Bernard Tomic was involved in a bizarre altercation with an umpire during his defeat against Roman Safiullin as his attempts to qualify for the Australian Open were dashed amid concerns he was playing while positive for coronavirus.
The former world No.17 was defeated in straight sets with his Russian opponent requiring less than an hour to secure a straightforward 6-1 6-4 victory.
An understandably rusty Tomic hadn’t played in an ATP tournament since September, when he retired in the first round of a qualifier event in Kazakhstan, and looked well off the pace in the searing Melbourne heat.
‘I’ll buy you dinner if I don’t test positive in three days, otherwise you buy me dinner,’ he was overheard saying in a bizarre exchange with the umpire.
‘They’re allowing players to come on court with rapid tests in their room, c’mon … no official PCR testing.’
Updating his fans on social media afterwards, Tomic added: ‘Feeling really sick, I’m now back in my hotel room.
‘Just spoke to the doctors on site and they’ve asked me to isolate. They couldn’t treat me yet to avoid contact.
‘Thank you for all the support on the court today. I really appreciate it! I’ll do better next time. Very disappointed as I really wanted to make Aussies proud and perform well on my home turf.’
Meanwhile, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has spoken with his Serbian counterpart about Djokovic’s situation and explained Australia’s ‘non-discriminatory border policy’.
‘The PM had a constructive call with PM Brnabic this morning on Novak Djokovic,’ a statement from the Australian Prime Minister’s Office said. The PM explained our non-discriminatory border policy and its role in protecting Australia during the Covid-19 pandemic.’
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