Australian tennis legend Rod Laver has urged national prodigy Bernard Tomic to get his act together if he wants to live up to the hype surrounding his enormous talent, reports Reuters.
The 75-year-old has warned the German-born talent to grasp every opportunity on the court with two hands following his decision to bow out of the Valencia Open in controversial circumstances.
Tomic was 4-1 down in the final set of a first-round clash against experienced Russian campaigner Mikail Youzhny before opting to retire from the match due to a headache.
His premature exit was harshly greeted by fans on Twitter, who questioned the legitimacy of his reasons for pulling out of the match – one user went as far to claim "he probably had a hangover".
Laver, who recently launched his autobiography, has revealed his disappointment at the player's lack of ambition, citing a reluctance to approach every match with his heart and soul as one of his major flaws.
"I know there are some down-times and I think when he looks back at things in five, 10 years from now, he may be disappointed with himself," Laver told reporters at his book launch at Melbourne Park on Thursday.
"Because if you don't put your best effort in every time, you won't know when the best time is to play your best tennis. There is no best time.
"It doesn't just gel because you think 'oh, I'm going to play good today.' It doesn't come that way. The world of tennis, the competition and the opponents you've got, you've got to be ready to play your best every time."
Despite his apparent unwillingness to lead a new generation of Australian tennis, Tomic is undoubtedly a genuine force in the making and Laver hopes the young man's unorthodox playing style continues to fluster the top players.
"Some of the things (he does) don't pan out but when he played a guy called (Richard) Gasquet at Wimbledon he actually made him feel sick, the way he was playing with him," he added.
"He was playing drop shots, slow shots, easy shots, serving aces. That's the way he plays and I think Tomic is putting opponents off with the way he plays.
"So I hope he doesn't give that up. But I think maybe his concentration is sometimes lacking in how to get rid of a match. You can't stay out there and sort of play a cat and mouse game.
"You've got to play hard, when you see an opportunity, take it and get off the court."
Despite slipping to number 52 in the ATP world rankings, the 21-year-old remains the Australian number one.
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