Hewitt admits overnight match was detrimental


Melbourne : Lleyton Hewitt admits that the Australian Open may have got it a bit wrong by starting his weekend match with Marcos Baghdatis at nearly midnight.

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After ending with a third-round win at 4:40 a.m., the proud Aussie refuses to blame his fitness as a factor in his loss in the next round to Novak Djokovic.

“Obviously, I could have probably slept all day yesterday (Sunday) if I had my choice,” he confessed. “But obviously I had to get up at some stage and do rehab and prepare as well as possible. But it wasn’t the ideal finishing time.”

With Wimbledon and Paris holding only day sessions – though some can finish as late as 10 p.m. in the French summer light – Melbourne and New York remain the Grand Slam venues where all-nighters are possible.

“Yeah, it’s not ideal. But then again, you know, backing up the next day’s not ideal either. So, you know, what’s better? I don’t know,” Hewitt said.

“(Juan Carlos) Ferrero and (David) Ferrer had to back up and play two days in a row. We’ve done that at Wimbledon. It’s not the easiest thing to do. It throws your body clock out a little bit more, finishing so late.”


Shanghai to get a taste of Open on public big screen

With speculation growing that cash-flush Asian entities are considering a bid to move or rotate the Australian Open into the region, fans in Shanghai will get a close look at the on-court action on the final weekend.

The Chinese commercial capital, with a population of 16 million, is one of three sites that will broadcast giant-screen images from the Open, along with Sydney and Melbourne itself.

The Shanghai site, in the high-traffic Century Square, Nanjing Road pedestrian mall, will include live entertainment before and between matches and is expected to attract a million spectators from Friday through Sunday’s men’s final.

“There is just so much interest in our event in Asia, we thought the time was right for such a venture,” Tennis Australia boss Steve Wood said.

As well as Australian Open finals matches on the big screen, the Shanghai entertainment will include live bands, hip-hop dancers and cheering squads.


Fly-girl Jelena hopes to take control over Melbourne

Jelena Jankovic is hoping to alleviate her various aches and pains with a shot of adrenaline with a helicopter run over Melbourne during her Wednesday’s day off at the Australian Open.

But it might not be just a simple pleasure flight for the smiling Serb who upset defending champion Serena Williams in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

Instead, Jankovic is planning a possible hand-on approach, actually taking control of the chopper.

“I did it last year in Auckland and I drove (flew) my mom and some friends in the back,” explained Jankovic. “They turned so pale, they were so scared. They couldn’t wait until they landed.

“But it’s so much fun. I love doing that, and I want to see Melbourne from the top. It will be a nice experience, but I don’t know if I do it now or when I end the tournament.”

Upon contemplation, Jankovic might have been stretching the truth just a touch about her piloting skills. “I have a lot of friends here, and they keep telling me they want to take me on a helicopter, and they want me to drive (fly) them. I don’t know how safe is that.”