"I didn’t have a childhood." We learnt a lot about Bernard Tomic last night.

The African jungle has a knack for making humans who don’t know each other engage in deep and meaningful conversations.

Just you, a bunch of other ‘celebrities’, and millions of Australians watching from the comfort of their living rooms.

Last night’s episode of  I’m A Celebrity was no different – we heard from Bernard Tomic, the young, promising Australian tennis player with an attitude problem. And a foot in mouth problem.

Yes, the 25-year-old admits he does enjoy thinking about/making/counting his millions. But at what cost?

Speaking to his fellow I’m A Celebrity contestants on Monday night’s episode, we got a glimpse of the kind of life Tomic’s been leading since before he finished primary school. One of wealth and success, but also sacrifices.

Image: Channel Ten.

"You guys have got to remember that I didn’t have a childhood, I didn’t have a life since I was eight, nine-years-old. I didn’t come from anything,” Tomic told AFL premiership player, Josh Gibson, who made a point of challenging Tomic's attitude to tennis.

"I think people just don’t realise that tennis is a very isolated sport, it’s an individual sport — it’s not soccer or basketball where you can rely on your teammates. Ever since I was young, I played for the love and respect and it just became a business since I was 17.

This revelation came only moments after an interview airing on The Project, in which he admitted he sometimes regretted getting into tennis, that he didn't love it, and that he found the "grind" stressful.

But despite the impression his actions in recent years - 'tanking' matches, his ongoing feud with Tennis Australia, and that underarm serve at the Vienna Open - has given us about a comeback, Tomic on I'm A Celebrity said he wouldn't be happy to retire just yet.

"If you retired now would you be honestly happy with everything you have achieved in the game?" Gibson asked him.


"No," Tomic replied, before going on to blame his career performance on the better players around him.

LISTEN: If young tennis players are not okay, then whose responsibility is it? (post continues after audio...)

"I could’ve been top five, I could’ve won some (grand) slams if I would’ve played back 10 years ago, I would’ve been top three in the world. But now in the last 10 years, you’ve got these three or four guys that control the sport... there’s a lot of good players out there.

"Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, those four guys control the game."

This expected attitude hasn't sat well with the other celebrities in the jungle so far. Gibson, like Tomic, has experience in what it takes to be a successful athlete, and pushed back when Tomic was quick to fall into the trap of blaming others for his failings.

“Exactly. Could have, would have, should have,” Gibson told Tomic bluntly.

"I tell you what you need in your corner? You need someone who is going to keep you on track (mentally) and everywhere else in your life. It’s going to start in here, it’s going to start with challenges, it’s going to start with doing sh*t in the camp, it’s going to start with training with me. I’m going to push you, make you feel uncomfortable."

Croatian-born Real Housewives of Melbourne star, echoed a similar sentiment.


"I come from where your family come from, your dad and you mother made you work your f*cking arse off... I know it, I get it because I grew up like that. but you've got to stop using that as an excuse," she said.

A 'Bridge Too Far' challenge challenge later in the show involving being suspended over a narrow bridge wearing upside down goggles saw Tomic become the first ever Aussie contestant to say the words, "I'm a Celebrity, get me out of here!", threatening to leave the jungle to... get back to tennis.

"I just wasn’t expecting all of this, you know. I am just not coping well. This is not the real world,” he said. "This is the jungle. This is so different. Not what I expected. I don’t think I can do it. I think it is best if I go.

"There is no point in me being here anymore and wasting unnecessary time for myself because I need to be out there playing and competing."

In a pre-recorded interview with Carrie Bickmore, we also heard contradictory comments from Tomic about his playing future on Monday night's episode of The Project.


"Yeah, probably,” he said when asked if he regretted getting into tennis in the first place.

"The grind with everything and I mean taken, you know, 18 years already. It’s stressful, it’s not easy, it’s a big job. I don’t love tennis but I like it a lot and it’s something that I need to do and I need to do as best as I can."

If there's anything we can learn from what we've seen of Tomic in the jungle so far, it's that there's a whole lot going on under the bad attitude exterior we don't know about. Over the next few days and weeks, maybe we'll find out.

Sure, whatever has happened in Tomic's past by no means excuses his poor behaviour on and off the court. But it does warrant him a bit of compassion.