Of brats and life lessons

When too much money and fame come too soon then the players need a strong figure around them to keep them from being carried away and thinking they can get away with anything.

Bernard Tomic of Australia lost his first-round match against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga of France at this year’s Wimbledon without putting up a fight.   -  Getty Images

One thing that strikes you when you come to England is how proud the British are about their country, their institutions, their sport and their way of life. Everything British is the best in the world for them and their pride is easily seen in the way their print media gushes over everything British. Of course, there is criticism especially of the political class, but when it comes to sport, the backing that the sportspersons get is incredible. Even those who have a slim to no chance of winning are raised to the skies as if they win championships and titles for breakfast, when in reality they barely scrape past the first round.

The Championships at Wimbledon are one such tournament where the print media builds an English player up so much that the non-English hope that they lose so that they can be spared the exultations that will follow the win. The media is also very patient with their players as long as they are not brats, and so when they lose, it will still say what a great fight they put up before losing.

Speaking of brats, two that come readily to mind are Australians Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios. While Kyrgios is a talent that can upset the very best, Tomic gets entry into the main draw only to lose in a listless manner without even trying.

Tomic was fined his entire participation fee by the All England Club for not trying in his first-round loss but that’s probably nothing than a slap on the wrist for him. He still makes more than enough money through endorsements, so he can afford to play the joker and lose in the first round.

The IPL propels many an unknown player to untold riches and so far there’s not even one who has gone on to become an international player for India.   -  IPL/Sportzpics


The sad part is that there are so many who are striving to get into the tournament and whose place is blocked by players like Tomic with his utter lack of respect for the opponent but more importantly to the sport that has given him the kind of lifestyle others only dream about.

I do not know what the system for entry into the tournament is, but clearly the time has come for tennis administration to look at not allowing players like Tomic entry at least for the majors because all that they do is bring the game down. Tomic getting a direct entry is blocking a place for a young guy who will probably die on the court trying to win rather than be like Tomic who just walked from one side of the court to the other with utter disdain and disregard for the game and the opponent.

READ | Bernard Tomic fined £45,000 Wimbledon prize money for tanking

What this tells you is that when too much money and fame come too soon, the players need a strong figure around them to keep them from being carried away and thinking they can get away with anything. They need mentors who will ensure the talent is not wasted but goes on to fulfil its true potential and helps the game get better than before.

The Indian Premier League also propels many an unknown player to untold riches, but so far there’s not even one who has gone on to become an international player for India. They are all one season wonders who are exposed in the first few games. They may be good at a lower standard of club or junior cricket where they are spotted by talent scouts, but they are simply not capable of performing at the highest level of the IPL.

The ones who actually go on to become international players are those who are picked at their base prices or slightly above. These players are generally good at observing the greats and the way these internationals train and prepare for the big games and they learn from that and get better themselves. They realise that it’s hard work that has made the greats who they are and they also need a good work ethic to go ahead in their careers and if they do that then success and riches will automatically follow.

It’s a life lesson, but a good teacher is needed to convey it to the youngsters.

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