Australian 'bad boy' Bernard Tomic has been in hot form recently. After a deep run at the Shanghai Rolex masters (reaching the quarterfinals before losing to World no. 1 Novak Djokovic), Tomic surprisingly declined a lucrative $200,000 offer to play the IPTL, citing the need for off-season practice to start off 2016 on a strong note at the Australian Open, where he would be seeded for the first time. He agrees that the old Bernard would have run after the money, but promises he's different now and is trying to turn over a new leaf.
At a press conference, Tomic stated,"I have to get stronger, and that's the only way for me next year. If I want to be in the top 10 in 2016, I need to play well in the first few months. So that's a sacrifice I need to make, I need to train in December." He feels that the reason why he's had a career best year so far, is because he's been focused on his game, not only the money. It's surprising how mature he's become in the past year though, and this writer is of the opinion that even the harshest Australian critics might finally be able to accept their 'prodigal son'. However, he hasn't exactly had a uncontroversial year so far: He was kicked out of the Davis Cup team, after a rift with Tennis Australia in April, before being drafted back in August. After Shanghai, Tomic now plans to play in Stockholm and Valencia, before finishing off the season at the Paris Masters.
Despite his withdrawal, the second season of the IPTL boasts of a star-studded lineup, featuring the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, Ana Ivanovic, Tomas Berdych, Sania Mirza, Marat Safin, Leander Paes, and Maria Sharapova. It also includes 3 of Tomic's fellow countrymen: Nick Kyrgios, Mark Philippousis and Jarmila Gajdosova. The two week long year-end exhibition tournament is spread over 5 countries, with 5 different teams. The teams this year include the defending champions Indian Aces, Singapore Slammers, UAE Royals, Manila Mavericks, as well as the latest addition: The Japan Warriors. The innovative format was the brainchild of former Indian legend Mahesh Bhupathi, and was created with the objective of bringing world class tennis to the tennis deprived Asian continent. The ties themselves consist of 5 matches of a set each (Men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, mixed doubles and Legend's singles), and is expected to produce some mouthwatering clashes, including (hopefully) a much anticipated Federer-Nadal match in New Delhi on the 12th of December.