Tomic’s father charged with assault

The father of Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic has been
charged with assaulting his son’s hitting partner after allegedly
headbutting Thomas Drouet ahead of this week’s Madrid Open.

A Madrid court said Monday that John Tomic, who is also his
son’s coach, disputed the charges and will face trial on May
14.

Drouet, of Monaco, told Australian newspaper the Herald Sun that
John Tomic headbutted him on Saturday during a scuffle outside the
player hotel. Drouet said he has been verbally abused for months by
the elder Tomic and that the two had been arguing over whether he
should continue to get paid as a training partner.

”He spat in my face, then walked away, and said he wouldn’t pay
me anymore,” Drouet was quoted as saying. ”I said, `OK, John, you
are a real man. That’s fine. Bernard will pay me’. And he
headbutted me.”

Drouet added that ”every day he treat me like a dog for six
months, with disrespect and then this.”

The newspaper published pictures on its website of Drouet with
his nose heavily bandaged and wearing a neck brace.

At a hearing Monday, the court said it could not hold an
immediate trial because John Tomic disputed the facts laid out by
the prosecution. Under Spanish law, a speedy trial can be held if
both sides agree on the facts and can lead to reduced
penalties.

Tennis Australia said it was working with the ATP tour in
investigating the incident.

The 53rd-ranked Tomic lost in straight sets to Radek Stepanek in
the first round on Sunday. The 20-year-old Tomic has been seen as
Australia’s most promising player, but his short career has been
filled with controversy.

His year got off a good start with a win over No. 1-ranked Novak
Djokovic at the Hopman Cup and his first ATP tournament victory at
the Sydney International.

However, it came at a time when he had a falling out with Davis
Cup captain Pat Rafter, who suspended Tomic from playing in
Australia’s opening match of the year against Taiwan. Tomic has
since returned to the Australian team and won two matches in
Australia’s second-round Asia Oceania victory over Uzbekistan in
April.

In March, Tomic lost 6-3, 6-1 to Andy Murray at Miami and was
jeered by spectators for his lackluster performance as his record
fell to 2-15 against top 10 opponents.

Rafter had criticized Tomic when the Australian faced
accusations at the U.S. Open in September that he ”tanked,” or
deliberately lost, a match against American Andy Roddick.

In November, Tomic was fined $1,750 and put on a 12-month
good-behavior bond after facing a Gold Coast court over four
driving charges resulting from twice being stopped by police in
January.

In late October, police were called to a high-rise apartment
building in the Australian resort city of Surfers Paradise after
residents saw two men, one of them naked, wrestling and fighting in
a hot tub on the balcony. One of the men was later identified as
Tomic.