Sydney: Teenager Bernard Tomic, the "next big thing" in Australian tennis, has finally arrived after his stylish victory over Robin Soderling at Wimbledon, according to Australia`s press.
Tomic, 18, became the youngest men`s player to advance to the Wimbledon fourth round for 21 years on Saturday after downing two-time French Open finalist Soderling 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 with a showing that belied his teenage years.
Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker has hailed Tomic as a star in the making, while six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer rates Tomic as one of the brightest young prospects in men`s tennis.
"Tomic, for so long the next big thing, has finally arrived," The Sydney Morning Herald said.
"And just in the nick of time, with Australian men`s tennis in the doldrums and Lleyton Hewitt, the lone flag-bearer for years, nearing his expiry date."
Tomic will supplant former world number one and two-time major winner Hewitt as Australia`s top-ranked player when the next rankings come out after Wimbledon.
The Herald said Tomic`s straight sets demolition of world number five Soderling was no fluke.
"He dismantled the injured Swede mechanically and with the smarts of a player who had been on a grand stage many times before," it said.
"Its significance for tennis in Australia should not be understated. Tomic was already highly thought of in global tennis circles as a potential star but the excitable mutterings post-Soderling were of him being destined for the top five."
Tennis Australia, under pressure to reverse the nation`s tennis decline, will be relieved by Tomic`s progress at the All-England Club, Australian Associated Press said.
"There will be audible sighs of relief coming out of Tennis Australia that their golden, and sometimes troublesome, child has delivered ahead of schedule," AAP said.
"With Hewitt fading away, Australian tennis has made a huge effort to pull Tomic firmly to its bosom by providing him with wildcards for Grand Slams when, based solely on his rankings, he might not have been the most deserving."
Becker, the youngest-ever winner of the Wimbledon men`s singles title at 17, said he was "very impressed" with Tomic`s performance.
"First time I have seen him play live. I tell you, a star in the making. I really liked the way he played, his composure. I expect a lot more from him," said Becker.