Bernard Tomic gets real on what caused him to suffer depression for several years

Tomic battled mental health struggles for a couple of years but now is in a much better spot.

by Dzevad Mesic
Bernard Tomic gets real on what caused him to suffer depression for several years
© Getty Images Sport - Daniel Pockett

Bernard Tomic blames tennis being "a very isolated sport" for experiencing mental health struggles for a couple of years but hopes he can now have a strong couple of seasons and return to where he once was. 

Tomic, who turned 31 in October, has been on the Tour for a really long time already, having turned pro in 2008. After a very successful junior career, Tomic also started making notable results early in his career and that led to many tipping the Australian to win multiple Grand Slams and reach the world No. 1 spot one day. 

But Tomic - who made his first Grand Slam quarterfinal as an 18-year-old qualifier at 2011 Wimbledon - started to struggle with motivation and his commitment and dedication for the game were often questioned. While Tomic managed to win a couple of ATP titles and reach a career-high ranking of No. 17 in the world at the age of 23, many still felt that he could have done a lot more. 

Then, Tomic's slump started around the 2017 season as during that time it became clear that the Australian was struggling heavily with his motivation for the game. While appearing on the Australian reality TV show "I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here" in 2018, Tomic for the first time openly admitted that he was battling "depression."

"The tour is very difficult. Tennis is a very isolated sport. It is very tough mentally and you are on your own traveling," Tomic told Sportskeeda.

"You are not playing a team sport like soccer or basketball. You are on your own. There's a lot of travel involved and a lot of time is spent alone. You need to figure out how to feel mentally good and when to recharge the batteries.

"I also struggled for three to four years. I've managed to turn it around and feel better mentally. When you travel from a young age for many many years, it really can get to you mentally. 

"The sport can really drain you. You need to figure out what's best for you mentally and always find a way to be positive and move forward. In tennis, you need to be mentally in a good state."

Bernard Tomic
Bernard Tomic© Getty Images Sport - Adam Pretty

Tomic believes a top-100 return is certainly a possibility 

This past week, Tomic entered the week ranked at No. 273 in the world and competed at the Bengaluru Challenger. In Bengaluru, Tomic had to play in the qualifying event - and he won two qualifying matches to make the main draw - before disappointingly losing the match after being up by a set as Tristan Boyer claimed a 3-6 6-3 6-3 comeback win over the Australian. 

Although Tomic didn't make a deep Bengaluru run, he still improved six spots on this updated ATP rankings list and is now ranked at No. 267 in the world. While Tomic is still far away from his career-high ranking of No. 17 in the world, he has been a steady progress in the rankings over the last few years. 

Tomic, who hasn't been ranked inside the top-100 since 2019 August, found himself ranked at No. 825 in the world at one point during the 2022 season. While Tomic is now 31, he insists this is the best he has felt in years and believes that a top-100 return is a real possibility.

"In around September 2022, I was in the 800s in the rankings. For the last year and a half, I have played pretty well to get back," Tomic said.

"I played a lot of matches. I missed a lot of tennis for three years. I was not playing that much. And my physical fitness went down. It took me a little bit of time to get into rhythm. But now, I'm playing pretty good. But I still need to play a little bit better to get back to the top.

"I feel like I can play really well, the next couple of years, especially given my style of play. I don't use up a lot of energy in the way I play. 

"So I think the top 100 is very achievable for me. Even top 50. But still you need to stay healthy, do the right things. This next year will be interesting. As long as I stay healthy and keep practicing, I think I should be okay, let's see."

Bernard Tomic
Bernard Tomic© Getty Images Sport - Robert Prezioso

Tomic now competing at the Pune Challenger

After competing in Challenger tournaments in Chennai and Bengaluru, Tomic stayed in India as he is now trying to earn a main draw place at the Pune Challenger. On Sunday, Tomic ousted Aditya Vishal Balsekar 6-3 6-1 in the Pune qualifying first round and got himself a win away from making the Pune main draw. 

Against Vishal Balsekar, Tomic claimed an early break and opened a 3-0 lead before getting broken back in the fifth game. However, Tomic managed to keep his focus after blowing an early break as the Australian broke the Indian again in the eighth game before serving out for the first set in the following game.

After losing the first set, Vishal Balsekar managed to serve out the opening game of the set Then, Tomic won the next six games to complete a dominant two-set win in style and set up a Pune qualifying final round against Vadym Ursu. 

Bernard Tomic
Bernard Tomic© Getty Images Sport - Graham Denholm

For Tomic, reaching the Pune main draw and then making a deep run would help the Australian further improve his ranking position and confidence and belief that he can return to his old form.

Bernard Tomic