Why Bernard Tomic has quit I’m a Celeb
HE lasted just three nights but Bernard Tomic says his jungle experience helped him find the clarity he has been seeking that will see him back on the court "as soon as possible".
"I've got to get back to where I belong," Tomic told News Corp in an exclusive post-jungle interview. "It might take me six months but every day is going to be a step closer and every day I spend out there is a day I lose."
Out there is the South African jungle camp where Tomic was competing for $100,000 for his chosen charity - Ronald McDonald House - on reality show I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!
But even before he went in with fellow celebs including Kerry Armstrong, Fiona O'Loughlin, Josh Gibson and Jackie Gillies, he was having doubts.
"I shouldn't have probably came but I am happy I came because something clicked for me in those few days in camp, it is something I will never forget but I need to go back to doing what I do and doing what I do best. Now my main focus is continuing where I started about a month and a half ago."
Tomic is the first celebrity in four seasons of the Australian show to walk from the jungle, although some 16 have quit the British version of I'm A Celebrity in its 17 seasons.
The 25-year-old was hoping for the ultimate redemption story in the jungle, and it was working.
Just last week he told News Corp he was hoping he "can give the public a true side of me".
"I just don't think that it was the right time for me here," he said. "If it was the right choice and I had nothing to regret and think back to at what I am leaving, I would have stayed, I am 100 per cent certain. It is what it is and I hope one day I can come back to this in maybe a decade and complete it."
For now though it is tennis all the way, although, interestingly, he concedes he "will never love the game".
"I will never love it like I did when I was 12, 13, 15 years old, I will never love it like that," he declared. "It is a business, I like it. The last year I have been so confused and I haven't played that much tennis and I have enjoyed my life, which I am human, I've deserved, I have worked for the last 16/18 years to be where I am and obviously needed a break the last sort of year. I didn't really find the time to clear my head and clear my thoughts and doing the right thing for the last six to eight weeks and starting to get back into it and training and doing the right things, I finally won a couple of matches, I was one point away from winning my third match (at the Australian Open qualifiers), which I haven't done since 2016 of being a top 20 player, so for me, I finally got a bit of rhythm, a bit of something that I wanted.
So how soon will we see Tomic back on the court? Very soon is the answer. He flies home to Australia today.
"As soon as I get back, I will be training and getting ready to do all the tournaments and where I should be back in the sport, in the top 20 or top 15 and push for the top five to eight in the world, that is my goal and that is what I need to do. For me it is very important that that has to happen."
Fellow I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! contestant Josh Gibson pulled no punches in a heated early discussion with Tomic, telling him if he wanted to be that player, he needed to be more accountable.
As for the show, Tomic said he won't be cashing in his rumoured hefty earnings for going on the show and has vowed to continue to support Ronald McDonald House.
"I have lost a lot of money for counting myself out," he said of his pay packet from the show. "I didn't do this for the money, I did this for a challenge but only then when I got here, I got that click in my brain of what I needed to do and I was doubtful ever since I left to come on the plane here. I am happy in a way that I got that click and I know what I need to do. Now I'm flying back I am going to continue to do the right things over the next few months."
He's also picked a winner of this year's jungle crown.
"I am going to pick Shannon (Noll) to win, or Anthony (Mundine) but I don't think Anthony is going to be able to handle it with all of the girls because he has an attitude. Anthony put on a show within the first few minutes and it was funny to watch. I think the girls are going to struggle with him in there and it is going to get a bit tense."
* The journalist is in South Africa covering I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! as a guest of Channel Ten.