(Reuters) – Australia’s one-time child prodigy Bernard Tomic was eliminated in the first round of the Australian Open qualifiers in Melbourne on Tuesday, saying he couldn’t breathe because of bushfire smoke hanging over Melbourne Park.
The 27-year-old, who has earned over $6 million in prize money but seen his ranking plummet to 183 in the last two years, lost 7-6(4) 6-3 to American Denis Kudla.
Tomic first questioned the chair umpire about the regulations concerning match conditions when trailing 5-4 in the first set and then took a medical timeout while trailing 1-2 in the second, where a doctor cleared him to resume playing.
“No air’s going in, I’m getting tired so easy,” Tomic told the trainer and doctor during the timeout. “It’s not like I’m the fittest guy… I just can’t breathe.”
No stranger to controversy, Tomic – who did not receive a wildcard for the year’s first Grand Slam – simply appeared to stop running for points as Kudla wrapped up the…
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