26TH May 2009

Tomic in study mode

Bernard plays Verdasco at the Brisbane International. GETTY IMAGES

GETTY IMAGES

AAP

Australia’s teenage tennis star Bernard Tomic has been studying hard.

Not in a classroom, but in front of a TV screen in a Paris hotel in a last-minute cramming session to learn as much as he can about his first-round opponent at the French Open.

The 16-year-old will become the youngest Australian man to contest the main draw at Roland Garros when he takes on the German 29th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber on Tuesday night (AEST).

Tomic, who impressed tennis fans by making the second round of the Australian Open in his senior grand slam debut, has been keeping a low profile in Paris under the watchful eye of his father and coach John Tomic.

“We don’t know much about him (Kohlschreiber) so we have got some videos of his previous games to watch at the hotel,” John Tomic told AAP.

“He’s has had very good results. We will try what we can do.

“He will try the best he can to make Australian fans happy.”

Tomic was given a wildcard entry for the French Open, where he reached the quarter finals in the juniors competition in 2008.

“This (being in the men’s draw) is a totally different level,” his father said.

“It’s all experience but tougher than the juniors and everyone is watching everyone.”

At Roland Garros Tomic faces not only the added challenge of coming up against a seeded player in the first round, but also competing on his least favourite surface.

His father said while the teenager had been concentrating on improving his strength and speed in the past two months, the red dirt in Paris was proving hard for him to adjust to.

“It’s not his game, but he is trying,” Tomic said.

“He finds it slippery and it’s hard to get used to that surface.

“It’s the toughest surface for players. But we have to try. We have to try the best and whatever happens happens.”

Tomic has slashed his ranking by more than 400 places to 362 since the start of 2009, not bad for someone who took up tennis eight years ago with a second-hand racquet bought from a garage sale.

After Paris, he and his dad will head to Italy and Liverpool in England for some warm-up matches ahead of Wimbledon.

Tomic plans to play in the junior competition at the famous grass court grand slam but also has his fingers crossed for a wildcard entry into the senior men’s draw.

“He will play juniors though but we don’t know about the men’s,” his father said.

“If Tennis Australia and the UK federation give us the opportunity we will use it, but we don’t know. It depends on what round he makes here (in Paris).”

Latest Result

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