Tomic’s hitting partner calls for father ban

The father of Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic was barred

Tuesday from being accredited to upcoming ATP events pending an

investigation into allegations that he assaulted his son’s training

partner ahead of this week’s Madrid Open.

John Tomic was charged with assault after allegedly head-butting

the hitting partner, Thomas Drouet, on Saturday outside the player

hotel in Madrid.

”Following last week’s incident in Madrid concerning John

Tomic, and the ensuing investigation, Mr. Tomic’s credential

privileges have been suspended at all ATP tournaments until further

notice,” the men’s tour said in a statement. ”The ATP’s

investigation into this incident remains on-going.”

Drouet had called for the elder Tomic to be banned from all tour

events in an interview published in Tuesday’s issue of French

sports daily L’Equipe.

”I want to help Bernard forbid his father from having access to

tournaments,” Drouet said. ”I want him to be banned from the ATP

and the WTA.

”He is a dangerous person, who has nothing to do in this sport

of gentlemen.”

A Madrid court said Monday that John Tomic disputed the charges

and will face trial May 14.

Drouet, of Monaco, also said he saw the elder Tomic hit his son

last week.

”John hit his son on the court, while we were training in

Monaco,” Drouet said. ”He punched him in the face. Blood was

dripping from his mouth onto the court. Tuesday, he attacks his

son, Saturday me, what’s next?”

It is not the first time John Tomic has reacted violently toward

his son, according to Drouet.

”I already saw John punch his son when I was in their house in

Australia in January,” he said. ”He mistreated him physically. I

know it because I heard a big noise in the room next door. It was

pretty clear.”

Drouet said the incident in Madrid stemmed from an earlier

altercation at Nice airport when John Tomic screamed him for not

getting some milk. Drouet said he yelled back, and that Tomic

replied: ”Get out of my way. If not, I will punch your head

in.”

”John canceled my ticket, then went to tell Bernard that I had

pushed him in front of the house this morning,” Drouet said.

”Bernard told his dad, `You are lying, I believe Thomas. He’s

coming to Madrid with me.”’

Drouet described the incident at the Madrid hotel, saying John

Tomic led him to an isolated place to talk before spitting in his

face.

”I think he was waiting for me to hit first,” he said. ”I

didn’t move. And then, he gave me a big head-butt. I collapsed. I

called one time for help, I was a bit convulsed and I lost

consciousness.

”It’s Josko (the team physio), who, seeing John return alone,

got worried. He found me on the ground covered in blood. John left

me like that. On the ground, bloodied and unconscious.”

L’Equipe published a photo of Drouet with his nose heavily

bandaged and wearing a neck brace.

John Tomic has claimed he was acting in self-defense. Drouet

said that at Monday’s hearing, Tomic’s lawyer came to him and said

”he admits everything.” But when Tomic found out that Drouet

would demand more than the $4,000 permitted under that

jurisdiction, ”John said he was innocent. He’s insane. A perverse

manipulator.”

Bernard Tomic, who lost in straight sets to Radek Stepanek on

Sunday, reportedly said he had been with his physical trainer at

the time of the incident and had seen or heard nothing.

According to Drouet, Bernard Tomic came to see him and

apologized, saying his father ”went too far.”

Drouet also claimed John Tomic forced him to do all kinds of

work which had nothing to do with his tennis job, such as bringing

Bernard orange juice in his room every morning. Drouet said several

people advised him to quit but ”I’m divorced, I have a son, a loan

to pay off.”

”And now?” he said. ”I am still in shock. I left everything

to work with the Tomics. I have no work now. Nothing. I earned a

little money modeling, but now, with this face… ”

Tennis Australia is working with the ATP tour in investigating

the incident.

The 20-year-old Bernard Tomic has been seen as Australia’s most

promising player, but his short career has been filled with

controversy.

In November, he was fined and put on a 12-month good-behavior

bond after twice being stopped by police for driving offenses.

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

Bernard Tomic.

Tennis also has a history of disruptive or abusive fathers.

Jelena Dokic’s father and former coach has been banned

indefinitely from all WTA Tour events after a series of public

indiscretions, including accusing Australian Open organizers of

fixing the 2001 tournament draw. Damir Dokic also spent time in

jail for threatening the life of the Australian ambassador to

Belgrade and illegally possessing two bombs and other weapons.

Former French Open champion Mary Pierce successfully applied for

a restraining order against her father Jim. He was ejected from the

French Open in 1993 after he punched a spectator and was

subsequently banned from the WTA Tour.

His behavior prompted the WTA to introduce a new rule, commonly

known as the ”Jim Pierce rule,” banning a player’s disruptive

family members or coaches from attending tournaments.

Mary Pierce, who hired a bodyguard, pulled out of Wimbledon in

1994 after her father told a newspaper he intended to defy the

ban.

The father of retired great Steffi Graf was sentenced to four

years in prison after being convicted of tax evasion on more than

$6 million of his daughter’s earnings. Peter Graf was released

after serving nearly half the term.

Associated Press writer Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to

this report.