Beaten Hewitt wins plaudits as triumphant Kyrgios loses fans
IT WAS was never going to end any other way.
In his final appearance at Wimbledon, 13 years after he claimed the title by thrashing Argentine David Nalbandian in their final, Lleyton Hewitt fought tooth-and-nail for more than four hours before going down to Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 3-6 6-3 4-6 6-0 11-9.
Admitting he came close to shedding a tear, Hewitt said the match symbolised his trademark competitive spirit.
"That pretty much sums up my career," he said. "I guess my mentality, going out there and, you know, (having a) never-say- die attitude. I've lived that the 18, 19 years I've been on tour."
While the 33-year-old was given a rousing send-off by an appreciative crowd on court two, young countryman Nick Kyrgios did his best to get more fans offside in his 6-0 6-2 7-6 win over Argentine Diego Schwatrzman.
After disputing a line call in the third set, the 20-year shouted "dirty scum" before telling the chair umpire he wasn't going to play on until a supervisor came out.
The No.26 seed eventually consented to continue but again raised eyebrows in his post-match press conference when asked whether he thought he would be fined for his "dirty scum" comment. He insisted it was directed at himself.
"It wouldn't bother me one bit," he said. "I play my sport the way I play it. I'm not going to change. I think the sport needs characters. It's good when the crowd see someone raw."
Kyrgios, one of five Aussies to win on the opening day, will take on another Argentine, Juan Monaco, in the second round.
Bernard Tomic, Matt Ebden, John Millman and Sam Stosur also progressed.
Millman produced arguably the biggest upset of day one, beating 19th seed Tommy Robredo 6-2 6-3 6-4 to set up a clash with Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis.
Six Australian players - Thanasi Kokkinakis, Marinko Matosevic, John-Patrick Smith, Luke Saville, Hewitt and Daria Gavrilova lost their first-round matches.
- APN SPORTS BUREAU