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Last Updated: Monday, 23 June, 2003, 19:26 GMT 20:26 UK
Wimbledon's greatest shocks
By Dan Warren

Lleyton Hewitt
Hewitt has gained an unwanted tennis record at Wimbledon
Lleyton Hewitt's demise in the first round at Wimbledon to unknown Ivo Karlovic was the worst-ever performance by a defending men's champion.

But as he contemplates a couple of weeks away from tennis, the Australian can take some comfort from the fact that he is not the only returning champion to suffer at SW19.

True, no other men's champion has ever gone out in the first round during the Open era - and it has only ever happened once in the tournament's 126-year history.

Grim statistics indeed but Hewitt's exit, although surprising, is not entirely unprecedented.

As recently as 1999, defending women's champion Martina Hingis was stunned as 16-year-old qualifier Jelena Dokic - then ranked 129 in the world - won in straight sets 6-2 6-0.

Many would argue Hingis' defeat was even more ignominious - at least Hewitt managed to take a set.

Wimbledon legend Steffi Graf also suffered first round misery in straight sets as defending champion to Lori McNeil in 1994.

Remember Peter Doohan? Boris Becker certainly does, as the Australian did for him in the second round at Wimbledon in 1987 - the only other time in the Open era that a defending men's champion has been sent packing before the fourth round.

And Hewitt's exit is not even the first time Australia has been rocked by the loss of one of its big stars.

Rod Laver rolled into Wimbledon in 1970 with an eye on his third successive title and with 31 wins under his belt.

He then suffered the ultimate indignity, in losing - not to a Croatian qualifier - but a Brit.

Roger Taylor beat him in four sets in one of tennis' biggest-ever shocks.

Hewitt can also take solace in the tribulations of another Wimbledon favourite, Stefan Edberg, in 1990.

Edberg was the number one seed in both the US Open and French Open that year - and crashed out of both tournaments in the first round.

But the Swede responded by lifting his second Wimbledon crown later that year, and went on to win the US Open in 1991 and 1992.

Whether Hewitt can bounce back in such spectacular fashion, however, remains to be seen.





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