Reports of a horrible incident between John Tomic and Bernard Tomic’s hitting partner, Thomas Drouet, surfaced yesterday and today.
Per the Herald Sun:
[Drouet] said things came to a head after Tomic Sr demanded Drouet buy him a carton of milk as they were waiting to go to the airport.
He said he replied that he didn’t have time.
Tensions were already high, he said. He said he saw Tomic Sr punch Bernard in the mouth during a practice session last Tuesday, leaving the player in tears.
He said that as they were about to board a flight, Tomic Sr again began abusing him, and then sacked him, saying he would not be paid; but Bernard insisted he take the flight with them.
Drouet said outside the Madrid hotel Tomic Sr asked him to walk with him.
“After 100m or something like this he was looking around and then he started again. I thought he was going to say sorry for the verbal abuse, but no.
“He spat in my face, then walked away, and said he wouldn’t pay me any more.
“I said, ‘OK, John, you are a real man. That’s fine. Bernard will pay me’.
“And he headbutted me.
“Every day he treat me like a dog for six months, with disrespect and then this. But he need to be off the ATP (tour).”
Amy: Hearing about this incident makes me sick. The first reaction is obviously concern for Drouet, and hopefully he will make a full recovery from the injuries he sustained.
The second and even more disturbing part of this is that this attack on Drouet apparently arose from John Tomic hitting his son during a practice at Monte-Carlo.
The Tomic father-son relationship has already been exposed as toxic in so many other ways before, but the physically abusive aspect is not something we’ve heard reported in the media until now. Unfortunately, if this escalated to the point where it became public, it’s probably not the first or only time it’s happened. Tennis Australia has reportedly tried to remove John Tomic as Bernard’s coach on numerous occasions, and it’s not difficult to understand why.
Putting tennis aside, it’s hard to watch a 20-year-old’s life become derailed by the actions of his father. I hope Bernard gets whatever help he needs. And I hope despite some silly things he’s done, the tennis community rallies around him. I’ve only talked with him on a very superficial level, but he couldn’t have been more kind and pleasant when I spoke with him for a one-on-one interview just a few weeks ago.
I don’t know what kind of support system Bernard has in his life, but I hope there are people who will be there for him and do their best to encourage him to break ties with his abusive father. It’s probably one of the most difficult things for a young person to walk away from an abusive parental relationship. And let’s not forget about Sara Tomic, Bernard’s 15-year-old sister, who is also an aspiring young tennis player, likely dealing with similar circumstances.
It’s a terrible situation all around, and I hope this incident acts as a catalyst for things to change for the better.
Juan Jose: There’s always an opportunity within even the most serious crisis, and here there is an obvious one: this event might be the one that finally splits Bernard Tomic from his father. And the ATP should be the one serving as the helping hand here.
If Tomic Sr. is responsible for the terrible injuries suffered by Drouet, the ATP should move swiftly and issue a lifetime ban against John Tomic. This is an opportunity for the ATP to show that they care equally for a high profile prospect, like Bernard Tomic, as well as for a hitting partner, like Thomas Drouet. Both deserve protection and support from their governing body. The ATP has an important role to play here, and I would argue that they also have a duty.
Splitting from his father will probably be difficult for Bernard – relationships between an abusive parent and their children are often difficult to break, and Bernard is merely 20 years old. Not only that, but he’s a 20-year-old who has lived his life under his father’s authoritarian regime. Breaking those links will take some time, and I hope the ATP and Tennis Australia provide Bernard with the resources and support he needs during this period.
However, the coaching link should be broken with that hypothetical ATP lifetime ban. After all, what good is a coach if he can’t go to tournaments with you? And I’m willing to bet that there won’t be a shortage of high profile and adequate candidates to fill the void.
I can’t stop thinking, though, that none of the details (John Tomic abusing Bernard physically and then injuring a fellow tennis pro) are surprising. That’s the saddest part of all, isn’t it?
Lindsay: I want to hug Bernard Tomic. That is a statement I never thought I would say.
But in all seriousness, this is just heartbreaking. It’s always been known that John Tomic is a bully, but the fact that it has gotten to the point of physical violence is just wrong on so many levels.
I’m honestly at a loss for words after reading Drouet’s account. This is absolutely, positively, despicable behavior that there has to be a zero tolerance policy for from the ATP, ITF, and Tennis Australia. The psychological complexities between a parent and a child relationship are, of course, extremely delicate to navigate, but this is professional tennis and the safety of the players, practice partners, lines judges, officials, and everyone involved has to be the top priority.
I hope that the tennis organizations do not hide behind the law in this case, whichever way the court case and legal battles turn out in this particular case. (For the record, John Tomic is already claiming that he head-butted Drouet in self-defense. So.)
This is inexcusable. This is disgusting. This is horrendous. I never want to see John Tomic with a credential badge at a tennis tournament again.
And I hope that Bernard Tomic will get the help and support he needs to get through this, and that the media will give him some space as he’s dealing. Let’s step in to protect him, provide him with the resources to deal, and step away and let him cope outside of the spotlight.