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June 27, 2011

Bernard Tomic


B. TOMIC/X. Malisse
6-1, 7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How are you feeling right now? Are you surprised to have got this far? Did you know you were playing this well?
BERNARD TOMIC: No. I mean, I never thought I'd be here the second week, especially in the quarterfinals. What a feeling and what a tournament it's been for me. I've learnt a lot.
I'm, you know, at a position now where I've never been happier. I'm looking forward to playing on Wednesday.

Q. Can you contrast your feelings compared with the win on Saturday to how you feel right now?
BERNARD TOMIC: Two different wins. I mean, then I beat a much higher-ranked player. But today I was playing for a big spot.
You know, in one way they're both unbelievable achievements. But today was a win I really wanted and I prepared for well, and I played well for it today.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit more about why this is happening here and why now?
BERNARD TOMIC: It's got to happen sometime (smiling).
Yeah, I mean, look, I said to myself, you know, I'm going to have a tournament here. Play well.
Ever since quallies, I tried to play a little bit more relaxed than I'm used to. I've been doing that ever since I qualified. Davydenko, I played relaxed. Now I found my game, where I need it be, and that's to have fun, relax out there, not play under pressure where as opposed to maybe six months ago I was playing a little bit more defensive, not playing my game.
I think now I really learnt the way I should play my game.

Q. What was it that led to that change? How did you make the decision to relax and enjoy yourself?
BERNARD TOMIC: Well, you know, I was so used to playing a lot of junior tennis, where I got into the habit of playing a lot of defense tennis. That's what made me win a few junior titles, where I was really good in juniors.
That's where players missed, as opposed to here; they don't miss as much. I found out, look, if I really want to play against these guys, I have to relax like I do in practice. That's when I play my best tennis, in practice.
I know if I play like I do in practice, I'll play much better in my game.

Q. There was a stat saying that you're the youngest men's quarterfinalist here since 1986. How do you feel about being in that sort of history?
BERNARD TOMIC: Unbelievable achievement. I feel, you know, great. Great honor to do it here in Wimbledon. You know, I'm not going to stop now. I'm going to try my best to play on Wednesday in the quarters. I've got nothing to lose. That's a big thing always.

Q. For those of us who don't know much about you, it says you were born in Stuttgart of Bosnian-Croatian parents. What has your journey been to get to this point?
BERNARD TOMIC: It's been a funny odd 13 years since I started playing tennis. It's a funny feeling, because I started playing tennis at seven-and-a-half. I didn't play that long. I got really good around 12, 13. I got good quickly.
My background, I was born in Germany. Obviously I moved to Australia when I was about two-and-a-half, three. So I've been in Australia for a long time.
Decision when I started playing tennis now I don't regret.

Q. Can you reflect on the role your father has played and where you got to today?
BERNARD TOMIC: Big role. You know, he's been there since day one, since I started playing tennis. There's been a lot of hard work involved, a lot of hours.
You know, all those years have gone by, now you wonder, look, you're here, you're in the second week of a quarterfinal of a major. Tells you the work's paid off finally.

Q. You probably didn't expect to be in the quarters, given you were a couple points away of going out of qualifying. Has there been a scrambling for booking hotel rooms and stuff like that?
BERNARD TOMIC: Yeah, I never thought I'd be here right now. Look, maybe after that qualifying win, maybe I thought I was going to qualify, maybe that was my goal, to qualify again.
But, look, tennis, you know, is a sport where, you know, anything can happen if you compete well and try. That's what I think I've done well in this tournament, especially in the second round when I was down two sets to love and 2-Love. Things weren't looking good for me. I pretty much thought the match was over within 10, 15 minutes. The guy was all on top of me.
It shows when you compete and fight in a match, things change for you.

Q. Have you got somewhere to stay until the end of the week? Have you not thought that far ahead?
BERNARD TOMIC: Well, I'm staying at a house now. I've been staying at that house since the start of qualifying. Maybe it's the house (smiling).

Q. When you say 'anything can happen,' what about Novak? Tell us your thoughts about that match and your relationship with him.
BERNARD TOMIC: Yeah, if he's going to win today. Anything can happen.
Novak's a champion. He's obviously won Grand Slams before. My relationship's really good with him. I've hit with him a lot of times. You know, he's a cool guy. One of the nicest guys out there on the tour.
You know, I think he has a respect for me. I've got a much bigger respect for him because he's obviously, you know, played at that big of a level the last five years and consistently held being 3 in the world, now even a step closer to becoming No. 1.
But, you know, if I get that opportunity, if he wins, what a match it's going to be. I mean, you know, to play against a guy like him that's 2 in the world, it doesn't get really better than that.

