At the stroke of midnight on Saturday, when the 12-month ban for assaulting his son’s hitting partner expires, tennis father John Tomic will be free to apply for tournament accreditation once more. Which, for the Tomics, means a double comeback, of sorts.
As Bernard, ranked 77th, prepares to play qualifying events in Madrid and then next week in Rome, just over three months after the dual hip surgery that followed his first-round retirement against Rafel Nadal at the Australian Open, sources have confirmed there will be no move to extend his father’s suspension past May 4.
John Tomic is not expected in Madrid, the scene of the infamous headbutting incident with Frenchman Thomas Drouet outside the tournament hotel that resulted in a suspended eight-month prison term, but could theoretically apply for a coach or player guest credential from Sunday.
Neither Tomic snr nor management company IMG replied to Fairfax Media’s inquiries.
The news of John Tomic’s reinstatement follows a recent ATP statement that the Queenslander’s status was under review, amid speculation that his ban from attending tour events may be stretched past its original one-year term.
With the four grand slams individually following the ATP’s lead, Tomic was permitted to enter as a paying spectator at only two tournaments during his suspension: Queen’s Club and Sydney.
A Spanish judge ignored a plea of self-defence to find Tomic guilty of bodily harm last September, but he escaped jail time because the sentence was less than two years in duration and he had no previous convictions in Spain. Drouet was left in a neck brace with a broken nose after the confrontation in Paseo de la Castellana on May 4.
There has been a suggestion that Tomic is preparing to take on a reduced coaching role on his return, having appointed Croatian Velimir Zovko as co-coach before Christmas. But that has been greeted with scepticism, with one insider commenting: ‘‘I would take that with a grain of salt. I imagine that John will be very much in the front or second row again once he’s allowed to be.’’
Bernard Tomic, meanwhile, has been quietly continuing his rehabilitation and preparation in Florida and then his European base in Monte Carlo, the 21-year-old having been urged not to return - for a second time - before he is ready.
Tomic was beaten in just 28 minutes by Jarkko Nieminen at the Sony Open in Miami in March at his only appearance since January, and the shortest completed ATP match on record.