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Roger that - Tomic to heed Fed's advice
Darren Walton
15:47 AEST Sun Jan 20 2013

Bernard Tomic is finally embracing Roger Federer's challenge to live up to his undoubted potential after once again having his Australian summer ended by the Swiss master.

A pep talk in 2011 from Federer - at the behest of Australian Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter - and then some more sage advice from the 17-time grand slam winner after last year's Open fell on deaf ears as Tomic plummeted outside the top 50 in 2012.

But after bringing out the brilliant best in Federer in a high-quality third-round Open shootout on Saturday night, Tomic believes he has turned the corner and is at last ready to kick on.

"Look, only he beat me," Tomic said after having his 10-match winning streak snapped at Melbourne Park.

"I take that as something I learned a lot. He stopped me, he beat me. Full credit to him. He was the best player and greatest of all time. I'm going to continue to work hard.

"It's just a matter of time when I get up to the big group of boys in the top 10. I've got to believe and do the things that I was doing the last few weeks.

"I know I'm going to be in there with this attitude. I've been playing amazing tennis."

But Federer also challenged Tomic to deliver on the game's smaller stages after humbling the then 19-year-old for the loss of just eight games in Melbourne last summer.

Tomic then failed to win another match against a top-50 rival for the rest of 2012 as he slid from a career-high No.27 in the world to 64th in the rankings.

"I remember those words. I didn't quite do it after I left here," Tomic said.

"But I've got the right goal, the mindset to do what it is I need to do. I'm going to sit down and have my rest time, train, get ready for each tournament I play, like I did here, like I did last week and the week before.

"It's a challenge, but I've committed to myself I'm up for it. I can't wait for the next tournament to start."

Grappling with Tomic's unprofessional approach, Rafter sounded out Federer after Switzerland's Davis Cup playoff win over Australia in Sydney in September 2011.

"Pat asked me if I could give any advice to Bernard," Federer said.

"I just spoke to Bernard for five or 10 minutes. I gave him what I thought he should improve on. Things didn't go better for him after that.

"But maybe deep down he does listen and does want to improve.

"It's important he listens to his team and does the best for himself and for his country."

From the other side of the net Federer said it was obvious Tomic had improved, saying his weight of shot was much heavier than 12 months ago.

"I've never seen him play offensive tennis against me in the past," he said.

"So now it's just a matter for him to keep it up. That's the proof he's the much improved player.

"But it's only over time that you're going to see. He's had a great run now. I hope he knows what he needs to do the next few months, weeks, and years ahead.

"It isn't always a two-month tour. We play 10, 11 months of the year."


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