Aussie Men's Crash, First In 78 Years


The boys from Down Under are down and out at Wimbledon.

For the first time since 1938, no Australian man will be playing in the second round of this year’s Wimbledon Open, as  2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt, Bernard Tomic and Matthew Ebden all crashed yesterday.

“Obviously, the boys didn’t have the best day today,’’ Hewitt said. “But at least, the three of us, the three guys that played today, I know we could have beaten a lot of guys that are still going in the tournament. That’s just how it falls.’’

Tomic was the biggest Australian hope after reaching the quarterfinals last year as a qualifier, but lost in four sets to Belgian wild card, David Goffin. Hewitt was a wild card for the first time in his 14th Wimbledon appearance and was overpowered in straight sets by fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

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Ebden was eliminated by Benoit Paire of France, while a fourth Australian man, Marinko Matosevic, lost to Xavier Malisse on Monday.

Hewitt had not lost in the first round at Wimbledon since 2003, when he was the defending champion, but said the depth in men’s tennis is getting better.

“I reckon you saw a lot more comfortable first-round wins in slams and even Masters Series events years ago than you do now,’’ Hewitt said.

The list of Australian tennis greats includes players such as Rod Laver, John Newcombe, Pat Rafter and Pat Cash.

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