London: Outgoing champion Lleyton Hewitt was a couple of hours late donning the headgear as he faced up to becoming only the second men’s titleholder ever to crash out of Wimbledon in the opening round.
Facing the world’s media after Croatian qualifier Ivo Karlovic stunned him, a baseball cap-clad Hewitt might have reflected he needed such protective equipment in the face of some monster serves conjured up by his giant opponent.
“I’d never seen him play though I tried to find out as much as possible. I knew he had a big serve,” said 22-year-old Hewitt of Karlovic, two years his senior but with zero experience of the big stage.
“I can still sleep — but you wake up frustrated sometimes. It’ll probably sink in tomorrow more than today.”
Meanwhile, Karlovic said he had started scared but finished full of self-belief. “I was a little bit lucky but that’s life,” he said.
Meeting the press proved to be as daunting as stepping out onto Wimbledon’s Centre Court and taking on the defending champion. “I have a speech difficulty but I try to work to be better,” he told a media conference as he battle a stutter to explain what was by a long way the biggest win of his career.
So how would his homeland take Karlovic’s victory'
“Back home for sure it’s going to be a big story,” Karlovic said with an amused twinkle in his eye. (Reuters)