Tennis Australia president Steve Healy says it’s appalling that Lleyton Hewitt’s name has been unwittingly dragged into the ongoing match-fixing saga.
Hewitt was one of 16 players on a list bandied about on blogs of those believed to have played in matches involving alleged suspicious betting activity following a BBC and Buzzfeed report on the issue.
The Australian warrior lost the deciding rubber of the 2011 Davis Cup World Group playoff in five tight sets to Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in Sydney.
“I watched the whole of that match and (Hewitt) tried as hard (as he could),” Healy said on Wednesday of the match which Wawrinka won 4-6 6-4 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 6-3.
“It was unbelievable he got as close as he did.
“He was playing on one leg, he’d barely played a match all year and still he got close.
“You couldn’t fault his effort and in the end he said publicly it was the only match he’d ever cried after (because) he was so devastated he’d lost the fifth and deciding rubber.
“To throw his name out, I think it’s just shocking.”
Speaking at the announcement that tennis’s governing bodies were funding an independent review of the sport’s integrity unit, Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) chairman Paul Kermode slammed the naming of players when there was no evidence of any wrongdoing.
“Lleyton Hewitt, as we all know, is one of the greatest competitors of all time,” said Kermode.
“I’m not sure he’d give his mother one point when he was playing.
“However that can’t just stand alone.
“We’ve had examples of other great sportsmen where everyone’s refuted that there has been any wrongdoing.
We need to go out and prove it.
“What I don’t like is names are attached based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever.
“I think it’s deeply unfair, deeply damaging to the players.”
Speaking last week after his career-ending loss to David Ferrer in the second round of the Australian Open, a furious Hewitt said it was “a joke” that he even had to address the issue of match fixing.
“Obviously, yeah, there’s no possible way,” he said.
“I know my name’s now been thrown into it. I don’t think anyone here would think that I’ve done anything corruption (sic) or match fixing.
“It’s just absurd.
“For anyone that tries to go any further with it, then good luck. Take me on with it.”