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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 January, 2004, 01:05 GMT
Feverish Rusedski sent crashing
Greg Rusedski
I had gastroenteritis and I had a heavy fever last Saturday and Sunday
Greg Rusedski
A dominant display by Albert Costa ended Greg Rusedski's hopes in the first round of the Australian Open.

Rusedski, suffering the after-effects of a fever, was always second best to the 26th seed and lost in straight sets 6-4 6-3 6-4.

The British number two struggled in the blustery conditions, and was unable to get his serve-volley game working.

"I had gastroenteritis and I had a heavy fever last Saturday and Sunday," Rusedski explained afterwards.

"It wasn't the ideal preparation hitting half an hour of tennis balls coming into a major and playing such a good player like Costa," he added.

"That is what made it difficult today - a lot of players have been suffering with it.

"I wanted to at least go out there and give it a go."

After losing an initial break in the first set, Rusedski again had his opponent under pressure at 4-4 and 30-30 on Costa's serve.

But the Spaniard upped the pace and never looked back, breaking in the next game and early in the second set.

Rusedski was also broken at the start of the third, and, despite breaking back once, a second service loss proved decisive.

His attentions will now turn to the hearing into his positive test for nandrolone on 9 February.

"The levels that we're talking about are so minimal and have no use whatsoever," Rusedski said when asked about the case.

"You know, they're just basically levels that there's no benefit there whatsoever.

"Hopefully then I'll have my tribunal and things will go the way I hope they'll go, and then I'll get back to my tennis.

"I am innocent in this situation. I hope that is seen."

Costa gave him his full backing: "He's not the kind of player who needs to take anything," he said.

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