Tomic has a history of back trouble and was clearly hindered in the first-round defeat. (AP: Alastair Grant)
Bernard Tomic and Thanasi Kokkinakis have joined an Australian exodus from the Wimbledon men’s singles draws.
Tomic hurt his back midway through the opening set and was clearly hindered in the 6-4 6-3 6-4 first-round defeat by Germany’s Mischa Zverev on Tuesday.
With Nick Kyrgios retiring with a hip injury just two sets into his opener against Pierre-Hugues Herbert and John Millman and Andrew Whittington also losing, the pressure was on Thanasi Kokkinakis or Jordan Thompson to save Australia from a humiliating first-ever Wimbledon first-round men’s wipe-out.
However, Kokkinakis lost out, going down to Juan Martin del Potro 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4.
The South Australian became the sixth Australian to exit in the first round after the 29th-seeded Argentine secured victory with his seventh match point.
Thanasi Kokkinakis went down to Juan Martin del Potro 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4. (AP: Tim Ireland)
Tomic, who reached the fourth round last year for the second time since making the last eight as a teenager in 2011, has a history of back trouble.
The 24-year-old seemed to have jarred it while bending down to attempt an innocuous half-volley.
He dropped serve for the first time soon after to concede the opening set before labouring on for several games until calling for treatment while trailing by a break and 4-3 in the second.
He needed medication but Zverev only needed one more service break in the third set to wrap up the match after just 84 minutes.
‘I was expecting a very tough match’: Zverev
Zverev famously removed world number one Andy Murray from the Australian Open in January and is enjoying a career-high ranking at age 29.
Tomic, though, had beaten the crafty left-hander only last week in Eastbourne, but was unable to combat the German’s 18 aces and 41 winners.
“I thought it was going to be a complicated match because I played him a couple days ago in Eastbourne,” Zverev said.
“I know the way he plays. It’s not always easy because it seems like maybe, let’s say he’s the opposite of, let’s say, Rafa [Nadal] on the court with the intensity level between points especially.
“But he knows what to do on the grass court, knows what shots to use.
“He beat me quite easily a few days ago, so I was expecting a very tough match.”
The Queenslander can now expect to plummet even further down the rankings from his current standing as the world number 59, having soared to a career-high 17th only last year.
Rodionova advances to second round
A battling Arina Rodionova has become the first Australian to advance to the second round, beating Russian 16th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 9-7 on her Wimbledon debut.
In a remarkable contest, the Melbourne-based world number 166 saved seven match points in the second set on the way to claiming the first grand slam singles win of her career.
Rodionova then spurned four match points of her own before dispatching last year’s beaten quarter-finalist on her fifth in a contest that lasted over two-and-a-half hours.