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"Show some passion or leave the sport": Rasheed's Tomic spray

Tennis

Roger Rasheed shouldn’t expect a Christmas card from Bernard Tomic this year after the tennis coach delivered a withering – and bizarrely-timed – attack on the Australian No.2.

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Far from being impressed by Tomic’s first claycourt win of the year at the French Open, Rasheed challenged the world No.22 to either show more passion or quit the sport.

The South Australian said Tomic’s languid court demeanour was boring and made him want to switch and watch a movie instead.

A former mentor of Lleyton Hewitt and unfulfilled talents Gael Monfils and Grigor Dimitrov, Rasheed said he couldn’t care less that Tomic disposed of American battler Brian Baker in straight sets at Roland Garros overnight.

“To be honest, I would beat Brian Baker. He has had that many injuries, he’s ranked 600-and-something in the world,” Rasheed said on 2KY radio’s Big Sports Breakfast program.

“He couldn’t hit two balls on the court. It’s not about that, it’s about what I turn up and look like.

“I don’t care whether you like clay, I don’t care whether it’s played on ice or a bed of nails.

“When you turn up to a grand slam or any professional event, you have to show that when you step on the court that you have to have a persona that shows passion, that shows hunger and that shows commitment to a sport that you supposedly love.”

Even presenter Michael Slater appeared taken aback by Rasheed’s unrelenting spray, which came hours after Tomic admitted only 100 per cent effort and commitment would change the public’s perception of him.

“When you go on the court and even if you didn’t like the surface, that’s even more of a more reason to put on a persona that you’re passionate about the competition because you’ve got to take away the conditions, it’s about hitting a tennis ball and finding a way to win the match,” the ranting Rasheed added.

“When I’m looking at that and I’m watching the game, I want to turn it off and just watch a movie. It gives you a sense of boredom. There’s no electricity of the body.

“There’s so many athletes out there that often that’s what we see and it does my head in. If you don’t like it that much, leave the sport. Show some passion.”

France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga looks to play a forehand smash as his coach Roger Rasheed looks on during a practice session on Margaret Court Arena ahead of the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Roger Rasheed mentoring France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ahead of the Australian Open in 2013. Photo: Andy Wong, AP.

Tomic, embroiled in yet another tanking controversy earlier this month after returning a serve with his racquet handle, said he was trying to improve his on-court conduct.

“I struggle mentally a lot, so that’s one area I need to improve,” said Tomic after beating Baker.

He pointed to his rankings rise of more than 100 places over the past 18 months as evidence of his dedication.

“For me, it’s been a big turnaround (but) I have to get better.”

Tomic also said he regretted declaring he didn’t care about the tanking allegation because he was worth $10 million.

“I shouldn’t have said that, but that’s in the past. That was my fault,” he said.

-AAP

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