Tomic targets Grand Slam success within two years

by Steve Griffiths
AFP Asian Edition

Jun 29, 2011 22:24 EDT

Australian teenage sensation Bernard Tomic believes he can win a Grand Slam title within two years after his Wimbledon run came to an end in a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 quarter-final defeat to Novak Djokovic.

Tomic has long been earmarked as one of the sport's rising stars after winning the Australian and US Open junior titles.

But he struggled to live up to his potential for a while and nearly didn't make it to Wimbledon after coming within five points of losing his first match in the qualifying event.

All that has changed now and the 18-year-old leaves the All England Club widely regarded as a potential top-10 player.

Tomic, currently ranked 158th, claimed a host of impressive scalps including world number five Robin Soderling and 29th seed Nikolay Davydenko, en route to becoming the youngest male quarter-finalist here for 25 years.

"When you get results like this it tells you you're only a few matches away from winning a title. I know what my goals are now," Tomic said.

"I definitely think I have the game, and if I get the mental state, I can win a major in the next two years hopefully.

"It's just shown me what sort of player I am, how I can compare and play against these players. It's shown me what I'm capable of doing in the future.

"I've got a lot of work ahead of me but I definitely think I belong with these top guys."

Only Boris Becker, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg have made the Wimbledon last eight at a younger age than Tomic, who also became the first qualifier to reach the quarter-finals since Vladimir Voltchkov in 2000.

Taking his place in a list alongside legends like Becker, McEnroe and Borg has infused Tomic with confidence that the next time his name is mentioned in the same sentence it will be as a champion.

"To be mentioned amongst those people and those greats is truly good," he said.

"It's something that you really think and makes you wonder what can you be in life and how many tournaments and Grand Slams you can win."

Although Tomic's confidence has clearly gone through the roof as a result of his heroics, the teenager was realistic enough to realise the defeat against Djokovic showed there are still areas of his game that need to improve.

"Sooner or later I'll play a player like Novak or Rafa and Roger where I'll have a win, but until then I've got to improve," he said.

"Movement is one thing I can improve. Definitely I don't move as good as Novak.

"I can hit shots the way probably he can't in a way. But returns, I'd love to improve my returns. Obviously that would pressure the opponent more."

Tomic had his chances to upset the odds against Djokovic, especially when he led 3-1 in the third set, but the Australian had no complaints after his battling effort.

"I'm proud of myself. I think I gave it as much as I could. I wasn't too far off, but he's a better player than me at this stage," Tomic said.

If he needed more reassurance that his time will come, Tomic only had to heed the words of Croatia's Goran Ivanisevic, who won Wimbledon in 2001 at the 14th attempt.

Ivanisevic was supporting Tomic from the stands and the teenager revealed he spoke to him after the match.

"He said, 'Look, if you don't win it this time, you'll win it one day'," Tomic said.

Source: AFP Asian Edition


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