Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Meet John Tomic, The World's Craziest Tennis Dad

Illustration for article titled Meet John Tomic, The Worlds Craziest Tennis Dad

John Tomic, father of Bernard Tomic, is a wacko. He fits nicely in tennis’s fine tradition of belligerent, obsessive, control-freak helicopter parents. Sometimes he yells at his son. Sometimes he head-butts his son’s hitting partner, knocking him unconscious.


That hitting partner, Thomas Drouet, has released a two-part “diary,” which is basically a few thousands words’ worth of exhaustive detail about what a terror John Tomic is. Besides belittling anyone who worked with his son, Tomic also would shoot his son with a BB gun (Drouet is French, and he wrote this in English):

JOHN buys a BB gun at a supermarket because he says he wants to go hunting. I laugh and say, “Okay, let’s buy it”. We go fishing, there is a big lake here and after practice we relax and fish then we just shoot dirt.
Then we come back home and Bernard says, “Who is the biggest man now, we are going to shoot each other”. He says it as a joke. John says I will do it, and he just pulls the gun and shoots him. He bleeds in his legs.


Dad showed him! And then there’s the time that John Tomic decided to punch his tennis player son:

John again says that practice is over and tells me to put my rackets in the bag. Bernard tells me to stay but John again tells me practice is over. I’m standing there not sure what to do. John tells Bernard if he doesn’t want to listen then he will not play. Bernard comes to the net and John is screaming at him and Bernard answers back and tells him again to sit on the bench and not talk.

John is furious and then — pow! One punch. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, right there just in front of me. Bernard doesn’t say anything but has tears in his eyes. John walks away and rests two rackets on an angle against the wall then snaps his foot down on them breaking them. Crack, crack — breaks both rackets and tells Bernard that he doesn’t play tournaments now for three weeks and tells me to cancel all the flight tickets. Bernard sees this and then breaks his racket. My God, these people, it’s crazy.

This was all shortly before John Tomic head-butted Drouet. The saddest part of this is that Bernard Tomic is super-talented. He’s ranked only 50th, and he hasn’t advanced beyond the fourth round of a Grand Slam in the past two years, but he was a great junior player who was widely expected to become a top-10 player. And he’s got a wild streak of his own—remember when he did some bizarre nude wrestling from a hotel balcony last year?—but maybe there’s an explanation for that.


Wait, no, maybe this is the saddest part:

I’m wondering what it’s all about but then he shows me a YouTube video of some man telling a story about how to become successful and self-improvement. It was like a motivational video. It was so honest a moment to see Bernard show me this. I tell Bernard he can do this but he has to work harder if he wants to be successful and at the top of his game. “It cannot just be on your talent,” I say as I tell him about my experiences playing with Rafael Nadal who so impressed me with his professionalism and rigour. He says “yeah you are right from now on I am going to practice every day, every day”. I am really happy. I think maybe we find the solution and he is evolving. After an hour and a half of really honest talk he suddenly says “Okay Thomas now we go and party together and drink a lot to cement and celebrate these good words and we can start again on a healthy basis.” I tell him “no, now we go to the arms of Morpheus, celebrate in Morpheus’ arms”, meaning we go to sleep.
Bernard just looks at me blankly and asks “who is Morpheus?”. He thinks it is a girl at the tournament.


Tomic would lose his next match in straight sets to journeyman Radek Stepanek. John Tomic has been banned from appearing at ATP tournaments since he knocked out Drouet, but he remains Bernard Tomic’s coach. Bernie says he misses him.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter