LONDON—Bernie Tomic is receiving backing from some fellow players, who say he should not have been fined all his first-round prize money at Wimbledon.
Tomic fell 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in less than an hour and was fined $56,000 when the referee decided he had not performed up to the "required professional standard."
"That's touchy because they will do that with him and not with others, and I think it's a little bit too much," said Tsonga, also suggesting it detracted his own play. "It's like me was just here and I just won because they said he didn't play enough"
Tomic, 26, has frequently been accused of tanking during his career, and the tournament also fined him part of his prize money for not meeting the standard in 2017.
"Bernard definitely has a history of playing matches with less effort, let's call it that way," said Djokovic. But when you tell me now the score and what has happened, and I followed it a little bit the last few days, I don't think it's fair to take all his prize money away.
"If there is a fine, that's okay. If there is a judgment from the organization, the tournament, the referees office that he was not putting as much effort as he was supposed to, which I also understand. It's not nice for the crowd, the other players that maybe would want to be in the position to fight to get to the second round.
"I have to see obviously his behavior, movement on the court, how much effort he put in. He deserved his right to be in this tournament. He's a top 100 player. He's worked all year to be here. He deserves most of that prize money, I would guess."
Kyrgios also cited Tomic's style of play, saying, "I think people kind of when they watch Bernard, they just think because he moves a little slow, plays the game a little slower, he doesn't look maybe as engaged."
Kyrgios, who has had an up-and-down relationship with his fellow Australian, expressed concern for Tomic.
"He earned his right to be in the draw. He played the whole year. He's obviously winning enough to be at the most prestigious tournament in the world. To take all his prize money I think is outrageous," he said. "I just hope Bernard is all right."
A player's level of effort is also difficult to assess. "It's a very slippery slope," said Stephens. "And when you start doing that and being the judge of what happens.
Grand Slam events began enforcing the rule more strictly in the first round a couple of years ago, when players were allowed to keep half their first-round prize money if they withdrew. The move was to reduce the amount of injury retirements and poor performances from players who were playing just to collect the prize money.
French Open officials also fined Anna Tatishvili her first-round prize money for a 6-1, 6-0 defeat, saying she did not not meet professional standards.