Lleyton Hewitt v Max Purcell, accusation, wildcard

Australian tennis player Max Purcell has hit out at Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt after his Australian Open qualifying win, claiming the former world No.1 “didn’t have the balls” to tell him he had failed to snare a wildcard into the main draw of next week’s grand slam.

The accusation is the latest twist in Purcell’s long-time feud with Hewitt.

“I actually was told I’d know on Thursday … (Then) I’m hearing whispers in the Australian locker room from Lleyton saying something to ‘Crabby’ (Jaymon Crabb),” Purcell said.

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“Then, at like 11pm, I messaged Wally (Masur, Tennis Australia performance director) saying, ‘Mate, I’ve got three hours to pull out of Sydney, otherwise I’ll be stuck playing Sydney instead of qualies. What’s going on?’.

“He’s like, ‘Oh, no, Lleyton was supposed to tell you; I wasn’t supposed to tell you. I told him to tell you considering he was the one who didn’t want you to have it’.

“So, I didn’t end up finding out until 11pm Thursday, because I guess he didn’t have the balls to tell me in person.”

Purcell defeated Russia’s Evgeny Donskoy 6-4 6-2 in a terrific opening-round qualifying performance at Melbourne Park.

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Alex Bolt, Aleks Vukic, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Chris O’Connell are the four Australian men who received a main-draw wildcard, while another went to three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray.

The only time 174th-ranked Purcell has played in the Australian Open singles main draw was in 2020.

The 23-year-old must now fight his way through the qualifying tournament in order to add to that appearance next week.

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