Bernard Tomic is no guarantee of an Australian Open qualifying wildcard despite surging over 500 places up the rankings in comeback bid
- Has had a strained relationship with Tennis Australia
- TA boss says this has no bearing on whether he gets a wildcard
- Is not ranked high enough to participate directly in the qualification
Australian Open boss Craig Tiley has refused to guarantee a wildcard for controversial former star Bernard Tomic as he risks missing out on the qualifying draw despite a meteoric rise up the rankings.
Whether fellow outspoken Australian Nick Kyrgios will appear in court in January also remains uncertain, but Tiley said it was too early to rule out a comeback after a debilitating knee injury.
Tomic, 31, has quietly rocketed up the world rankings over the past 18 months, reaching No. 278 after slipping to 825 last year.
The former Australian and US Open junior champion remained committed to the Challenger circuit throughout 2023, reaching the quarter-finals of the Brasilia Challenger last week.
But since 2018, he has made just two main draw appearances at the Australian Open, the last time in 2021, after making nine straight appearances since his debut in 2009.
Tomic has been working hard on the Challenger circuit and has risen over 500 places in the rankings over the past 18 months
Despite Tomic's dedication and improvement, Tennis Australia boss Craig Tilley will not guarantee him a wildcard into qualifying for the Australian Open
Nick Kyrgios is also in doubt for the Australian Open, after playing only one professional match in 2023
Tomic's relationship with Tennis Australia has been tense for years, but Tiley said this would have no bearing on whether he would receive a wildcard into Open qualifying.
“It's not so much about the relationship, it's about whether they deserve it,” Tiley said.
“The things we consider – the form of the player coming in, there is an age factor in some cases because do you want to give a younger player the opportunity versus someone who has been the journeyman for a while?
'We have not yet made the (wildcard) decisions in qualifying… we have already made quite a few decisions about the main draw, which we will announce in the coming days.'
Tiley said Kyrgios' availability for the grand slam was still a 'day-to-day' proposition as he recovered from a knee injury that limited him to one professional match in 2023.
“Like I said, we'll have Nick here in some form in January… hopefully it's to play because he's a crowd pleaser. We love watching Nick and we love having him around,” Tiley said.
'It's difficult for me to predict (whether he will play) … but it is always likely that someone will be ready to play because he or she wants to play in the Australian Open.'
Despite doubts over Kyrgios' fitness on the local front, Tiley said the return of stars such as Rafael Nadal, world champion Carlos Alacaraz and a significant contingent of Chinese players had boosted ticket sales by more than 10 percent compared to this time. last year.
The extra match day is expected to push attendance above the tournament record.