Q. How did that happen? Did he approach you at a tournament somewhere, wanted to play with you? How did that come about?
BERNARD TOMIC: Around after Kooyong when we played an exhibition match there, you know, ever since that day, I mean, after he's always said good words about me, then I've hit with him at least a dozen times now.
I think he likes having me around. Hitting with him, you know, you learn a lot of things from a player like that when you hit with him in practice.
Hopefully he gets through today and we can play on Wednesday.

Q. Australia has a great tennis tradition, but it's gone downhill. Are you going to bring it back?
BERNARD TOMIC: I'm trying. I'm trying, yeah (smiling). I think I can do it. Hopefully we have more juniors coming through.

Q. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I watched one of Novak's interviews during Wimbledon. He said he was hitting the ball with you before the tournament. How much will that help you in the following match? And what language do you speak with Novak?
BERNARD TOMIC: We talk our language. I did hit with him before the tournament. Yeah, we played a set. He destroyed me. Things are not looking good for me, but hopefully he destroyed me then and not on this game on Wednesday (smiling).

Q. What language do you speak with Novak?
BERNARD TOMIC: We speak in Croatian-Serbia.

Q. There's plenty of Aussies in this part of London. They gravitate towards Wimbledon. How have the Aussie fans taken to you? Are they ready to accept you with your background being European?
BERNARD TOMIC: Yeah, you know, the sport from Australia is really good. I think down at Melbourne this year was, you know, huge support. Even today, you know, the Aussies came out and supported, which was really good.
Hopefully I can become a better player than I am right now and keep moving up and win the love of the Australian crowd in the future.

Q. How about Lleyton Hewitt? Has he been any help to you?
BERNARD TOMIC: Uhm, regarding this tournament?

Q. Yes. Has he spoken to you as you've progressed?
BERNARD TOMIC: I've spoke to him once I think around the first round. I haven't really got the chance to bump into him. I think he left after he lost against Robin.
I haven't seen him around. I would love to have the chance to talk to him, but unfortunately we didn't get the time to bump into each other here.

Q. You play such an unusual style. If Novak wins, he's going to know your game as well as anybody, isn't he?
BERNARD TOMIC: Yeah. It's tough, because even in practice when I play against Novak, I can't execute my shots because he's one of those guys where he's got one of the best returns in the world. From the returns, he moves you. It's tough to play my shots.
But, you know, he's obviously really good off the line, got an unbelievable backhand. But, you know, if I can execute my shots and he doesn't return as good on that day, which could be impossible, because his return is unbelievable, then maybe I'll have a chance. We'll know from the first returns he hits.

Q. What about Llodra, if he wins, that matchup?
BERNARD TOMIC: Against Llodra? Look, if he wins against Novak, then I'll have to find a lefty to hit with tomorrow (smiling).

Q. Which were the players you looked up to when you were growing up? Was it a Croatian or Australian?
BERNARD TOMIC: I looked up to Goran. I looked up to Andre and Sampras. Roger took over and started dominating. I had a few idols back when I was young.
But yeah, you know, I looked up to Roger when he won his first Wimbledon here and beat Philippoussis. Ever since that, the love of the game's always been there. Ever since I was young, I supported Lleyton when he was playing at Wimbledon, when he was reaching the finals and winning. Just tells me one day maybe I can be here competing at this level.

Q. We have an image of Australian teenagers being on the beach, enjoying themselves. You had to make sacrifices to be here. Or do you still go to the beach and barbecues?
BERNARD TOMIC: I still go to the beach and barbecues. That's for sure. Now planning more of that.

Q. Are you playing against China?
BERNARD TOMIC: We are for the Davis Cup.

Q. Are you playing?
BERNARD TOMIC: I'd love to think so. Let's hope I make it to China.

Q. Have you got any superstitions here at Wimbledon, anything you're going to keep doing till you're out?
BERNARD TOMIC: Yeah, I seem to always take the same shower in the locker room. Maybe that's the thing.

Q. Can't that be a bit embarrassing if it's occupied?
BERNARD TOMIC: Then I'll wait.

Q. And did you beat Djokovic at Kooyong?
BERNARD TOMIC: I can't really say I did. I mean, that's an exhibition match. Can't count as a match. But, yeah.

Q. You obviously know his game. But you beat him in the exhibition.
BERNARD TOMIC: See, you know, that match was one of the windiest days I've ever experienced. It's tough to anyone to hit a shot, let alone if you're highly ranked. The ball was flying everywhere.
I think that was more of a thing for the crowd. I think here will be much different.

Q. Can you imagine yourself winning this thing?
BERNARD TOMIC: Three matches away. Wow, that's a big question. Well, anything is possible. I wouldn't be sitting here now in the quarters, let alone think I'm in the quarters. I could be talking to you right now in four days, I don't know, or I could be talking to you again -- this could be my last time.

Q. It's just Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, an easy run.
BERNARD TOMIC: Yeah. We'll see (smiling).

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