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Hewitt's Wimbledon preparation in tatters
By Darren Walton
13:56 AEST Wed Jun 13 2012

Like a recurring nightmare, tennis giant Ivo Karlovic and his terrifying serve have returned to haunt Lleyton Hewitt and leave his Wimbledon preparation in tatters.

The 2.08-metre Croatian unleashed a ridiculous 22 aces in nine service games to send a bewildered Hewitt out of the Wimbledon lead-up event at Queen's in the opening round.

The demoralising loss came nine years after Hewitt declared Karlovic was "serving out of a tree" when he consigned the South Australian to a place in the history books as the first defending champion ever eliminated in the opening round at Wimbledon.

Hewitt was equally exasperated on Tuesday after Karlovic rocketed down four consecutive aces in the first game alone and never let-up in the 6-3 6-2 pounding.

"It's not really a tennis match in some ways when you're playing against a guy like that," Hewitt said.

"The rallies and the skill in the other form of the game is totally out of your control."

The defeat left Hewitt desperately short of match practice less than a fortnight out from the start of the grasscourt major.

The former world No.1's only other competitive outing since undergoing career-saving toe surgery in February was a first-round French Open loss on clay last month.

Hewitt admitted it was impossible to know where his game was at after Karlovic wiped him off the court in barely an hour.

"It doesn't give you a chance to do a lot of things," he said.

"You can't assess where you're at, at the moment. I can't assess my movement. So it's just a frustrating day, all up.

"There were plenty of better draws for me to get some matches under my belt."

The 31-year-old dropped out of the world's top 200 this week for the first time in his distinguished career and had to rely on a wildcard - which he received two hours before playing Karlovic - to confirm his Wimbledon entry.

With only a couple of exhibition matches on his schedule next week, Hewitt will use his exclusive membership to the All England Club to hone his grasscourt game before the tournament's June 25 start.

"I have been using it the last two weeks," he said.

"It works well for me. I can sit in there and have a cup of tea with all the other members.

"It's always nice being around the place and practising there and I'm fortunate enough I can walk in there as a member. Yeah, it's the best tournament there is.

"If there's one place you feel like things can open up for you, it's probably there for me."

While Hewitt is out, fellow Australian Matthew Ebden enjoyed a 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 first-round Queen's win over German Matthias Bachinger and next faces Croatian sixth seed Marin Cilic.


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