Loved-up, teetotalling Bernard Tomic has revealed his celebrity girlfriend as the unlikely inspiration behind his stirring tennis revival and says the pandemic has served him up a fresh perspective on his career.
Reality TV may not have been Tomic’s cup of tea in 2018, as the polarising 28-year-old lasted only three days on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
But his Love Island love interest Vanessa Sierra is doing her best to put Tomic back in the spotlight with a series of provocative social media posts documenting their 14-day stint in hotel quarantine in the lead-up to next month’s Australian Open.
While OnlyFans pin-up Sierra has copped flak for moaning about the food in quarantine and not having anyone to wash her hair, she has been crucial to Tomic’s stunning renaissance.
He’s even credited the tennis WAG as his new coach.
Since the pair went public about their relationship in November, Tomic has gone on a tear, qualifying for the Open with three steely three-set victories in Doha after making his comeback with a succession of wins in UTR events in Australia.
“My girlfriend’s coaching me actually,” Tomic told AAP.
“She’s just helping me with a few things. We’ve managed to win eight matches.
“Quite good, it’s a new tactic for 2021.”
Asked if he was serious, the one-time world No.17 and teenage Wimbledon quarter-finalist said: “Dead set, mate. Of course, 100 per cent.
“I mean, I’ve won eight out of nine matches. I think I won five out of the six UTR (matches before qualifying). They were all three-setters.”
Tomic refused to divulge exactly how Sierra was helping his game, other than saying she had instilled him with added motivation.
“Mate, it’s a secret. It’s a secret,” Tomic said.
“I’m not going to give out my tips, you know what I mean?
“Happy wife, happy life. That’s it, my man.”
Tomic’s valiant effort in Doha, where all 19 other Australians failed to qualify, showed he still has plenty of fight.
Criticised and heavily fined for saying he was “a little bored” during a lame 2017 first-round Wimbledon loss, Tomic said touching a racquet only once in six months during the pandemic last year had made him miss tennis.
“It was good for me to have this year off – very, very good,” the world No.228 said.
“Good for a lot of players, I reckon. Get away from the aeroplane. I haven’t seen an aeroplane for 10 months.
“So it gave me a lot of energy, gave me a lot of happiness and a few other things that I’ve also learned and done that’s made me happy.
“I started realising a few things now that I didn’t when I was 18, 19, 20.
“But I would like to play for sure until I’m 35, if I’m injury free.
“It’s tough when you have injuries so I’ll see how we go.”
Tomic declaring his intent to play on for years to come may come as a surprise to many.
“I can always play at the top level. It’s just about my head being right,” said the two-time grand slam junior champion.
The long-time former Australian Davis Cup spearhead has also turned vegan and says he’s given up alcohol.
“I’m going to try to do the right thing now,” Tomic said.
“Does that involve me working really, really hard? Probably not. But I’ll just do the little things that I didn’t do before – and just try and enjoy it.
“We all play this sport – well many players say they play this sport because they love it – it’s their passion. I never really did it like that.
“Now I’m starting to enjoy it. It feels pretty good.
“It feels nice on the court so I’m going to try and take that in with me as much as I can.
“You don’t know when your career can stop.
“So I’m looking forward to the next couple of years.”
Beyond that, Tomic can fully envisage life after tennis.
“I’m probably going to be retired fishing somewhere in the north of Australia with not a tennis ball in sight,” he said.
“That is for sure and not an aeroplane in sight for at least two or three years.”