Australian tennis suffered a humiliating wipe-out yesterday with all six of their men’s singles hopefuls eliminated in the first round for just the second time since World War Two.
Bernard Tomic’s lacklustre straight sets loss to Mischa Zverev, in which he later claimed he was “bored”, was followed by a stronger effort from Thanasi Kokkinakis who pushed Juan Martin del Potro hard before losing in four sets.
But Jordan Thompson was the final Australian to lose in the first round with a reverse to 25th seeded Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Nick Kyrgios, Andrew Whittington and John Millman all lost on Monday.
“That hurts,” said Kokkinakis, when the overall performance was pointed out to him.
“Obviously a few of us have played some tough players. Everyone has got their own reasons. Obviously Nick is hurt. Bernie had a tough one. John played Rafa (Nadal).
“Draws are a bit of a part of it. But I don’t know, maybe we didn’t all collectively play that great, but everyone’s got their own reasons to why they didn’t perform,” he said.
Kokkinakis was dismissive of the suggestion that there may be an institutional problem in Australian tennis.
“No, that’s just trying to make something – no, not at all. We just didn’t play well,” he said,
The only other time since World War Two when Australia failed to have a second round men’s participant was in 2012 and the result is a major disappointment for a country that has the third largest number of Wimbledon champions.
Australia has 21 Wimbledon men’s singles champions, bettered only by the United States and Britain.
In the open era, Australia has had six winners, second only to the US. But the country’s last men’s winner at the All England Club – or in any grand slam event – was Lleyton Hewitt who won Wimbledon 15 years ago.