Image © 2012 AAP One / Ella Ling
The sad passing of Australian tennis is the talk of Wimbledon but Lleyton Hewitt and Todd Woodbridge insist reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.
Losses for Hewitt, Bernard Tomic and Matt Ebden on Tuesday left Australia without a men's singles representative in the second round at the All England Club for the first time in 74 years.
The sobering statistic reverberated around London's famous grass courts like one of the 61 thunderous winners French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga struck in his 6-3 6-4 6-4 dispatch of Hewitt.
But despite conceding he was unsure if he'd return for a 15th title push in 2013, Hewitt said Australia's worst men's campaign since World War II needed some perspective.
"Obviously the boys didn't have the best day today," said the 31-year-old former world No.1.
"There's a lot of different reasons it could have been - draws, match-ups, whatever.
"But at least 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."
Still, whichever spin is put on it, Australia is now without a player in the second round of the men's singles for the first time since 1938.
And the British press are revelling in the fact, with Hewitt even asked if Australian sport in general was on the decline a month out from the London Olympics.
"I think we'll go all right in the Olympics. We've never been too afraid of the Poms, I'll say," Hewitt fired back.
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