Australian Open 2012: Bernard Tomic, Will He Make History?

Carlos TorresContributor IJanuary 21, 2012

What would you say about an unseeded player that would win the 2012 Australian Open, and on his way he would take out the top three seeds in the tournament?

That would be like climbing Mount Everest three times.

And that is exactly what 19-year-old Australian Bernard Tomic would be in-line to achieve, should he be able to win the remainder of his matches at the Australian Open.

Of course, Novak Djokovic has to make it to the finals, and Rafael Nadal to the semifinals, but that is one very likely proposition.

But Tomic's performance has been good enough so far to make you wonder if he could pull it off, should all the pieces fall into place.

In itself, that would be history in the making, I can't recall this—defeating the top three seed at a grand slam—being done before.

What comes to mind is this happening last year, but in the NFL. The Green Bay Packers, on their way to winning the Super Bowl, took out No. 3 Philadelphia, then top-ranked Atlanta and finally, No. 2 Chicago.

In tennis for certain, it would be the story for years to come. The tournament where one player, single-handily took the Australian Open by storm taking out legends Federer, Nadal, and the then-king Djokovic.

Right now, what we have seen on the radar from Tomic at the Australian Open is like a minor storm developing. And that has the potential to reach hurricane status, and the conditions are favorable for its development.

The elements that Tomic is developing, are the mental toughness and confidence that he can take anybody, on any given adverse situation.

He has already come from two sets down to 22nd seed, Spain's Fernando Verdasco, in the first round, and dropped the first set against Sam Querrey in the second round match.

In his third round match, Tomic had to go five sets before defeating 13th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov—who had beaten him the previous three times they played.

Right now, you could say that, besides mad skills, Tomic has a couple of things working to his advantage:

First, the home-crowd advantage. He has them buzzing about his performances and they are going to rally behind him on every single match—unless Rod Laver, Roy Emerson or Ken Rosewall are on the other side of the net.

And second, he is just too naive to know better. And by this, I mean it in a sports sense. He is still riding this big thrill and experience, and he will keep doing it until he realizes what really is going on.

That would come with his first loss.

Tomic is far from a finish product, and the truth is that beating either Federer, Nadal or Djokovic in a slam is a feat in itself. And it would take a lot more effort, both mentally and physically, than he has ever faced before to beat all three in the tournament.

And he might want to talk to Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine. Learning some Conga rhythm wouldn't hurt, one-two-three and let go.

That way he will keep in mind the numbers he might be facing—and having to defeat—next.

Tomic has the first Everest-like challenge up next, when he faces his idol, the third-seed Roger Federer.

His upcoming match with Fed-Ex would be their second meeting. The first came on the fourth rubber at last year's Davis Cup tie between Australia and Switzerland at Royal Sydney on grass courts.

Federer won 6-2, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.

Tomic also has already faced Nadal and Djokovic before. He lost to Nadal in the third round of last year's Australian Open, 6-2, 7-5, 6-3.

And against Djokovic, he has an even record 1-1. They met at the AAMI Classic in 2010, where Tomic won 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. And then at Wimbledon last year, where Djokovic exacted revenge by winning 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

And let's not forget the fact that in the quarterfinals, he most likely would have to face former US Open Champ and 11th seed, Juan Martin Del Potro; maybe the fifth best player in the tournament—and who is getting back to his best form.

Right now, Tomic's career is on the rise.

Two years ago at the Australian Open, he was ranked 289th in the world. Last year, he was up to 199th, and this year he is the top Australian ranked player in the world, at 38th.

He is also the biggest promise Australian tennis has, and they are just enjoying the ride while it lasts.

When Tomic faces Federer on Saturday, Federer might want to take a look back 11 years ago at Wimbledon.

When Federer, then referred to as the 19-year-old Swiss Prodigy, defeated his boyhood idol Pete Sampras in the fourth round in an epic five-set match.

Back then, a lot of people have to admit it came as somewhat of a shocker, but it was the prelude of  better things to come for Federer. It could happen for Tomic.

I can also recall, a lot earlier, another young prodigy facing his boyhood idol in a major. At the fourth round of the 1988 US Open, when then 18-year-old Andre Agassi defeated the 36-year-old Jimmy Connors.

Given that in very different circumstances, as Connors was far removed from his best days as a player, but Agassi was facing Connors and the crowd support against him.

But you might want to sit down and watch Tomic face Federer. It will be a great match, no matter whether Tomic breaks through or falls short.

You might also want to keep watching, just to make sure you are watching if (or when) Tomic makes history by completing the best run at a grand slam in tennis history.

I will surely be watching.



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