MELBOURNE - Bernard Tomic bowed out of the Australian Open yesterday with a stinging rebuke of the scheduling, following his fourth-round defeat by Tomas Berdych.
Tomic lost 2-6, 6-7 (3-7), 2-6 on the second show court at Margaret Court Arena, while world No. 3 Rafael Nadal defeated South African Kevin Anderson 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 at centre court, the Rod Laver Arena.
Organisers have been criticised in the past for putting local players in the prime-time spots in the evening, but could not be accused of that yesterday, with Nick Kyrgios playing a twilight match against Andreas Seppi on Margaret Court Arena.
Yesterday's late matches featured women's third seed Simona Halep taking on Belgian Yanina Wickmayer on centre court before Andy Murray's blockbuster clash with Grigor Dimitrov.
Former Wimbledon quarter-finalist Tomic has generally enjoyed centre court treatment at his home Grand Slam but was relegated to the lesser courts this year.
"I spoke to a few people about it. Lleyton as well," 22-year-old Tomic told reporters, referring to Australia's two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt, who was knocked out in the second round at the Rod Laver Arena.
"The scheduling was like ridiculous this year. Like not just from my side, but for many players. I don't know who was in charge of the schedule. Really, some of the matches I saw, it was just like, 'Wow'.
"I didn't mind (my own matches), but some of the other matches I saw I was like, 'What the hell?'
"From what I heard in the locker room, and not just myself, the scheduling was a bit funny."
When asked for comment, organisers referred to Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley's comments last week on scheduling. "Our feedback tells us that we get it right more often than not," he said.
This is not the first time Tomic has slammed organisers over the scheduling.
At the 2010 tournament when he was 17, he lost to Marin Cilic in a second-round match that finished well after midnight and hit out at organisers for not taking into account his age or approving his request for a day match.