for me that I love. One day hopefully I can be good on this surface.”

Latest Result

Italian Open, R64
Benoit Paire DEFEATED Bernard Tomic 2-1 (RET) see previous results