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Unfit Tomic looks like a "lost soul", says first coach

By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Bernard Tomic looks like a "lost soul" out on the tennis court and is simply not fit enough to compete at the top level of tennis at the moment, according to his first coach.

After a breakthrough year in 2011 and rising to number 27 in the world earlier this year, Australian Tomic has suffered a slump in form and a long run of first round losses.

Neil Guiney, who nurtured Tomic's talent from the age of seven, said he could barely watch his former protégé play anymore.

"There is no inventiveness, there is no change of game," Guiney told the Australian newspaper.

"There is just this constant plod, plod, plod. I think that is in his mind. He is not fit enough to do what he is trying to do and once his bubble is burst or he loses a set, it just gets worse. You don't see him dig in.

"It is every match now. I can hardly bear to watch him. He is not out there fighting. He is going through the motions and going nowhere."

That lack of staying power has earned the German-born 20-year-old the nickname "Tomic the Tank Engine" and problems with police off the court have only compounded his miserable year.

With Australian tennis still looking to Tomic as their great hope for the future, there have been several calls for him to dump his father John as coach.

Guiney said he thought the relationship now looked "dysfunctional".

"One of his problems is Bernard knows a lot more about it than his father now," he added. "His father is there calling the tune and screaming and yelling and Bernard just shuts his ears.

"So you have got a terrible situation there. He is out of his depth and I think John is out of his depth."

Tomic, who turned 20 only last week, reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year and put in an impressive performance against Roger Federer in the last 16 of the Australian Open at the start of 2012.

After his recent run of form, though, Guiney said it was time for Tomic to make some tough decisions about his future.

"He is just floundering at the moment," the 80-year-old said.

"He goes out there and he is really not competing. Once the pressure really comes on, he just folds. No one knows exactly what is going on in Bernard's mind, but he looks to me like a lost soul out there.

"There is a hell of a lot at stake at the moment and he is really at that point in the road where he has got to take stock."

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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