Australia’s top-ranked player Bernard Tomic has clashed with security and staff over a practice court during his Australian Open build-up, a report said Monday.
The trouble-prone 23-year-old told recreational players to leave the court at the Royal Pines resort on Australia’s Gold Coast before verbally abusing intervening staff late last week, Brisbane’s Courier Mail reported.
A resort member said Tomic, who has earned millions of dollars from tennis and endorsements, then baulked at paying the Aus$20 (US$14) court hire fee.
“He (the court manager) continued to be polite and asked: ‘Who do I need to see to pay (the fee)?’” the member, who declined to be named, told the newspaper.
“That’s when Bernard gave him absolute verbal and foul language.”
He added that security was called to ask the world number 18 and his team to leave.
The player later apologised for his actions when approached by the newspaper.
“I’ve been so focused on preparing for all my matches, I know there’s no excuse for my behaviour,” he said.
“I didn’t mean to cause any trouble and I apologise to the club members. There seems to have been a bit of a misunderstanding and my practice was interrupted and I got a bit frustrated.”
Tomic is no stranger to controversy — or allegations of questioning court fees.
During an outburst directed at Tennis Australia in July, which led to his temporary dumping from Australia’s Davis Cup team, Tomic said he was mystified why he had to pay for using courts at Royal Pines.
The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season, starts at Melbourne Park next week.