Tomic was returning to tournament play for the
first time since his first round loss at Wimbledon in July,
after which he said he was bored with tennis and had played at
50 percent for much of his career.
The 24-year-old started brightly by taking the first set off the
19th seed on Monday but his lack of match fitness told as,
despite frequent treatment from the trainer, he lost the next
three to bow out at the first hurdle in a third straight grand
Having already plummeted from 39 to 146 in the rankings since
Wimbledon, Tomic now faces the very real prospect of being
forced to request a wild card from Tennis Australia for his home
grand slam in Melbourne in January.
In typically candid comments afterwards, Tomic said he had his
motivation back after his break but still felt "trapped" in the
sport he has played fulltime since he was a child, given his
lack of other options to fund his lifestyle.
"I mean, itís tough. Everyone has their own work, their own job
and itís not like I can go and start real estate or something,
restaurants. Iíve got no idea about that," he told the
Australian Associated Press.
"Yes, I can afford to do those things, but Iíve got no idea. My
jobís only to play tennis and itís all I know. Iím not going to
finish a doctorís degree. Iím not the smartest person in the
Tomic's failure to fulfill his huge potential has been a matter
of great frustration to his compatriots, and his U.S. Open
appearances have featured almost as many controversies as
He bowed out in first round last year after a foul-mouthed rant
at a heckler in the crowd, and was given the unflattering
nickname of "Tomic the Tank Engine" after his second round
capitulation against Andy Roddick in 2012.
Tennis Australia head of performance Wally Masur warned him
pre-tournament to be prepared for the grind of the minor tours
if he fails to win a match at the U.S. Open.
Tomic, though, reminded journalists he had battled back from a
similarly low ranking after double hip surgery in 2014.
"Itís no sort of threat for me," he added. "I've been in this
position before and I managed to turn it around quickly.
"Itís about being healthy the next six months to a year."
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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