MELBOURNE, Australia -- The headlines were as unforgiving Wednesday morning as the fans who booed Bernard Tomic the night before.
As a result, the 21-year-old Australian, who pulled out of the Australian Open's most anticipated early-round match against top-seeded Rafael Nadal after the first set, said he needed to come back and explain himself.
Accompanied by his doctor, who confirmed that Tomic had a groin tear and saved himself several additional months of recovery and a place in the Davis Cup tie against France later this month, the talented and controversial player said he felt he had no choice.
"I think it's important for me to come out like this," he said. "A lot of people showed up last night expecting a very good match. A lot of people paid their tickets. It's disappointing for that to happen.
"The form I was in, I was ready to challenge Rafa and, unfortunately, this happened. I felt like I got booed a little bit on court, which was pretty unfair. I just needed to get my side out, which is, you know, obviously the truth, and it's important."
An Australian man has not won here since 1976 and Tomic, the most talented of the Aussie up-and-comers, has taken his lumps locally for, among other things, his nightlife and the behavior of his father John, who has been banned from ATP World Tour events for one year after a physical confrontation with his son's practice partner.
But Tuesday night, Tomic said he was judged unfairly.
"I think I was misunderstood," he said. "Obviously they thought I was shaking Rafa's hand because he's too good and I'm forfeiting the match because I can't play against him. So I needed to say it was my leg. I don't think they quite understood it was my leg. And after, when I started to sort of explain that with my hand signals, they sort of it turned around into an applause."
It did not help Tomic that the match preceding his was a five-setter by Australian hero Lleyton Hewitt, who even in defeat drew the admiration of the locals.
Tomic, currently ranked 57th, said he can't win.
"People expect you to be 10 in the world now, 5 in the world, it doesn't work like that," he said. "You look at the players now in the top 10, they're the best tennis players to ever live playing in one sort or era.
"You have amazing top-10 players. It's difficult to get there. You have to earn the position. It's difficult to get in the top 15, top 20. You have to work for it."