Bernard Tomic insisted he was not distracted by the presence of his controversial father as the Australian suffered a first-round exit at Queen’s Club on Tuesday, losing 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/4) against Germany’s Benjamin Becker.
Tennis authorities gave John Tomic a worldwide ban from watching his son’s matches in person after he was charged by Spanish police for allegedly assaulting his son’s French hitting partner, Thomas Drouet, during the Madrid Masters earlier this year.
Drouet suffered a broken nose and back injuries after being allegedly headbutted and Tomic senior is due in a Madrid court in October in relation to the assault allegations.
Tomic’s father was told to stay away from the recent French Open and security guards were issued instructions to bar him from entering.
However, although Queen’s officials upheld the ATP ban, they agreed to let him pay for a spectator ticket for his son’s first-round match on the proviso that he agreed to behave himself.
There were no controversial antics from Tomic senior, but his 20-year-old son, struggling with a leg injury of late, was unable to end his poor recent run.
Tomic’s ranking has dropped to 63rd after a dismal run, which has seen him win just two of his past eight matches.
He had not been past the second round of any tournament since reaching the quarter-finals in Marseille in February and this was a dispiriting preparation for Wimbledon, which begins in less than two weeks.
Yet he said: “I didn’t see my father, to be honest. Funny you spotted him and I didn’t. That’s interesting. I expected him to be here. I knew he was at my hotel. I saw him in the morning. I had breakfast with him. It wasn’t really something I was focusing on.”
“I knew it was going to be a tough match,” he said. “Becker had more matches than me on grass. He had been playing really well, made the final of the challenger last week. He was a dangerous player. It was a tough tiebreak in the end, but I’m happy the way I played. I think it was a good match for my first match on grass and especially back from my injury.”
Play was severely disrupted by rain for most of the day and Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt had his second-round clash with Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov postponed.
Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro mounted an impressive fightback as he defeated Belgian veteran Xavier Malisse 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 7-5.
Del Potro, seeded third, managed to recover from a break down in the final set and then battled back from 0-40 down at 5-5, before securing a gritty win as darkness closed in.
Sam Querrey, a surprise winner of Queen’s in 2010, collected his 200th ATP Tour win as he defeated Aljaz Bendene 7-6 (13/11), 5-7, 7-6 (7/5) in his second-round tie to set up a last 16 meeting with Hewitt or Dimitrov.
France’s Nicolas Mahut, a former Queen’s runner-up, crushed American Rhyne Williams 6-3, 6-2 to earn a second-round rematch with top seed Andy Murray.
Mahut, playing his first match since a tearful defeat in the French Open doubles final last week, sprang a surprise when he knocked out Murray at the same stage at Queen’s last year.