Australian men once dominated Wimbledon. This year they failed to win a match.
Aussies went 0 for 4, including a loss on Tuesday by 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt. That means no Australian man in the second round, the first time that has happened since 1938.
During a 12-year span from 1960 to 1971, Australians won the Wimbledon men’s title 10 times. But in recent years they’ve experienced a decline similar to the United States, with South Americans, Eastern Europeans and Asians increasingly competitive as tennis becomes more global.
Aussies Bernard Tomic and Matthew Ebden also lost on Tuesday.
“The boys didn’t have the best day,” Hewitt said. Tomic, who reached the quarterfinals last year as an 18-year-old qualifier, lost to Belgian wild card David Goffin. Ebden was beaten by Benoit Paire. Another Australian, Marinko Matosevic, lost to Xavier Malisse on Monday.
“The three guys that played today, I know we could have beat a lot of guys that are still going in the tournament,” he said. “That’s just how it falls.”
“I didn’t do a lot wrong really,” he said. “Probably as good as I could have done today, really.”
“At the moment I’ve been focusing on getting back this year, doing everything right with my foot and rehab to get back to here,” Hewitt said. “I’m proud of myself of what I’ve been able to do, all the hard work it has taken to get here. I’d like to be back here, absolutely, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
The winner of 555 matches in his career, Hewitt is only lately becoming accustomed to early exits at tournaments. He’s still not used to the experience.
“It’s like missing the cut at any golf tournament,” Hewitt said. “I can only go out there and do what I could do out there today. I didn’t get handed the best draw. I’m sure there are a lot of guys in the tournament that I probably could have got through today.”