Foot Fault!

Calling all the lines of professional tennis

Vasek Pospisil Proves That Opportunity Is Everything. Bernard Tomic Doesn’t.

A lot has been made of the Montreal Rogers Cup wildcard decisions this week. Much like last year when Ana Ivanovic was shunned in favour of local lowly Canadian players, the Rogers Cup organizers once again decided to hand the vast majority of their wildcards to low-ranked local players. This time, the flavours of the week were 155-ranked Vasek Pospsil and world number 290 Erik Chvojka, and the jokes and criticism came thick and fast.

Some jokingly questioned whether anyone with a Canadian passport would be considered for a wildcard, while John Wertheim suggested that the likes of John Isner and Ernests Gulbis should have been considered before announced his belief that there should should be a rankings cap on wildcards.

Two days later, those who were sceptical were, in a way, silenced as wildcarded Canadian Vasek Pospisil pulled off an inspired victory over Juan Ignacio Chela, fighting injury and a 2-4 third set deficit to win through and book a second round match with Roger Federer.

And that’s exactly what wildcards are about.

They aren’t about handing over a free spot in the draw to the next player in line - they’re about providing opportunities. And though he is ranked far lower than all players in the draw, the 21 year-old was given a chance to rise to the challenge of playing in one of the great tournaments in tennis and he did so admirably.

His reward will be a date with Roger Federer in tomorrow’s night match, undoubtedly in front of a packed crowd all cheering their boy on. There is no doubt whatsoever that he will lose it, probably handily, but he’s a talented player and this week will undoubtedly arm him with both the confidence and hunger to make sure that competing in these big tournaments becomes the rule and not the exception. And as far as those who granted him the wildcard are concerned, that’s a mission accomplished.

Incidentally, there is a case of abusing and wasting wildcards present in the Rogers Cup draw. This case regarding Bernard Tomic. There’s no doubt that Mr Tomic is extremely talented and will undoubtedly rise to the top echelons of the game in years to come (though his prediction that he will win a slam within two years remains arrogant and delusional), but the fact that he has been handed a grand total of 11 wildcards in his 14 events in 2011 is a big problem and exploitation of a gaping hole in the ATP rulebook.

It means that Tomic hasn’t had to work hard, and rather than building up his ranking in qualifying and lowly challengers like most, it has all essentially been handed to him on a platter. Indeed, he is said to have withdrawn from the Legg Mason Washington event because the tournament had the audacity not to give him a wildcard and he would have had to face the indignation of playing in qualifying.

One thing’s for sure - if, in a few years, there comes to be any question over his commitment and work rate when he is contesting for the big tournaments, we’ll know exactly where it all went wrong.

5 Responses to Vasek Pospisil Proves That Opportunity Is Everything. Bernard Tomic Doesn’t.

  1. yiroe (@yiroe) August 10, 2011 at 1:37 am

    Chvojka’s great efforts against Dolgopolov were also quite inspiring.

    Ranked No. 290, Chvojka, 24, is an interesting story. He enrolled at McGill University in Montreal in engineering last fall but left after two weeks to continue to pursue his tennis dreams.

    “Well, I stopped because I was very tired,” Chvojka explained about his decision to go to university. “I had some injuries which kind of demotivated me a little bit. I had support from friends. They wanted me back. My family felt like I should go back on tour – that it was not the time for me to study. They’re a big part of my comeback, and I thank them for that.”

    Playing his first ever main ATP tour match, the left-handed Chvojka, who has a very effective serve, was asked how doing so well would affect his confidence.” It’s a great experience,” he replied. “It’s my first match at a big event in the main draw on a stadium court. I can only take good things from this match. I just got to keep working on my game and improving, trying to get to this level, try to compete at these types of events all year.”

    He said his immediate goal was to get his ranking down to the top 200 so he would get directly into qualifying for the 2012 Australian Open.

    • footfaulter August 10, 2011 at 1:43 am

      Ah, thanks for that. I knew there had to be more to his story because no average #290 is really capable of taking a set off a Dolgopolov who has been playing so well recently.

  2. Pieter DW August 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    How is it possible that Bernie still needs all these WCs to get into MD now that he is ranked #68?

  3. vernonbc August 12, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Wertheim has a lot of gall to complain about WC’s being given to a couple of promising Canadians. How many WC’s has Ryan Harrison, or Donald Young, or Michael Russell, or any number of American players gotten in all the tournaments held in the US. The Americans have had a huge advantage over any Canadians when it comes to WC’s.

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