Slow courts hurting Aussies: Hewitt - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Slow courts hurting Aussies: Hewitt

By Sam Lienert 30/12/2004 09:18:57 PM Comments (0)

Australia's top tennis player Lleyton Hewitt criticised the Melbourne Park court surface, linking it to the poor recent showing by the nation's top players in the Australian Open.

No Australian male has won his home grand slam championship since Mark Edmondson beat John Newcombe in the 1976 final, with Pat Cash the most recent finalist, in 1988.

Hewitt, the world No.3, said the home title drought could partly be because Australia's top players fared best on fast courts, whereas Melbourne Park's courts had slowed noticeably in recent years.

He said Australian tennis officials had not listened to his repeated urgings to install faster courts.

"At the end of the day it's their tournament, it's the Australian Open's business how they want the court," Hewitt said.

"But I know the US Open would definitely be going up to (US players) (Andy) Roddick and (Pete) Sampras and (Andre) Agassi and asking them what kind of surface they want and how quick they want it.

"At the end of the day, if one of those guys are in the semi or the final then it's making the USTA a hell of a lot of money."

Hewitt noted that Australia's best three players of the past decade - himself, retired former world No.1 Pat Rafter, and Mark Philippoussis - had all had their best results on slicker surfaces at Wimbledon and the US Open.

"Maybe the court surface has a little bit to do with that," Hewitt said.

Australia's second highest-ranked player, Wayne Arthurs (101), is also best suited to a fast court because of his booming serve.

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