• ATP Tour

Tomic's father charged with assault

ESPN staff
May 7, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

The father of Australian tennis star Bernard Tomic has been charged with assaulting his son's hitting partner before the start of the Madrid Open this week.

A Madrid court on Monday said that John Tomic, father and coach to his world No. 49 son, disputed the charges of assaulting Thomas Druet and will face trial on May 14.

Tomic Sr's lawyers told reporters that Tomic had acted in "self-defence" after Druet had grabbed the coach by the arms. If found guilty, former taxi driver Tomic could face a prison sentence of up to three years.

Druet told Australia newspaper the Sun Herald that Tomic Sr had head-butted him in an altercation outside the player's hotel on Saturday, after saying the Frenchman had been sacked.

"I thought he was going to say sorry for the verbal abuse, but no," Druet told the Sun Herald. "He spat in my face then walked away and he wouldn't pay me anymore.

"I said 'OK, John, you are a real man. That's fine. Bernard will pay me.' And he head-butted me."

After Monday's hearing, the court said it could not hold an immediate trial as Tomic Sr had disputed the facts presented by the prosecution.

Drouet went on to confirm that Tomic Jr had apologised over the incident, and stated that he was focused on recovery.

"He's apologised, he's sorry for what happened," Drouet said. "He knows his father is not right. I wish him all the best.

"Bernard is a nice guy and I wish him all the best. I will recover and see what happens. For me, mentally, I am very, very bad now and I feel bad for Bernard too because the person who will be sad today is Bernard, with his father's doing."

Tennis Australia released a statement on Monday which said it found the incident "very concerning".

"We are working closely with ATP officials who are investigating the incident and are unable to comment further until the full facts are known," the statement read.

Tomic Sr, who could face expulsion from the ATP Tour following the incident, firmly believes he did not do anything wrong.

"I don't feel guilty," Tomic Sr said. "I didn't do anything wrong."

Tomic Jr lost in straight sets to Radek Stepanek in the first round on Saturday.

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