Bernard Tomic’s $1 million ‘I’m a Celeb’ boast
BERNARD Tomic has reputedly boasted of being offered more than a million dollars to appear in I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here after his Australian Open hopes nosedived with organisers ignoring the fallen star for a wildcard.
Melbourne Park is awash with rumours Tomic's lack of tennis motivation is linked to a lucrative invitation to appear in Network Ten's reality show set in the African jungle.
Tomic, 25, did not return calls to News Limited but he has allegedly bragged to fellow Australian players of being presented with a seven-figure sum to appear in the show.
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The Queenslander has tumbled from No 17 to No 140 and will need to qualify if he wants to contest the January 15-28 Australian Open.
The Wimbledon quarter-finalist has often boasted about his wealth, regularly indulging a penchant for lavish parties and expensive cars.
But those close to the Gold Coaster are concerned for his financial welfare.
Network Ten, which distanced itself from reports Tomic had been approached for I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here, is believed to be close to starting filming of the 2018 series.
If Tomic has committed to the show, it would explain his lack of interest in chasing an Australian Open wildcard.
He knocked back Lleyton Hewitt's invitation to join a training camp and then is believed to have used disparaging comments towards fellow Australian players when rejecting a call to contest the Australian Open wildcard playoff.
Had he travelled to Melbourne to work out with Hewitt last month, he almost certainly would have earned a discretionary wildcard.
Those hopes have now evaported.
"He's not going to get a wildcard. He'd have to go through qualifying," Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said.
"Qualifying starts next week ... and I would hope that Bernie would want to put himself in a position to play but he's indicated that that's likely not going to be the case."
"We've made the offer [to play in the wildcard playoff]. Lleyton [Hewitt] did," Tiley said. "We said: 'We'd just like you to play the Australian Open wildcard playoff and, if you just make yourself available and play it, you give yourself a good chance to get in'.
"We all know Bernie can play the game. He's had some great wins here. He's one of Australia's top players and we'd love to see him competing and playing."
After reaching the third round of the Open last year, Tomic won just eight more matches in 2017.
He was fined a Wimbledon-record $20,000 after admitting to feigning injury and being "a little bored" during a listless first-round loss to Mischa Zverev at The All England Club.