Haters, there's plenty of tennis action going on in Madrid -- Federer returns after 8 weeks off, Djokovic is upset in Madrid by #28 Grigor Dmitrov, newly-minted Guiness World Record-holder Anabel Medina Garrigues halts Madison Keys' run -- but it's the tennis hate off court that has drawn me to the keyboard.
John Tomic, father and coach of Aussie up-and-comer Bernard Tomic, has been barred from future ATP tournaments pending the outcome of an inquiry into whether he assaulted the 20-year-old's hitting partner, Thomas Drouet, last Saturday outside a Madrid hotel.
Drouet says Tomic head-butted him in the nose, breaking it, in an argument that began when Drouet refused to buy milk for the Tomics prior to their flight to Spain for the Mutua Madrid Open.
Tomic, the Herald Sun's "Poster Boy of the Mad Tennis Parents Club,"is claiming it was in self-defense.
It seems the head is a favored target of Coach Tomic. According to the New York Times, Drouet told the French sports paper, L'Equipe, that Tomic punched his son in the head during a training session, hard enough that Bernie's mouth was bleeding.
“All that because Bernard had told him that he had had enough of hearing his criticism. I didn’t intervene as I have read I did other places. Afterward, John took Bernard’s three rackets and destroyed them. Bam. Bam. Bam. A half hour later, he was joking with Bernard."
Ha, ha, my boy, better the Yonex than you.
Sadly, the apple hasn't fallen very far from the tree. Bernie has had his own I Hate Tennis moments, most notably when he was accused of tanking in a lackluster US Open loss last year to Andy Roddick. He got surly with a reporter from Reuters and said, darkly, "I'll remember you."
Maybe this is why I haven't seen any quotations yet from Bernie. Reporters are too busy ordering face masks first.
Tomic needs a new coach. Currently 53rd in the world, he was as high as 27th last June. His 2013 season has been spotty. He won his first ATP Tour title in Sydney last January, but has played little, and done little, since then, except rack up a notably I Hate Tennis moment: Tomic failed to convert 5 match points against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Marseille.