Tomic stripped of Wimbledon prize money for tanking

Australia's Bernard Tomic returns against France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga during their men's singles first round match on the second day of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 2, 2019. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

Australia's Bernard Tomic returns against France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga during their men's singles first round match on the second day of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 2, 2019. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

The controversial Australian lost in just 58 minutes to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Tuesday. Was it deliberate?

Australia’s Bernard Tomic was stripped of his entire £45,000 ($56,600) Wimbledon prize money on Thursday for tanking his first round match which was over in just 58 minutes, officials announced.

The controversial Tomic, who has been accused of not trying previously in his career, lost 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 to France’s Jo-Wifried Tsonga on Tuesday.

“It is the opinion of the referee that the performance of Bernard Tomic in his first round match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga did not meet the required professional standards,” said a statement by the All England Club.

“Therefore he has been fined the maximum amount of £45,000 which will be deducted from prize money.”

The best-of-five-sets match against Tsonga was the shortest at the tournament and the second quickest overall after Elise Mertens’ 48-minute win over Fiona Ferro in the best-of-three women’s event.

“I think I played as best as I could. It’s just I played terrible,” said the world number 96 Tomic, who was a top 20 player in 2011 when he reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

Since then, he has often been dubbed ‘Tomic the tank engine’ by a critical Australian media.

When he was asked if he was happy with the effort he was making on court at Wimbledon, he snapped: “Next question please.”

Tomic has run foul of the Wimbledon authorities in the past.

Two years ago, he was fined after admitting he had faked an injury and complained of being bored in defeat to Germany’s Mischa Zverev.

His racquet sponsor Head dropped him as a client.

At the French Open this year, Tomic slumped to a straight-sets first round loss to Taylor Fritz in just 88 minutes.

Tomic has never been far from controversy.

Earlier this year, the head of Tennis Australia Craig Tiley described Tomic as “bad for the culture of Australian tennis”.

In 2015, he was arrested in Miami after a late-night penthouse party while, in 2018, he boasted about his income.

“I just count money, that’s all I do. I count my millions,” he said after failing to get through qualifying at the Australian Open.

At the US Open in 2017, he told journalists: “I’m not the smartest person in the world.”

Tomic is not be the first player to be fined for alleged lack of effort in recent weeks.

America’s Anna Tatishvili was stripped of her first round prize money at Roland Garros for “not playing at a professional standard”.

She lost to Greece’s 33rd-ranked Maria Sakkari, 6-0, 6-1 in 55 minutes, only three minutes fewer than Tomic who had played a set more.

Tatishvili had returned to competition following a 31-month absence due to a serious ankle injury and multiple surgeries.

She is appealing the ruling, claiming she is the victim of discrimination.

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