The 27-year-old, who has earned over $6 million in prize money but seen his ranking plummet to 183 in the last two years, lost 7-6(4) 6-3 to American Denis Kudla.

Tomic first questioned the chair umpire about the regulations concerning match conditions when trailing 5-4 in the first set and then took a medical timeout while trailing 1-2 in the second, where a doctor cleared him to resume playing.

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"No air's going in, I'm getting tired so easy," Tomic told the trainer and doctor during the timeout. "It's not like I'm the fittest guy... I just can't breathe."

No stranger to controversy, Tomic - who did not receive a wildcard for the year's first Grand Slam - simply appeared to stop running for points as Kudla wrapped up the encounter in 68 minutes.

Tomic, a rising star in the junior circuit who won the 2008 Australian Open boy's singles crown, once saved five match points as a 15-year-old in the first round of the men's qualifiers.

He was fined 45,000 pounds ($58,455) last year at Wimbledon for not playing to "required professional standards" when he lost in straight sets to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a 58-minute first round match.

Tomic was not the only player to struggle with bushfire smoke though. Slovenia's Dalila Jakupovic collapsed in a coughing fit and retired from qualifying after smoke plunged Melbourne's air quality to "hazardous" levels.

($1 = 0.7698 pounds) (Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru)

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