Bernard Tomic’s rough trot continued in the jungle.
Bernard Tomic’s rough trot continued in the jungle.

Tennis foe torches embarrassing Tomic

THE topic was quickly shut down by Australia but Germany's world No. 5 Alex Zverev didn't mind having a crack at Bernard Tomic ahead of their Davis Cup first-round tie in Brisbane.

Zverev questioned Tomic's commitment before laughing off the former world No. 17's claim he could return to the sport's elite this year after an ill-fated reality TV stint.

Team captain Lleyton Hewitt earlier this week said he doubted whether Tomic would play Davis Cup again after the tennis bad boy claimed Australia could not win without him on Network Ten.

Hewitt, though, would not bite when Tomic's controversial yet short-lived stay on Network Ten's I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here inevitably came up at the Cup tie draw on Thursday.

"We are not going to get into that," Hewitt said.

Zverev had no problem giving his opinion, initially poking fun at the short duration of Tomic's stay in the South African jungle for the TV show. Tomic lasted three nights before citing depression and becoming the first person to quit the show.

"He was there for what? Six hours? Something like that," Zverev laughed. "It was great fun for the viewers for the one day that it lasted."

Tomic regretted ever stepping foot in the jungle.
Tomic regretted ever stepping foot in the jungle.

The German No. 1 also doubted whether Tomic - now ranked No. 168 - could hit the pointy end of the rankings this year after the TV show disruption.

"Didn't he say he wanted to be top five by the end of the year, something like that, when he left the jungle camp or whatever you call it?" Zverev said. "Good luck to him, that's all I can say.

"But hopefully he can get back to playing tennis and at a good level again.

"Because he has the talent, we all know that, he has shown that on multiple occasions.

"He has to figure out what he wants to do first."

Like Tomic, Zverev has also had to grow up in public as a tennis prodigy in his native Germany and the 20-year-old believes he is coping with the pressure well. He will open the first round tie against rookie teenager Alex de Minaur before Australian No. 1 Nick Kyrgios takes on Jan-Lennard Struff at Pat Rafter Arena.

"Other guys my age would be finishing off college now and trying to find a regular job somewhere sitting in an office for 12 hours a day," Zverev said. "I am travelling the world doing what I love in front of thousands of people on some of the biggest stages in the world - I am not complaining about anything."

Zverev has already won six career titles.
Zverev has already won six career titles.