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TENNIS

Tennis dad arrested for Madrid headbutt rage

The father of Australia's top-ranked tennis player Bernard Tomic said on Monday he was acting in self-defence when he headbutted his son's training partner and broke his nose in the Spanish capital.

Tennis dad arrested for Madrid headbutt rage
Talented Australian tennis star Bernard Tomic is fast earning a reputation as something of a bad boy of the sport. Photo: Paul Crock/AFP

John Tomic denied a charge of assault against Thomas Drouet in a Saturday afternoon brawl outside a hotel where players in the Madrid Masters were staying, his lawyer Carmen Dieguez told journalists at a Madrid court.

The court set a May 14 hearing for a judge to decide his guilt or innocence.

"I don't feel guilty. I did not do anything wrong," John Tomic told reporters of the fight, which has sparked consternation in the tennis world.

John Tomic struck his son's training partner with his head only because his own arms were being held by Drouet and he had to protect himself from falling over, his lawyer said.

Tomic opted for a court hearing rather than paying a fine, she told reporters.

Bernard Tomic's father, who is also his coach, was arrested several hours after the fight in the central avenue Paseo de la Castellana and was jailed for a period before being released, police said earlier.

Tomic was expected  to face a judge later in the afternoon.

The Australian player and his father were in Spain for the Madrid Masters.

Todd Woodbridge, the head of men's tennis for Tennis Austraia, earlier confirmed that John Tomic was involved in an incident but said the details were as yet unclear.

"We're still trying to ascertain if or what charges have been laid," Woodbridge told Australian radio, without commenting on reports of the attack.

"What's important for us at Tennis Australia is that this allegation is thrown toward John, his dad, and not to Bernard."

In a statement, Tennis Australia said the allegations were "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," it said.

In France L'Equipe newspaper said Drouet, from Monaco, sustained a broken nose, stitches to a cut above his eye and bruising to the back of his neck, the paper said.

He then reported the incident to the police and John Tomic was later detained for questioning, it said.

L'Equipe quoted Bernard Tomic as saying that he had been with his physical trainer at the time of the incident and had seen or heard nothing.

"It's a very odd situation," he was quoted as saying by the paper. "I wanted to talk to Thomas, but he was in hospital. I haven't seen my father since then."

John Tomic rang an Australian journalist on Monday to confirm he was not in jail.

Tennis legend Wally Masur, meanwhile, told Sydney radio: "(John) is a pretty volatile character. He came from the Balkans, from a war-torn country, and came out (to Australia) with basically nothing," he told Sydney radio.

"You can't deny the fact that the reason that Bernie is a pretty good tennis player is that John has been behind the scenes driving him from a young age.

"I just can't understand why, when Bernard has had a lot of success and he's on a decent path and while he's got good people around him including Pat Rafter and the Davis Cup team, why John can't step away, why he feels this need to be so involved."

Bernard Tomic, currently ranked 49, last year created more headlines off the court than on it, including run-ins with police in his sports car and claims he was not trying hard enough.

The 20-year-old recently was recalled to Australia's Davis Cup team after captain Patrick Rafter disciplined him for a lack of professionalism following admissions that he gave less than full effort in matches at New York and Shanghai last year.

Tomic won both his singles matches and clinched victory for Australia in their Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group One second-round tie against Uzbekistan last month.

But he has made a poor start to this year's European clay court season and in his latest match lost in straight sets to Czech veteran Radek Stepanek in the first round of the Madrid Masters.

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TENNIS

IN PICS: Rafa Nadal weds childhood sweetheart in Mallorca

Rafael Nadal married his partner of 14 years, Xisca Perello, at a castle in Mallorca on Saturday.

IN PICS: Rafa Nadal weds childhood sweetheart in Mallorca
Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

Nadal, the 19-time grand slam champion, tied the knot with 31-year-old Perello at La Fortaleza, with a reported 350 guests invited to a private ceremony.

Juan Carlos I, the king of Spain from 1975 to 2014, was believed to be among those in attendance while the Michelin-star chef, Quique Dacosta, was reportedly in charge of catering.

The newlyweds shared some official photos of the day through the Fundacion Rafa Nadal, the NGO the tennis player set up on Mallorca

Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

 

Nadal, 33, met his wife through his younger sister Maribel, a childhood friend of Perello.

They started dating in 2005 when they were both teenagers after meeting several years before.


Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

The couple announced their engagement in January and revealed that the tennis ace had proposed on a romantic trip to Rome last May but chose to  keep the news private.

 

Perello, has always shunned the media spotlight although she has been pictured courtside at some of Nadal’s biggest matches.


Nadal kisses Perello after winning against France's Gael Monfils in the final tennis match at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament in Monaco on April 17, 2016. 

But she isn't always there. In a 2011 interview with The Daily Telegraph, Perello explained: “He needs his space when he is competing, and just the idea of me hanging around and waiting on his needs all day tires me out.

“It would asphyxiate me. And then he would have to be worrying about me… No. If I followed him everywhere, I think there's a risk we might stop getting along.”

She works in insurance and is a business graduate but also serves as project director for the Rafa Nadal Foundation, the charity which Nadal launched almost ten years ago.

In an interview with sports newspaper Marca last year, the world number 2 hinted that he wouldn't be ready to start a family until he had retired from tennis. 

'I keep my commitment with tennis and my happiness', Nadal told Marca. 'I enjoy both in tennis and outside it. I have a girlfriend too and I am not alone to take decisions.

“Having family? I don't know, things are not easy to be predict. At this age, I thought that I would have already been a former player and that I would have started a family.”

READ ALSO: Rafa Nadal donates €1million to help victims of Mallorca floods 

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