Bernard Tomic's controversial father and coach has been banned from entering the grounds at Roland Garros and is being denied credentials at all tournaments on the men's tour following a physical confrontation with his son's hitting partner, but the 20-year-old Australian is keeping faith with him. "He's here right now in Paris," Bernard said. "He's still working with me. He's still my Dad. He's still my coach and I love him a lot."
A difficult month for Tomic ended in pain at the French Open when a torn leg muscle forced him to retire from his first-round match when trailing Romania's Victor Hanescu 7-5, 7-6, 2-1. Tomic insisted afterwards that the furore surrounding his father, John, had not affected his preparations, but the former world junior No 1 looked uneasy as he talked in public for the first time following the incident earlier this month which has cast the latest shadow over his roller-coaster career.
John Tomic will appear in court in Spain in the autumn after being accused of head-butting Bernard's hitting partner, Thomas Drouet, during a confrontation before the recent Madrid Masters. Drouet, who suffered a broken nose and other injuries, later claimed that John Tomic – who denied being the aggressor – had also punched his son in the face during a training session in Monte Carlo, where he is based. Drouet has since found a new job as a hitting partner with the French player Marion Bartoli.
The Association of Tennis Professionals has banned Tomic senior from tournaments on the men's tour until further notice, while French Open officials said he would be denied access to Roland Garros even as a paying spectator. The All England Club said that it would not accredit him for Wimbledon next month and would aim to prevent him entering the grounds, even with a ticket.
Some senior figures in Australian tennis had hoped the latest incident might see Bernard Tomic end his professional relationship with his abrasive father, who has had many run-ins with officialdom.
Although Bernard is hoping to recruit someone to join his entourage within the next few weeks, he insisted: "My Dad's still my coach and he always will be. I grew up with him and he knows me better than everyone else. I might bring someone else on board who can help my Dad – not a coach, but someone just to help me a little bit."
Novak Djokovic, who has made this tournament his priority for the year in the hope of completing his set of Grand Slam titles, overcame a potentially tricky first-round match against Belgium's David Goffin, winning 7-6, 6-4, 7-5.
With rain delaying the start of play by two and a half hours, Heather Watson, who was scheduled last on an outside court, was one of those who was told to come back this morning. Her fellow Briton, Elena Baltacha, did not get on court until 7.45pm and within 56 minutes was back in the locker room after losing 6-3, 6-0 to New Zealand's Marina Erakovic.
Baltacha, playing her first Grand Slam tournament since last summer following ankle surgery, won the first two games, but Erakovic quickly found her range and took command with a fine combination of thumping ground strokes and well-judged drop shots. The world No 92, who had come here on the back of seven defeats in her previous eight matches, won 12 of the last 13 games.