Controversial Australian Bernard Tomic caused a Wimbledon stir by declaring he was “bored” during his first round defeat to Germany’s Mischa Zverev.
The 24-year-old, who has slipped down the world rankings having been as high as No17 in January 2016, lost 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 to Zverev in just 79 minutes. It is the second grand slam in succession that Tomic has suffered a first-round exit.
Tomic’s comments would have done little to comfort the thousands of tennis fans who camped outside the All England Club for 48 hours prior to the start of the championships in a bid to secure tickets. Centre Court seats can cost up to £95 in the first week.
“I felt a little bored out there,” said Tomic, who has won only nine matches this calendar year. “I just couldn’t find any rhythm and wasn’t mentally and physically there with my mental state to perform.
“It’s tough to find motivation. I just couldn’t find any. This is one of the biggest tournaments in the world and I just couldn’t find anything. It’s happened to me a lot.
“The last year or two, nothing motivates. I don’t think I respect the sport enough. I couldn’t care less if I make the US Open fourth round or I lose first round. I’m going to play another 10 years and I know after my career I won’t have to work again.”
Tomic, who has won three ATP Tour titles during his career and banked almost £4m in prize money, will receive £35,000 for playing in the first round.
Asked if he had given thought to returning the money given his listless performance and subsequent comments, he added: “If you ask [Roger] Federer to give back $500m, would he do that or not?
“We all work for money. At 34, maybe I can donate to charity. If you ask Roger if he’ll do it, I’ll do it.”
The sense of supporters receiving a raw deal was exacerbated by Novak Djokovic and then Roger Federer, second and third seeds respectively, progressing to the second round following truncated matches.
Their opponents, Martin Klizan and Alexandr Dolgopolov both retired injured, taking the tally of those quitting matches early to eight in the first two days of the competition. Djokovic was leading his tie 6-3, 2-0 at the time and Federer 6-3, 3-0.
Djokovic said: “We had a joke in the locker room saying we should maybe play a practice set on Centre Court.”