Hewitt heroics highlight dearth of Australian tennis


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You may find this hard to believe, but even Tramlines is a little
bored of the seemingly endless debate: "Is British tennis dead?"

And so, on a day when Lleyton Hewitt very nearly caused the shock
of the tournament, Tramlines found conversation turning to the inevitable,
"Whatever happened to Australian tennis?"

Before heading to Halle
to defend his title, Hewitt had not played a match since March as he battled
with injury yet again.

After reaching the quarter-finals in Halle,
the Australian obviously decided he was undercooked heading into Wimbledon and
opted to play at Eastbourne, where he promptly
withdrew (in the opening round) with a foot injury.

Things were not looking good for the 30-year-old heading into the
tournament that he won back in 2002.

And yet, cheered on by the faithful "fanatics", his wife Bec (one for the Home and Away fans) and

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a whole host of Australian talent, his battling performance against fifth seed Robin
Soderling - at one point he was two sets to love up - turned back the clock and highlighted the lack of Australians on the Tour.

There is not a single Australian inside the top 100 on the men's
tour and only two, Sam Stosur and Jarmila Gajdosova, on the women's.

Stosur, who reached the French Open final last year, is having a
pretty shocking season and crashed out in the first round at Wimbledon,
leaving 27th seeded Gajdosova (who adopted Australian nationality in November
2009) as the only remaining woman in the draw.

Gone are the days of Pat Rafter, Mark Philippoussis, Todd
Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, and the early days of Hewitt, when you seemingly
couldn't even sneeze without missing an Australian getting to the latter
stages, or even winning, a tournament.

Bernard Tomic, touted as "the next big thing in Australian
tennis" for some time, is technically still involved in the tournament,
although the 18-year-old was trailing Russia's Igor Andreev by two sets
to one when play was suspended for a lack of light.

Tomic won both the under 12 and under 14 Oran

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ge Bowl titles - one of
the most prestigious on the junior tour - as well as the 2008 Australian Open junior
title and the 2009 US Open junior boys title.

The 19-year-old is definitely beginning to live up to his
potential, having reached the third round at the Australian Open earlier this
year, beating Jeremy Chardy and Feliciano Lopez before losing to Rafael Nadal.

But he can't save Australian tennis on his own. Can he?

It's nice to see other previously tennis rich nations struggling though,
isn't it?! Next time in Tramlines: whatever happened to American tennis!


"They like to put us on Court 2, me and Venus, for whatever
reason. I haven't figured it out yet. Maybe one day we'll figure it out. They (Rafael
Nadal and Novak Djokovic) are never moved across. Actually, Venus and I have
won more Wimbledons together than a lot of the players or by ourselves in
doubles even. I don't make it a big issue, but I think at some point maybe I
should." Watch this space folks, Serena
could be about to kick off a row at the All England Club.


Not technically one photo so much as a series but, you heard it
here first (or shortly after first) this WILL be shot of the tournament in two
weeks time. Hewitt took a tumble going for a low forehand but recovered just in
time to see his ball go for a winner that sealed the game. That's called the
"stop, drop and roll" in some circles!

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