Bernard Tomic’s return to court ends early in France

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Bernard Tomic’s bid to kick-start his career after slipping to 181st in the world hit a speed bump on Tuesday when the 25-year-old Australian was knocked out in the first round of a second-tier tournament in France.

Tomic, once touted as a top-10 player, was beaten 6-2 2-6 6-4 by France’s Antonie Hoang at the tournament in Lille.

It was his first outing since losing in the third round of qualifying for the Australian Open in Melbourne in January, a defeat that then saw him snap at reporters.

That setback followed a forgettable 2017 season, during which he declared himself “bored” by tennis at Wimbledon and spoke of feeling “trapped” during media interviews.

Tomic, who was a contestant in a reality television show after the Australian Open, then put himself at loggerheads with Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt by saying Australia would not win the title if he was not picked.

Hewitt said it was unlikely Tomic would play under him again.

Tomic, however, seemed to have recognised a rethink was in order last month when he said that he had wasted 2017. He resumed training and was keen to rebuild his career on the secondary Challenger circuit before looking to rejoin the main ATP Tour in April.

“I’m ready to challenge myself and hopefully in the next year I can be well inside the top 30,” he told News Corp in February. “But I’m going to have to work hard.”