Adelaide: Lleyton Hewitt on Wednesday launched legal action against the sport’s governing body, the ATP Tour, claiming $1.5 million in damages, his manager said.
Lawyers for Hewitt lodged papers in the South Australian Supreme Court suing the ATP for defamation, Hewitt’s manager Rob Aivatoglou said.
The legal action comes just days before Hewitt begins the defence of his Wimbledon crown and stems from a long and acrimonious battle between Hewitt and the ATP.
Hewitt is claiming $1 million for lost international endorsements and sponsorship contracts, as well as $500,000 for his Australian losses.
It was sparked by an ATP decision to fine Hewitt $103,000 for failing to do a television interview in the lead-up to a US tournament in August last year.
The ATP said Hewitt had breached his contract by failing to do what it said was a compulsory interview, while Hewitt said he had fulfilled all of his contractual requirements.
Hewitt launched an appeal, and an ATP appeals committee upheld the ATP decision but reduced the fine to $20,000.
That failed to satisfy Hewitt, who said last month that only a public apology and an admission that the ATP had been wrong to fine him would prevent him from launching legal action.
The ATP refused, saying the committee had made its decision and the issue was now settled.
Legal papers lodged by Hewitt’s lawyers on Wednesday claimed that the ATP had irreparably damaged his reputation within the general and tennis community, ABC Radio said.