CONFIDENT: Bernard Tomic arrives for a training session at Melbourne Park on Thursday. Picture: Getty ImagesFIT, focused and firing, Bernard Tomic sees a “huge opportunity” to go deep in the Australian Open draw.
Tomic squares off against fellow Australian Sam Groth in a blockbuster third-round clash at Melbourne Park on Friday, with the winner’s reward a rich one.
Likely to be standing between Tomic or Groth and a quarter-final spot will not be Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Andy Murray, but Tomas Berdych.
Credentialed, yes, but the seventh-seeded Czech is a player Tomic has enjoyed success against, leaving the 22-year-old excited about his prospects of a career-best run at his home major.
“Two Australians playing in the third round, it doesn’t happen like this very often, so this is a huge opportunity for one of us to get into the fourth round,” Tomic said.
“I feel confident and stuff. I’m playing good. This is the tennis I’ve been waiting to play down here in Melbourne. I’m so happy. I’ll try to push for more wins.”
Tomic arrived in Melbourne full of confidence after after back-to-back quarter-final appearances in Brisbane and Sydney and says it’s no coincidence he’s playing some of the best tennis of his life after double hip surgery last year.
“I’ve managed to get so much more range of movement and flexibility,” he said.
Tomic’s vastly improved court coverage is now complementing his superb shot-making and one of the most underrated and effective serves in men’s tennis.
While Groth boasts more aces than any man left in the draw, Tomic is second on the list with only two fewer.
But no player is landing their first delivery more than Tomic and, as much as Groth will rely on his supersonic serve to spring an upset, so too will Tomic in a match where breaks will be gold.
“He’s going to be throwing a lot of stuff at me, coming forward, serve-volleying, and I have to focus on my serve,” Tomic said.
“Obviously I’m going to try to use my experience against Sam. But it’s going to be a tough match. I have to get ready. It’s not easy. He’s playing the tennis of his life.
“I’ll try to break him before it goes to the tie-breaker.”
As well as chasing a spot in the second week, Tomic is looking at the big picture, acutely aware of the chance to bag priceless rankings points in Melbourne.
“Last year, after losing first round, every match I play is a plus, every match I win here,” said the world No.66.
“Sooner or later I’m going to get inside the top 40, top 30.
“I just have to work hard and play the tennis I’m playing, beating guys inside the top 20.
“It’s going to be interesting after the Australian Open. The next five months I don’t have any points to defend. I can get inside the top 20 and then I can start choosing where I play.”