An open letter to Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic who last week declared in a press conference that he’s “bored” with the sport and faked an injury time-out to try to find motivation…

Dear Bernard,

THIS is my favourite time of year because, ever since I can remember, tennis has been my passion.

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Wimbledon is the highlight of the sporting year for me because of the tradition, spectacle, sportsmanship and the magic of seeing legends perform wondrous skills. I love the lawns, chalk, strawberries, Hawkeye, forehands, backhands, volleys, smashes, aces and everything this great event says about England.

But last week I was disgusted while watching Wimbledon, when you announced after your first round defeat that, at the age of 24, you’re “bored” with tennis and struggling to find motivation.

“I couldn’t care less if I make a fourth round or lose in the first. To me, everything is the same. I’m going to play another ten years and I know after my career I’ll never have to work again.” That’s what you told the media.

I wonder if you realise how lucky you are, Bernard. I’ve no doubt you’ve worked hard to get where you are but you’ve earned millions by flying first-class round the world and hitting a ball over a net rather well. You stay in the best hotels and want for nothing.

On the day you announced you were bored with your privileged life, a young man from up here in County Durham was being laid to rest after an inspirational fight against cancer. He was called Kieran Maxwell, he was 18, he lived in a village called Heighington, and, boy, was he special.

He was told six years ago that he had Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, and lost part of his left leg. The following year, he carried the Olympic Torch through Bishop Auckland. They put the torch in the hearse carrying his coffin.

At the funeral service, the Reverend David Tomlinson told the congregation that Kieran coped with his illness by living life “more quickly” than others.

In defiance of his illness and disability, he took up gymnastics to help with his rehabilitation and, within a year, he’d qualified for the national championships.

Oh, and he squeezed in the mini Great North Run, even though he was undergoing chemotherapy.

Last October, he was told there was no hope and he chose not to have any further treatment. However, he continued to inspire so many people. His “final wish in life” was to set up the Kieran Maxwell Legacy  to fund research into Ewing’s Sarcoma. His last thought on earth was that he didn’t want another child to suffer as he had.

So, you see Bernard, it’s not very nice when a rich, spoilt, thoughtless brat like you goes on the telly and spouts off about being bored with playing top level sport, earning millions, and being pampered beyond the imagination of most of us mere mortals.

Quite frankly, it’s disrespectful to those who love the game of tennis and downright offensive to those who simply treasure life.

So here’s the rub, Bernie. You’re still young at 24. You’ve got plenty of time to fulfil your potential. You have a precious gift and, most importantly, you have your health.

Get a grip, Bernie. Stop being an ungrateful, graceless prat. And, if you’re bored, think about Kieran Maxwell, whose motivation was simply cramming as much as possible into his life for as long as it lasted.

WHILE we’re on the subject of Wimbledon, another moan – this time about the media.

Shortly before this year’s tournament, former champion Venus Williams was involved in a car accident in which a man died. She is now facing a law suit from the man’s family.

Understandably, Venus broke down in tears when the subject came up at a post-match press conference last week.
I can understand why the question was asked, but did the BBC really have to show her emotional breakdown over and over again? 

Painful to watch, it felt more like voyeurism than journalism.

JOURNALISTS of the future graduated from Sunderland University today.

As a proud Honorary Fellow of the university, I was at the Stadium of Light for the academic ceremony of the School of Media and Communication Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries.

Congratulations to all the graduates and good luck with the exciting opportunities ahead. Go out there and make a difference.

THAT said, journalism doesn’t always have to be serious. There’s always room for a “funny”.

 My favourite story of the week was about a hamster that was taken to the vet because it hadn’t moved from the side of its cage all day.

It transpired that the hamster had escaped from its cage the day before and was discovered hiding under the fridge.

Upon investigation, the vet found a fridge magnet inside the animal’s cheek pouch. Its inactivity was simply down to the fact that its cheek was stuck to the bars of its cage.

It’s what you call animal magnetism.

The Northern Echo:

FINALLY, back to the thorny subject of motivation.

Well done to Darlington lads Pip Whitehead, James Carter, Phil Waller, and David Coates.

Starting at 4.45am and finishing at 8pm one day last week, they played 72 holes of golf at Blackwell, Darlington, Oakleaf and Rockliffe golf courses.

They raised more than £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. Small change to Bernard Tomic but an effort way above par.