Hewitt hits out at umpiring standards

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/h/hewitt1_ap.jpg' class='caption'> Lleyton Hewitt blasted the standard of tennis umpiring after being bounced out of the Sydney International by big-serving compatriot Chris Guccione.

Updated: January 11, 2008 16:36 IST
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Australia's Lleyton Hewitt blasted the standard of tennis umpiring after being bounced out of the Sydney International by big-serving compatriot Chris Guccione on Wednesday.

Hewitt did not concede a break point but was on the wrong end of a 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/2) loss to his Davis Cup team-mate in their second round match.

"I feel like the (Indian) cricketers, I think. What's going on with all the refs these days? Useless," Hewitt fumed.

Hewitt attacked the overall standard of umpiring in tennis as "pretty ordinary."

"I think central umpires have probably gone into their shell more so since Hawk-Eye (line-calling technology) has come in, which is fine in major tournaments.

"But at the smaller tournaments, where you don't have Hawk-Eye, you have to stand up and make decisions.

"So it's obviously tough for them because one week they've got Hawk-Eye and the next week they don't."

The former world number one now has only practice with his coach Tony Roche to maintain his level for the year's first Grand Slam, starting in Melbourne next Monday.

"I had four break points and I didn't face a break point in the whole match.... I wasn't lucky today. I just hope it all comes together next week."

Hewitt has won the Sydney tournament five times and believes he has done enough work on the court to be ready for his first match at the Open.

"I have to focus on next Monday or Tuesday and getting away to a good start and hopefully getting that first round under my belt and building on that," he said.

"I've done all the hard work and now I've just got to trust what I've been doing.

"You get a lot more chances over five sets (at Grand Slams) than you get against guys like Chris here in a three-setter. That can be a bit of a lottery really," he added.

Leading French star Richard Gasquet says he has to adjust to the heavy tennis balls used for next week's Open after his second round exit.

The world number eight and top seed crashed out to the big forehands of Russian 35th-ranked Dmitry Tursunov, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in just over two hours.

Gasquet, a touch player who knocked out Andy Roddick on the way to losing to Roger Federer in the semi-finals of last year's Wimbledon, said he is at a disadvantage hitting the heavier balls on the slower Plexicushion hardcourt surface of the Open.

"It's the wrong ball for the shoulder. You have to be really strong to play with this ball," Gasquet said.

"It's not my game to be really strong. My opponent today can serve 220-225 kph (136-140 mph) but for me, it's really hard. So the (heavy) balls are not good for my game."

Gasquet said he would have to adjust in practice to the heavier Wilson balls being used at the Australian Open.

Tursunov, who now leads Gasquet 2-0 in head-to-heads, will face Sebastien Grosjean in the quarter-finals after the Frenchman beat Spanish eighth seed Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4.

Veteran Frenchman Fabrice Santoro continued his strong tournament with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis and will next play Russian Evgeny Korolev, who eased past Czech Ivo Minar 6-2, 6-3.

Frenchman Gilles Simon went down to Czech fourth seed Tomas Berdych 7-6 (7/3), 6-2, who will face Guccione.

Meanwhile, Czech Radek Stepanek overcame Italian Andreas Seppi in three sets to set up a quarter-final against either fifth seed Carlos Moya or Argentina's Agustin Calleri.

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