Bernard Tomic has squarely taken Lleyton Hewitt’s place as Australia’s favourite tennis player after bushing off 13th seed Alexander Dolgopolov in five sets to advance to the fourth round of the Australia Open. In doing so, he’s guaranteed the 7 Network a whole heaps more “one time” watchers.

It took 19-year-old Tomic a thrilling three hours and 49 minutes to overcome one of the craftiest players on the tour. Three hours and 49 minutes that of time well spent, especially for the 7 Network, who are now looking at a mouth watering match up between Tomic and arguably the greatest player in history, Roger Federer. And they can lick their lips even more because they know people around Australia, no matter how into tennis they are, will likely watch at least a set or two of the match up. Such on occasion brings to mind the term “sports slut”.

It’s a term many partners will pull out during special occasions like this, or last years Tour de France, or 2010’s final round of the F1 World Championship when Mark Webber almost took the ultimate prize. These occasions draw the one time watchers who are only in it for the glory, not for the ride. But does that make them any less of a real fan? Does that, indeed, make them a “sports slut”?

The question is, should we be more passionate about any sports Aussies are involved in throughout the year, or is it acceptable to bring out the cheers and enthusiasm only at certain times? As far as the 7 Network is concerned, and indeed all media that cover the Aussies, it’s far easier to have “sports sluts” as there are only so many pages or minutes they have to cover the news. The flip side is, though, that it makes it hard for those Aussies trying to break into sports that aren’t typically followed as mainstream sports Down Under. Take Webber for example – you could find him picking up five cent pieces on most weekends prior to his breakthrough into F1.

OK, that might be a bit of an over-exaggeration, but it brings up a good point. While “sports slutting” is OK, we need to remember that continual support is needed. And it can probably be as easy as following athletes on Twitter or liking them on Facebook. So when the Tomic dust has settled at the end of the Australia Open, remember, he has the rest of the year and three other Slams to go…