Video: US Open practice session
Bernard Tomic knows familiarity on the tennis court breeds contempt.
So the teenager plans on tweaking his quirky game against 27th seed Marin Cilic in a bid to set up a US Open third round clash against Roger Federer – should the Swiss master also beat Dudi Sela as expected in the second round.
Wimbledon quarterfinalist Tomic has a reputation for frustrating even the most composed players with his variety of shots and readiness to use them at the most unexpected moment.
Tomic’s next big challenge is finding a way past quality opponents that are aware of his tricks, such as Cilic, at Flushing Meadows this week.
The Croatian has hit up with Tomic a number of times and defeated the youngster in five sets in the second round at last year’s Australian Open.
“They’re going to figure me out eventually, the more times you play [them],” Tomic said.
“Like playing Marin last time, he’s obviously figured out my game, so now maybe coming into the match, he’s probably going to do things differently.
“So I’ve got to do that as well.”
The 195cm Tomic enjoyed his first taste of main-draw action in the Big Apple on Monday, registering a straight-sets win in his US Open debut against American journeyman Michael Yani.
The youngest player in the field felt ready to square up the ledger with Cilic and arrange a meeting with five-time champion Federer.
“We had a tough match in Australia a few years ago, and I think it’s going to be a big battle when we play,” Tomic said.
“I have to prepare as much as I can to beat him this time and have revenge on him.”
Cilic said Tomic tested the patience of his opponents like few other players on the tour.
“He’s a bit of an awkward player that you don’t see so often on the tour,” he said.
“He sort of gives you bait to take, so you have to be careful with what to do and what not to do.
“He definitely can be dangerous.”
Tomic thought the key was getting stuck into 198cm Cilic’s serve.
“I know the way he plays and he knows the way I play,” he said.
“I’ve got to come out there serving well.
“I know he can get his serving down in the 50 per cent range. So if it’s not a good serving day for him, I think I have a lot of good chances, but we’ll see.”