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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 May 2007, 06:35 GMT 07:35 UK
Australian Open plans new surface
Lleyton Hewitt
Hewitt has long been a critic of Melbourne's Rebound Ace surface
Australian Open chiefs are set to scrap the Rebound Ace playing surface in favour of a new acrylic court composition for Melbourne Park in 2008.

The court speed will continue to play medium to medium-fast, but will be firmer and have lower heat retention.

Tournament director Craig Tiley also said the new surface will have more consistent pace and bounce.

Australian former US Open and Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt has long been a critic of the Rebound Ace surface.

The 26-year-old says a faster court would improve his chances of winning his home event.

But Tiley says the court will continue to play at the same speed as the Rebound Ace surface, saying: "The court characteristics will be very similar to what we achieved in 2007."

He added: "The annual review of the courts had to be more extensive this year because of their age and condition. But once it was established that a major rebuild was required, an exhaustive selection process was undertaken."

Tiley also insisted the court was not classified as hard, maintaining its difference from the other Grand Slam events on the calendar.

SEE ALSO
On the rebound
18 Jan 06 |  Rules and Equipment
Tournament chief defends court surface
18 Jan 02 |  Australian Open


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