TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN QUALIFYINGA leading sports psychologist says Bernard Tomic may have had a breakthrough during his maligned reality TV show appearance and has a chance to follow Nick Kyrgios’ road to redemption.
But Jeff Bond said Tomic must seek professional help if he is to turn his life around.
Tomic’s controversial stint on Ten Network’s “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here” ended when the former world No.17 tennis star cut short his stay after three nights, citing depression.
Tomic vowed to resume tennis training as soon as he returned to from the African jungle, saying he regretted his TV stint.
NRL star Benji Marshall promptly reached out to Tomic after his TV exit, posting a video of support and leaving the door open for advice after feeling sorry for the fallen star.
But national team captain Lleyton Hewitt on Tuesday said he doubted whether Tomic would play Davis Cup again after the former prodigy told the network couldn’t win without him.
Bond, who worked with Pat Cash ahead of his 1987 Wimbledon triumph, hoped the TV stint had provided an epiphany for Tomic, helping him rediscover his love for tennis.
Bond said the stage was set for Tomic to follow a similar path to former bad boy Kyrgios who was embraced by the public during his n Open fourth round campaign just 12 months after being booed on court.
“I think something has happened,” Bond told AAP.
“Whether it was something that occurred on the show or the criticism he has received from people like Lleyton – it can be the most innocuous thing that will cause someone to turn the corner in their lives.
“Same thing with Kyrgios. Suddenly he seemed to find a better direction, then received positive reinforcement (from public) and continued to do it.
“Maybe Bernard will do the same thing.
“You don’t like seeing anyone in a situation like this – he has painted himself in a corner and it would be nice to see him get out of it.”
But Bond warned Tomic would find himself back in the same dark place if he did not speak to a professional, especially after citing depression on the TV show.
“I am generally concerned when anyone says they are depressed,” he said.
“I hope he seeks out a professional to run his thinking by and get some objective feedback, someone he trusts so he can take advantage of this new approach.
“Otherwise the habits that have been built up over the past decade will be strong enough for him to find himself in the same place and nothing changes.”
Marshall has already offered help.
“I feel sorry for him,” Marshall told sports social website 20FOUR.
“We need to get around our athletes and help out where we can because times do get tough under the spotlight – I know, I’ve been there.
“I don’t know Bernard but I am always there if he needs to talk.”
n readers seeking support and information about depression can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.