Hewitt’s Wimbledon preparation in tatters

Saturday, 16 June 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Like a recurring nightmare, tennis giant Ivo Karlovic and his terrifying serve have returned to haunt Lleyton Hewitt and leave his Wimbledon preparation in tatters.

The 208cm Croatian unleashed a ridiculous 22 aces in nine service games to send a bewildered Hewitt out of the Wimbledon lead-up event at Queen’s in the opening round.

The demoralising loss came nine years after Hewitt declared Karlovic was “serving out of a tree” when he consigned the South Australian to a place in the history books as the first defending champion ever eliminated in the opening round at Wimbledon.

Hewitt was equally exasperated on Tuesday after Karlovic rocketed down four consecutive aces in the first game alone and never let-up in the 6-3 6-2 pounding.

“It’s not really a tennis match in some ways when you’re playing against a guy like that,” Hewitt said.

“The rallies and the skill in the other form of the game is totally out of your control.”

The defeat left Hewitt desperately short of match practice less than a fortnight out from the start of the grasscourt major.

The former world No.1’s only other competitive outing since undergoing career-saving toe surgery in February was a first-round French Open loss on clay last month.

Hewitt admitted it was impossible to know where his game was at after Karlovic wiped him off the court in barely an hour.

“It doesn’t give you a chance to do a lot of things,” he said.

“You can’t assess where you’re at, at the moment. I can’t assess my movement. So it’s just a frustrating day, all up.

“There were plenty of better draws for me to get some matches under my belt.”

The 31-year-old dropped out of the world’s top 200 this week for the first time in his distinguished career and had to rely on a wildcard - which he received two hours before playing Karlovic - to confirm his Wimbledon entry.