Say what you will about Bernard Tomic‘s long history of ‘bratty’ behaviour – both on and off the tennis court – but there’s one thing that’s for sure after he became the first ever star to quit the Aussie version of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here: he is clearly troubled.
Just three days into the South African reality TV adventure, the 25-year-old sensationally walked off the show, telling his campmates he had been battling “negative thoughts”. He wanted to instead focus back on his tennis career, which he admittedly neglected throughout 2017.
“I feel my biggest concern is just I did start playing well a few months back and I’m starting to get back into it and I need a lot more time,” he told the fellow celebrities as he bid them farewell.
“I need to be competing and playing in what I do best and that’s why I’ve decided to leave.”
LISTEN: Mamamia Out Loud asks, should we be worried about Bernard Tomic? Post continues after audio.
Speaking to The Project before the episode went to air, co-host Julia Morris said she was “furious” Tomic had quit.
“It is very dramatic. It involves the entire camp,” she said.
“Yeah, he is just a quitter. I thought he was going in there to make a difference.”
Viewers are now fuming after Channel 10 tweeted – and quickly deleted – what many are labelling an ‘insensitive’ tweet just minutes after Tomic left the show.
"Tomic quitting... something sounds familiar here... we can't place it," the message read.
While the show's other co-host, Dr Chris Brown, seemed more sympathetic to Tomic's reasons for quitting - telling the young sports star he "just wants him to be happy" - viewers argued that the network was clearly ignoring the signs that Tomic was not in a good place, mentally.
"Disgraceful tweet. I'm no fan of his, but you seem to have either made a real error putting this kid on," one viewer wrote.
"Or, you did it on purpose knowing the train wreck that could ensue. Either way, shame on you."
— Will (@trillsingh) January 30, 2018
"This tweet is bloody disgraceful. Clearly the time for him to have some arms wrapped around him and given help not publicly mocked by the channel that put him there," another shared.
Despite appearing on the show for just three days, many viewers expressed their sympathy for the star at being so open for his reasons for stepping away from the competition.
@drchrisbrown @ImACelebrityAU He gave it a go & his health is more important. I reckon it takes balls to call it quits especially knowing how people r going to react & what they r goin to say. Depression is an evil thing & we shouldnt judge & bully. ❤ chris u were lovely
— Julie (@julesbaby89) January 30, 2018
Hope people can step back & think about the Tomic situation. He has just said on national TV that he is depressed. He also apologised for letting people down & quitting 'I'm a Celebrity' but that he has the "energy" to get back playing tennis. I'm wishing him well #ImACelebrityAU
— James Willoughby (@jwilloughby26) January 30, 2018
Just because someone is famous doesn't mean they're immune to any mental illnesses. Tomic was brave to notice he had a problem and made the right decision to tackle his depression #Tomic #ImACelebrityAU
— Sahar Mourad ???? (@saharmourad_) January 30, 2018
Listening to, and watching Tomic on #ImACelebrityAU all I can say is that I feel sorry for him.He is a lost person. I hope he gets some help
— FreoLou (@FreoLou) January 30, 2018
Australia: “Why won’t young men open up about how they feel or reach out for help?”
Tomic on national television says: “I am depressed” and *leaves a high stress situation because it wasn’t helping him*
Australia: “Flog” “Quitter”
— Casey Sims (@caseysims_) January 30, 2018
Not everyone is sympathetic towards the tennis star this morning, though, with Aussie great Lleyton Hewitt and Australian Davis Cup team captain saying the sport could do "nothing more" to help Tomic.
"We've made a lot of approaches as part of Tennis Australia - we can't do any more, believe me," Hewitt said, according to AAP.
"The last two years has been a lot of hard work for a lot of people. We've bent over backwards to help Bernie in so many ways.
"At the end of the day you have to want to help yourself. We can only offer an olive branch but you have to be willing to take it."
He added that the 25-year-old "had some work" ahead of him if he wanted to re-join the Australian team.
There is also a resounding call for Tomic to donate money to charity, as for before quitting the show he had been competing to win $100,000 for his chosen cause, Ronald McDonald House.
Retired AFL player Dane Swan, who appeared in last year's season of I'm A Celebrity, urged Tomic to donate $10,000.
Ya got millions Tomic so while your busy counting it all when you get back home how’s bout you donate 10k to your charity that have missed out on much needed $$$. You won’t miss it. That’s all, jog on now bud
— Dane Swan (@swandane) January 30, 2018
During his short stint in the jungle, Tomic opened up to his camp mates - and the Australian public - about "not having a childhood" due to a lifetime of gruelling tennis training.
"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," he told AFL premiership player, Josh Gibson when asked about his constantly changing attitudes towards the sport.
"I think people just don't realise that tennis is a very isolated sport, it's an individual sport.
"Ever since I was young, I played for the love and respect and it just became a business since I was 17."
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