Wimbledon: Lleyton Hewitt and the Plight of Australian Men’s Tennis

For the first time since 1938 there will be no Australian men in the second round of Wimbledon.

Between the years of 1960 and 1971 there were 10 Wimbledon victories by Australian men, notably by Rod Laver in ’68 and ’69 and John Newcombe in ’70 and ’71.

Now there is chat of there being a lot less fight in the game from the Australians. None of the Australian participants won a game. 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt had to enter the competition as a wildcard, but was swept aside by 5th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Hewitt has had two hip surgeries of late and has played few matches this season due to foot problems anyway, but he looked labored and unable to pull of the running shots he has been famed for. He is also known as a fiery character –he has had some well documented run ins with officials and problems with speaking out of turn –but it now looks as though the 31-year-old may struggle to compete again.

A wildcard for the Olympics as well, Hewitt has plenty of tennis still to play. It just depends if he has the drive to make it to 2013’s Wimbledon championships. Talking to the press he finished up by saying, “I’d like to be back here, absolutely, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Marinko Matosevic, Mathew Ebdon and 2011 quarter finalist Bernard Tomic also lost.

Tomic rose to prominence as he made the latter stages as a qualifier last year. Tall and keen he stood out and drew praise for being the youngest quarter finalist since Boris Becker.

This time round, though, the 19-year-old crashed to a four set loss to Belgian wildcard David Goffin. He cited laziness, poor training and distraction as his reasons for underwhelming the Wimbledon crowd. He was also called up by the umpire for racquet abuse.

Is this not a fitting metaphor for the current malaise of Australian men’s tennis?


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