Bernard Tomic’s pressure load just got much bigger.
With eight Australians - including Lleyton Hewitt - frogmarched out of the Australian Open on day one, Tomic becomes the nation’s spear carrier in first round action on Tuesday.
Tomic, who won his maiden title at the Sydney International last week, plays Argentine Leonardo Mayer in the night match at Rod Laver Arena.
And his expectations grew after Hewitt’s Monday night first round exit in straight sets to eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic.
Hewitt led 3-0 in the second set before losing 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 6-3.
Tomic is among seven Australians in action on Tuesday.
But whatever the Gold Coast 20-year-old’s fate, there will be at least one Australian joining Monday’s only local winner, Sam Stosur, in the second round.
Sydney 19-year-old James Duckworth takes on junior Wimbledon winner Ben Mitchell in a first round men’s match, and one has to win.
Both are coached by Australian Brent Larkham, who believes the winner must then take full advantage of their leap into the next round.
“In some ways, it’s extremely disappointing that one of them will be out,” Larkham said.
“But it’s also a great opportunity for one of them to go further in the tournament than just the second round. They’ve got to be looking bigger than that.
“Whoever wins can’t just be satisfied with winning one match.”
Australia’s No.2 ranked male player, Marinko Matosevic, plays Croatian 12th seed Marin Cilic.
Other Australians in action are John-Patrick Smith against Portugal’s Joao Sousa and wildcard Luke Saville taking on Japan’s Go Soeda.
In the women’s singles, Jarmila Gajdosova meets Belgian 20th seed Yanina Wickmayer in the night session.
Four-time Australian Open winner Roger Federer, US Open champion Andy Murray and women’s singles favourite Serena Williams begin their campaigns as well.Federer takes on Frenchman Benoit Paire, Murray has a tricky assignment first-up on centre court against Dutchman Robin Haase, while Williams takes on Romanian Edina Gallovits-Hall.
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