Australian star Bernard Tomic claimed he was certain he would test positive for Covid
Australian tennis bad boy Bernard Tomic said he was certain to return a positive coronavirus test as he attempted to make a wager with an umpire before crashing out of Australian Open qualifying.
Still bidding to get his career back on track after plummeting to the lowly ranking of number 257 in the world from the heights of the top 20 five years ago, Tomic was on court on Tuesday against Russia's Roman Safiullin in their qualifier at Melbourne Park.
But sporting a peroxide-blond look, it wasn't a happy outing for the Aussie as he crashed to a 6-1 6-4 mauling against his Russian rival, who was something of a breakout star for his country at the recent ATP Cup.
Tomic cut a deflated figure throughout the match and was seemingly struggling with illness, telling umpire Aline Da Rocha Nocinto during a changeover in the second set that he was certain he had contracted Covid.
"I'm sure in the next two days I will test positive, I'm telling you," the 29-year-old was heard telling the official.
Tomic went on to offer the Brazilian umpire a bizarre bet, saying: "I'll buy you dinner if I don't test positive in three days, otherwise you buy me dinner."
The German-born Tomic - who has reached the Australian Open fourth round on three occasions - went on to criticize what he believes are lax testing rules at this year's tournament.
Tomic struggled in Melbourne. Getty Images
"They're allowing players to come on court with rapid tests in their room, come on... no official PCR testing," he was heard saying.
After being consigned to a heavy defeat, Tomic took to social media to update fans on his condition.
"Feeling really sick, I'm back in my hotel room," wrote the former Wimbledon quarterfinalist.
"Just spoke to the doctors on site and they've asked me to isolate. They couldn't treat me yet to avoid contact...
"I'll do better next time. Very disappointed as I really wanted to make Aussies proud and perform well on my home turf," he added.
Tomic is a colorful character in tennis circles and found himself at the center of a storm at last year's Australian Open.
On that occasion it was thanks to his then-girlfriend, Instagram influencer Vanessa Sierra, who complained about their quarantine conditions ahead of the tournament.
The pair have since split, with Tomic recently confirming his romance with another Instagram model, Keely Hannah, who was pictured at his side in Melbourne.
Elsewhere, Australian fans could lose another of their home heroes from the Melbourne showpiece after Nick Kyrgios announced on Instagram that he had tested positive for Covid-19.
"I am feeling healthy at the moment with no symptoms," Kyrgios told fans.
"I wish everyone all the best and to stay safe where you can.
"If all goes well I will see you all at the Australian Open," added the star, as he faces a race to make the main draw for the event, which kicks off on January 17.