MELBOURNE, March 23 (Reuters) - Australia’s bad boy of tennis Bernard Tomic has been re-instated into the Davis Cup team after being booted out last year for a perceived lack of commitment.
The lanky 20-year-old will join the team for its Asia/ Oceania group tie in Uzbekistan next month as Australia bid for a place in the World Group playoffs later this year, Fairfax newspapers reported on Saturday.
Tomic, rated a prodigious talent and a future top-10 player by many tennis pundits, was kicked out of the team after earning the nick-name ‘Tomic the Tank Engine’ for appearing to ‘tank’ - or not try hard enough - in a series of losing matches in the second half of the year.
Tomic, who has also had a number of brushes with Australian police for speeding in his sportscar near his Gold Coast home, was suspended for the team’s win over Taiwan last month and raised the tension with Rafter by saying he would subsequently rule himself out of their following tie.
The pair had mended fences, however, and world number 45 Tomic said he would join the team for a training camp in Munich following the Miami Masters, where he advanced to the second round on Thursday with a win over France’s Marc Gicquel.
“(Uzbekistan‘s) not going to be a pretty place but I‘m looking forward to it,” News Ltd quoted Tomic as saying.
“We have got a good team now ... I think we should win and Davis Cup is back on the roll for me and I‘m going to try my heart out when it comes.”
Tomic is expected to vie with ageing former world number one Lleyton Hewitt and 51st-ranked Marinko Matosevic for one of the singles berths on the team for the April 5-7 tie against Uzbekistan in Namangan.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Greg Stutchbury