IMG has confirmed that it has split with Bernard Tomic. Earlier this week, Sports Business Journal reported the management company was terminating its contract with Tomic before it was even set to expire. The management company confirmed the news with a tweet on Wednesday:
IMG and Bernard Tomic have mutually ended our relationship. We wish Bernard great success on and off the tennis court. — IMGTennis (@IMGTennis) July 16, 2014
It's been a rocky two years for the 21-year-old, who has fallen from a career high of No. 27 to a current ranking of No. 124. IMG signed Tomic in 2006 when he was just 13 years old. The signing appeared to be a smart move give the rate at which Tomic was winning junior tournaments. He won the boys' titles at the 2008 Australian Open and 2009 U.S. Open, as well as three Orange Bowl titles by the age of 16. He also became the youngest man to win a match at the Australian Open, beating Potito Starace of Italy when he was just 16 years old in 2009.
The youthful milestones continued for Tomic. In 2011 he became the youngest man since Boris Becker to make the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and that result, along with a fourth-round showing at the 2012 Australian Open, helped him hit a career high of No. 27 a year later.
But Tomic soon went from prodigy to punchline in large part because of the off-court drama that followed him, and that drama may have been the driving force behind IMG's decision to leave him behind. After a string of poor performances in 2012, the "Tomic the Tank Engine" nickname built steam, culminating in a meek loss to Andy Roddick at the 2012 U.S. Open. After the match Tomic teed off on a reporter for questions concerning his effort.
He quickly became Australian tabloid fodder, whether for "hooning", wrestling or hitting the clubs. It was all fun and games until May 2013, when Tomic's father John was charged with assault after beating up Tomic's hitting partner, Thomas Drouet. John, who served as Tomic's coach, was subsequently banned from the ATP for a year.
In January, Tomic was forced to retire to a chorus of boos against Rafael Nadal, and then underwent double hip surgery. In his first match back this spring, he lost to Jarkko Nieminen in just 28 minutes in Miami, the shortest match in ATP history.
In the span of two years, Tomic went from being one of the most promising young talents in tennis -- he had better results at the majors than Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori at the time -- to potentially needing a wildcard into the U.S. Open later this summer.