(Editor’s Note: After this article was published, Kyrgios withdrew from the French Open due to injury.)
Australians Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios will face off in the opening round of this year’s French Open. This match promises to be a blockbuster affair and will mark the first time the pair have met at the ATP level. Kyrgios will go into the clash as the hot favourite, but don’t write off the unpredictable Tomic, who has shown brilliant form in qualifying for the Grand Slam tournament.
Tomic and Kyrgios are two of the most controversial figures in the sport of tennis. Tomic’s media outbursts and Kyrgios’s fiery on-court temper have landed the pair in hot water on many occasions. Tomic and Kyrgios’s careers have been polar opposites as of late – while Tomic’s ranking plummets, Kyrgios’s rises. Kyrgios is considered one of the best young players on tour, while the same cannot be said about Tomic, at least not anymore.
The pair have also had very different lead-ins to the second Grand Slam of the year. Kyrgios, who is battling an elbow injury, has not played a singles match in six weeks. The right-hander did however win a doubles title, partnering Jack Sock in Lyon last week, which will give him a much-needed confidence boost. Tomic, on the other hand, has shown very strong form on clay. The 25-year-old finished runner-up at Aix en Provence, an ATP Challenger event, before commencing his French Open campaign with three straight-sets wins in qualifying.
Tomic will be looking for his first main draw Grand Slam win since the 2017 Australian Open. Tomic failed to qualify for the Australian Open earlier this year which seemed to break the spirit of the young Australian. Soon after the defeat, Tomic was shipped off to the African jungle to participate in the Australian reality TV show ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here’. The former Wimbledon quarterfinalist only lasted a few days out in the elements, before coming to the conclusion that his time would be better spent on tennis.
Tomic’s recent breakdown has left a sour taste in the mouths of many tennis fans around the world. It seems like little can be done to restore the reputation of the former teen prodigy. Even if Tomic is able to triumph over his fellow countryman, the public opinion will remain overwhelmingly negative. Tomic’s tennis career is far from over and it will be interesting to see if the resurgent Australian can return to the top echelon of the game.