Australian tennis great John Fitzgerald has responded to Bernard Tomic’s “worst commentator ever” remark, saying the controversial Aussie "probably didn't enjoy" hearing his pointed criticism.
Fitzgerald spoke at length about his concerns over Tomic’s fitness while commentating during his straight sets loss to Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the Australian Open, with Tomic later firing back during the post-match media conference.
Fitzgerald expressed sympathy for Tomic’s current situation and hoped he would increase his fitness base enough so he can withstand the rigours of Grand Slam tennis.
“(The reaction to the comments was) interesting wasn’t it, I hope Bernie is OK and hope he can get a bit fitter and come back,” he said on Sportsday.
“He’s a funny guy in a lot of ways, he tries to make a few of the boys laugh so I’m sure there’s a bit of tongue in cheek.
“He probably didn’t enjoy hearing that people watching feel he didn’t try hard enough. There’s some question marks – he has a knee that’s an issue and I believe that’s genuine.
“You have to be aerobically tough as nails to play five sets here, it wasn’t even that hot (on Wednesday). You have to be in great shape and I just don’t think he’s had enough tennis under his belt.
“I was a bit critical at the end, it wasn’t the effort I want to see. I feel for him though, he’s 28 and doesn’t have as much time left as he may think.
“I hope that he gets the best out of himself for the rest of his career.”
While Tomic is out of the Australian Open, both Alex De Minaur and Ash Barty progressed to the third round at Melbourne Park on Thursday.
Nick Kyrgios’ clash against third seed and US Open champion Dominic Thiem headlines a bumper day five, with Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams also all in action on Friday.