Bernard Tomic is feeling the heat as the training and public expectations ahead of his home grand slam event mount in Perth.
The Australian No.1 was forced to fight back from a set down to fend off Italian Andrea Seppi 4-6 6-3 6-2 at the Hopman Cup on Tuesday.
But it was not enough for the host nation with Italy taking the deciding mixed doubles 6-3 6-4 to quash Australia’s title hopes.
Tomic had practised five hours on Monday and a two hours more before taking on Seppi and the effects were clear when he dropped the opening set.
He struggled to level the tie at 1-1 after Sam Stosur earlier lost her fifth match in a row to Flavia Pennetta 6-4 6-4.
“This week is a training week for me. I’m playing a little bit tired, but who cares,” said Tomic.
“At the end of the day, I’ve got to push myself. I know I was feeling a bit tired out there, but it’s only going to make me stronger for the big one in a few weeks.”
Stosur said she was frustrated but not letting consecutive singles defeats get her down ahead of her home grand slam.
The 2011 US Open champion, lost to Canadian Eugenie Bouchard on Saturday and could not muster a set against Pennetta, swatting 26 unforced errors in the process.
“It’s disappointing not to get a win again. But I thought I played some good tennis,” Stosur said.
“Every year I’ve managed to play well at some point. It’s not like you start not so well and then your whole year is shot. Time on court is the most important thing at the moment and that’s why this tournament is so great.
“I’m still pretty happy with the way I’m hitting the ball. There’s room for improvement, but I don’t think it’s the worst start I’ve ever had.”
Session 7: Italy 2 -1 Australia
Flavia Pennetta (ITA) bt Samantha Stosur (AUS) 6-4 6-4
Bernard Tomic (AUS) bt Andreas Seppi (ITA) 4-6 6-3 6-2
Flavia Pennetta/Andreas Seppi (ITA) bt Samantha Stosur/Bernard Tomic (AUS) 6-3 6-4