MELBOURNE, May 22 (Reuters) - Bernard Tomic will play at next week’s French Open despite his off-court troubles if only to keep some momentum going for the grasscourt season ahead, Tennis Australia’s Todd Woodbridge said on Wednesday.
Tomic’s father John faced a charge of causing criminal injury in a Madrid court earlier this month after allegedly assaulting his son’s hitting partner Thomas Drouet.
Tomic senior says he acted in self defence and the court hearing has been suspended until October.
With a best showing of one second round appearance last year, the slow Roland Garros clay courts would hardly be ranked as Tomic’s favourite surface but Woodbridge said the 20-year-old would play despite withdrawing from last week’s Rome Masters.
“From the communication I’ve had with his father, he will be in Paris and playing,” Woodbridge, TA’s Professional Tennis Manager, told reporters at Melbourne Park.
”I think it’s very important that he plays there but whether he has a good result or not is probably unlikely given the surface and the circumstances.
“But he needs to keep playing coming into the grasscourt season - that’s where he’s played some great tennis before and if you don’t get that little bit of match play, it’s hard to get the momentum going.”
Although John Tomic has been suspended from ATP events pending the court case, Woodbridge said he remained the world number 59’s coach.
“He may not be on site but he’s still going to be giving the instructions, and I think that’s important for everyone to know, their relationship is still strong,” he said.
Woodbridge said he thought Tomic, whose best grand slam singles performance was a quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon in 2011, would be able to handle being in the public spotlight despite the recent troubles.
“He can handle that side of things - there’s been plenty of it so far,” he added.
“Winning a match would be great and if he gets a tough draw just playing a really tight, solid match. I think that’s his first goal.”
The French Open starts on May 26 and runs through until June 9. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O‘Brien)