Venus Williams surprises tennis world with admiration for bad boy Bernard Tomic

Bernard Tomic has received a surprise shoutout from one of the tennis world’s biggest names, despite his less-than-stellar recent performances.

Eagle-eyed observers spotted Tomic on Venus Williams’ list of favourite tennis players on her Women’s Tennis Association profile.

Bernard Tomic Venus Williams

Tomic was chuffed with Williams’ praise. Photo: Instagram / Fox Sports

The Australian world No.435 was listed with the likes of Williams’ sister Serena, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Gael Monfils.

The disclosure came via Williams’ ‘bio’ on the WTA website, which also detailed her choice to become a ‘cheagan’ (cheating vegan) after being diagnosed with an immune system disorder in 2011, along with the revelation that she enjoys getting the mail and receiving packages.

Tomic seemed thrilled.

On Thursday, he posted a screenshot of an article featuring the unexpected hat tip on his Instagram story, thanking the former world No.1 for the “honour”.

Fans were confused, given Tomic’s tumble down tennis rankings in recent years, and the apparent lack of a personal connection between the two.

Some reactions were less than kind, with social media commentators wondering if Williams’ got Tomic confused with someone else, or had seen his OnlyFans video.

Others were more positive – one Twitter user suggested the pair should team up on court.

“How about a Venus x Tomic mixed doubles at the next Wimbledon or AusOpen?” they wrote.

Is Kyrgios the link?

Williams, world No.664, played doubles at 2021 Wimbledon with Nick Kyrgios, who has been in an ongoing war of words with his one-time friend Tomic.

In June, the feud between the two Aussies erupted again when Kyrgios said Tomic was no longer “relevant” after Tomic told media outlets he would put $1 million on the line in a match against Kyrgios.

“Bernard is playing some f—ing Future [low-ranked tournament] in Zimbabwe right now,” Kyrgios said at the time.

Venus Williams Nick Kyrgios

Williams and Nick Kyrgios played doubles together in 2021. Photo: Getty

Things took a turn for the better in January, when Tomic pressed pause on the feud with a social media message wishing Kyrgios well after the latter was forced to pull out of the Australian Open due to knee surgery.

“Despite our differences we go way back. Wish [Kyrgios] a quick recovery. Hope to see him back on the circuit soon,” Tomic wrote.

Kyrgios responded with, “Cheers bruh.”

But given the largely frosty relationship, it’s unlikely Williams became a Tomic fan due to the mutual acquaintance.

Tomic aims high

Tomic has had a tumultuous career, from becoming the youngest male to win a match at the 2008 Australian Open at age 16, to being accused of tanking a match against Andy Roddick at the 2012 US Open.

He has also had a fiery relationship with Australian tennis legends such as Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt, which Tomic has since largely blamed on conflicts with his demanding father at the time.

Tomic kicked off 2023 with a snub from Tennis Australia, which overlooked him for a wildcard in the Australian Open in favour of lower-ranked players.

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said it was partly because there were too many Australian players vying for a chance to play the Melbourne grand slam.

Tomic hasn’t always had an easy relationship with Australian tennis hierarchy. Photo: Getty

Tomic seemed to take the decision in his stride, saying it was good to see young tennis players getting an opportunity, and that he would take it as motivation.

“I’m not expecting any favours. I’m going to prove my point and earn my way,” he said.

“This year is my year, if no one is going to help support me, I’ll get back to top 100 on my own.”

Things are already looking up for the former world No.17 after he marked 2022 with his first professional tournament win since 2018, at an International Tennis Federation event in Cancun, Mexico.

The win boosted Tomic’s tennis rankings from his then lowly No.801. Tomic has also vowed he will win a Grand Slam before he retires.

“I could have won Wimbledon in my career,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald last year.

“But I know I can do it. There’s a window coming in the next five or six years before I retire and I’m going to do it.”

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