Tennis Player Thomas Drouet Left with Broken Nose after Bernard Tomic’s Dad Headbutts Him
It is sad to say, but it is true that some tennis parents can be described as crazy tennis parents. Here is a story about the classic example of a crazy tennis parent.
Read this article “Father Barred From Receiving Credentials for ATP Events” by Christopher Clarey from New York Times and express your opinion.
The ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis Tour, announced Tuesday that it had barred John Tomic, the coach and father of the rising Australian player Bernard Tomic, from receiving credentials at all of its events until further notice.
John Tomic has been charged with assaulting his son’s hitting partner, Thomas Drouet, in Madrid last week. Drouet has said that John Tomic broke his nose and knocked him unconscious with a head butt outside their Madrid hotel Saturday after a series of disagreements over the terms of his employment.
Tomic disputed the charge at a hearing Monday in Madrid, claiming that he was acting in self-defense and that he delivered the head butt only because Drouet was holding his arms. Another hearing was set for May 14.
But the ATP, which had revoked John Tomic’s credentials for the tournament in Madrid taking place this week, decided to extend the ban.
“Following last week’s incident in Madrid concerning John Tomic, and the ensuing investigation, Mr. Tomic’s credential privileges have been suspended at all ATP tournaments until further notice,” the ATP announced. “The ATP’s investigation into this incident remains ongoing.”
The ATP said the ban applied only to its events. Bill Babcock, director of the Grand Slam Committee, said that he expected each of the four Grand Slam tournaments to make its own decision about whether to issue John Tomic a credential. The French Open begins May 26: Wimbledon on June 24.
“We’re waiting to hear the full report from the ATP,” Babcock said. “And then the Grand Slams will discuss it and each Grand Slam will make an accreditation decision or access decision one by one.”
John Tomic, a largely self-taught tennis player and former cabdriver who was born and raised in the former Yugoslavia before emigrating to Australia, has also been accused by Drouet of hitting Bernard Tomic, a 20-year-old currently ranked 53rd, at a training session in Monaco last Tuesday.
“I want to make it understood that this man is violent and dangerous,” Drouet said in an extensive interview published Tuesday in the French sports newspaper L’Equipe. “Unpredictable, too.”
Drouet said he and another witness, whom he did not name, saw John Tomic punch Bernard Tomic in the head.
“Bernard was bleeding around the mouth, the teeth; there was blood on the court,” Drouet told L’Equipe. “All that because Bernard had told him that he had had enough of hearing his criticisms. 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.”
Drouet, who has worked for the Tomics since late last year, said in the interview that he was coming forward to help Bernard Tomic and in the hope that tennis authorities would bar John Tomic from the circuit.
“Bernard has been a victim of his father forever,” Drouet said in the interview. “Many times, I’ve heard Bernard tell John he didn’t want him on the court. After that, it’s difficult for Bernard because he’s only known this way of working. He’s a hostage, and he’s developed Stockholm syndrome.”
John Tomic could not be reached to respond to Drouet’s accusations about the attack on Bernard Tomic in Monaco. Telephone messages left for his Spanish lawyer, Carmen Dieguez, were not immediately returned.
Todd Woodbridge, head of professional tennis at Tennis Australia, said that he had not witnessed any physical abuse of Bernard Tomic by his father during his time around the family. “No, if we’d have done so, obviously with Bernard, as a minor, we would have had to take action,” Woodbridge said.
Woodbridge said it was important not to rush to judgment but also important for Tennis Australia to offer increased support in terms of coaching and counseling to Bernard Tomic.
“I think it’s really important that we let everything else play itself out with John,” Woodbridge said. “Given what’s been reported, it’s serious, and it needs to be done by the courts. The other side of this is Bernard’s welfare, and we need to make sure he can cope with the stress and duress this is putting him under. From a tennis perspective, which is a priority, we’ll make sure he has a team around him that can help him get above this distraction the next two months, because it’s a big part of the season. May, June, July is a massive time in tennis.”
Woodbridge said his understanding was that Bernard Tomic, despite the disruptions, still intended to play the event in Rome next week. He said Joshua Eagle, the Australian Davis Cup coach, had been in Madrid and would be in Rome and had spoken with Bernard Tomic directly. He said others from Tennis Australia had been in contact with Bernard Tomic by phone and text.
“He doesn’t give much away,” Woodbridge said. “I think obviously he would rather not have the distraction, but it is what it is.”
The Tomic family, who moved to Australia when Bernard was 3, has long generated tension in the tennis community.
In 2008, during a satellite tournament, John Tomic was so upset with the umpiring that he ordered his son to leave the court in a match against his fellow Australian Marinko Matosevic. Bernard Tomic was later suspended from tournament play for a month by the I.T.F.
In 2009, John Tomic reacted angrily to Craig Tiley, the Australian Open tournament director, when Bernard was scheduled for a night match. John Tomic has also threatened to have his son begin representing Croatia instead of Australia.
Bernard Tomic has been disciplined for misbehavior, including questionable efforts on court and as part of the Australian Davis Cup team. There have been disputes with the police over traffic violations and his role, if any, in a brawl in a Queensland resort last year.
In December, Australia’s Davis Cup captain, Patrick Rafter, announced that Tomic would be suspended from the team’s match against Taiwan in February. Tomic’s financial support from Tennis Australia, the sport’s governing body, was also temporarily cut. He has since returned to the team.
There also have been hints of tension within the Tomic family, the most public coming in April during a match in Miami against David Ferrer when Bernard Tomic asked the chair umpire Cedric Mourier if his father could be removed from the stadium because of his behavior.
“He’s annoying me; I know he’s my father, but he’s annoying me,” Tomic told Mourier, who responded by giving Bernard Tomic a warning for receiving coaching from his father.
Other coaches have received extended bans for abusive behavior. Jim Pierce, the father and coach of the former French Open champion Mary Pierce, was banned from the WTA tour in 1993 after a series of incidents, including a fistfight with Dutch spectators. Damir Dokic, father and coach of the Australian player Jelena Dokic, was banned indefinitely from WTA tour events. Arsalan Rezai, the father and coach of the French player Aravane Rezai, was banned indefinitely from the women’s tour in 2011.
But parental bans have been much rarer on the men’s circuit. Woodbridge said whatever the result of John Tomic’s court appearance, he hoped Bernard Tomic would take greater control of his own career.
“I think this potentially has escalated it and brought it forward, but I do think at some stage Bernard was getting to a point where he wanted to make decisions himself, be it scheduling or training and how much he wanted to put in,” Woodbridge said. “Moving forward, this gives him a chance to become Bernie, his own man.”