PARIS: Bernard Tomic limped out of the French Open on Tuesday pledging loyalty to his controversial father while fellow tyro Grigor Dimitrov confidently targeted the Roland Garros title.
On a day when the schedule was curtailed by more than four hours because of rain, the 20-year-old Tomic found himself at the centre of attention.
After retiring from his first round match against Victor Hanescu with a muscle tear, the world number 61 launched a passionate defence of his father and coach John Tomic who is facing criminal charges in Spain after being accused of assaulting his son's training partner.
“My dad is in Paris, he's still my dad and he will remain my coach. I love him a lot,” said Tomic, who dropped the first two sets against Hanescu before quitting in the third to hand a 7-5, 7-6 (10/8), 2-1 win to his Romanian opponent.
John Tomic was banned from attending the tournament after he was accused of attacking Thomas Drouet, in Madrid on May 4.
Drouet was left with a broken nose after a brawl outside the hotel where players in the Madrid Masters were staying.
Meanwhile, highly-rated Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, dubbed 'Baby Federer' because of his similar style to the 17-time Grand Slam winner, went through when Colombian opponent Alejandro Falla retired with the Bulgarian 26th seed 6-4, 1-0 to the good.
The 22-year-old Dimitrov, the boyfriend of Maria Sharapova, could face world number one Novak Djokovic in the third round.
“These are the kind of matches I'd always want to play in. I feel good on the big courts and playing against good players,” said the Bulgarian, who beat Djokovic in Rome and pushed Rafael Nadal to three sets in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals.
Dimitrov will attempt to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time when he faces French wildcard Lucas Pouille, the world number 324.
World number 83 Kimiko Date-Krumm, who played her first Roland Garros in 1989, three years before Dimitrov was born, probably wished it had kept on raining on Tuesday.
The 42-year-old Japanese lost 6-0, 6-2 to Australian ninth seed Samantha Stosur, the 2010 runner-up and former US Open winner.
Date-Krumm became the third oldest player to compete in women's singles in the tournament, Martina Navratilova holding the record at 47 and 232 days from her 2004 showing.
Fully 57 players in this year's women's singles draw were not even born when Date-Krumm made her Roland Garros debut.
“Stosur is so strong and she's a specialist on clay,” said Date-Krumm.
“Today she didn't make mistakes because I couldn't put her under pressure.” Djokovic begins his campaign later Tuesday against Belgian opponent David Goffin.
Top seed Djokovic, the runner-up to Nadal last year, has already defended his Australian Open in 2013 and halted Nadal's attempt to win a ninth successive Monte Carlo Masters last month.
The Serb needs a French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam.
Elsewhere, in the rain-hit programme, French women's number one Marion Bartoli, the 13th seed, needed three hours and five match points to beat Olga Govortsova of Belarus, 7-6 (10/8), 4-6, 7-5.
Bartoli, a semi-finalist in 2011, also saved two match points. She goes on to face Colombia's Mariana Duque-Marino.
Three-time semi-finalist Jelena Jankovic, the 18th seeded Serb, beat Slovak veteran Daniela Hantuchova 6-4, 7-6 (9/7) and next plays Spain's Garbine Muguruza.