French umpire Cedric Mourier advised Tomic to go through the official channels rather than take matters into his own hands after the Australian told the fan to “suck my balls” during his 6-4 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7-0) loss to Damir Dzumhur overnight.
“I will put my balls in your mouth” and “I will give you some money to make you feel good,” Tomic said for all to hear on the Old Grandstand court at Flushing Meadows.
“He was saying some shit,” Tomic added to Mourier when the umpire questioned why he’d lashed out.
“It’s better you go through me than try to solve it by yourself,” Mourier said.
But Tomic later said he snapped after being abused by the fan as well as other spectators who he claimed taunted him in his mother tongue.
“He was just baiting me a bit. You know, I don’t want to get into it. I apologised for what I said to him,” Tomic told reporters.
“I think after he left the first set, I think the crowd got happy he left because he was a bit annoying.”
Tomic refused to go into detail, other than to say “it was negative stuff”, but it’s believed the heckler was telling him he’d be thrashed by fellow Australian Nick Kyrgios if they met in a projected all-Australian third-round contest.
“There was some stuff in the background as I was playing balls and returning. It’s tough,” Tomic said.
“I watched a little bit today of (Janko) Tipsarevic also and (Sam) Querrey. There were some similar situations with the crowd yelling and people talking in between points. Big points, I should say.
“It was maybe not good that the crowd got too excited or sometimes speaking in the points, it’s not fair.”
Tomic said fans of his Bosnian opponent down the other end of the court apologised for their abuse.
“They were saying some negative stuff to me, in my language of Serbian-Croatian. The microphones didn’t pick that up. But I obviously caught the blame for that,” he said.
“My mother is Bosnian. Obviously I understand the language.”
It’s Tomic’s second slip of the tongue in two months, with the 23-year-old forced to apologise at Wimbledon after saying he was left stranded “like a retard” on court for several minutes waiting for his first-round opponent to arrive.
He went unpunished for that faux pas but faces almost certain sanctioning by the ITF for his latest incident.
After dropping the first two sets, Tomic appeared on track to post a comeback win after winning the third and going up a break in the fourth as Dzumhur began to cramp.
Alas, the 17th seed was broken before Dzumhur stormed through the tiebreaker to take the match.
Tomic’s drama-charged defeat also scuppered hopes of a first-time showdown with Kyrgios later this week.
“I think everyone sort of looked far ahead and prospected me and Nick in the third round,” he said.
“I think everyone wanted to see that. The media was too focused on that.
“I didn’t give everyone what they wanted. So full credit to the player I played today.”
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