‘He Didn’t Have The B***s’: Australian Open 2022 Finalist Max Purcell Criticizes Lleyton Hewitt and Tennis Australia Over Wildcard Selections

Published 02/06/2022, 11:29 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 28, 2022 Russia’s Daniil Medvedev remonstrates with the umpire during his semi final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Morgan Sette

Rafael Nadal made tennis history at the Australian Open by winning his 21st Grand Slam. On the other hand, the Australian crowd had another big reason to celebrate.

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis became Grand Slam doubles champions for the first time. This came at the end of an enthralling run, where the childhood friends entered as wildcards into the Happy Slam.

On their path to Grand Slam glory, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis got many shocking wins. Not only were they an unseeded pair at the major, but they managed to topple the fifteenth, sixth, third, and first seeds.

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Now, their finalist opponent Max Purcell has voiced his disagreement with the current wildcard system.

Several players want Tennis Australia’s wildcard rules to change

Lately, many players on the tour have begun questioning the process of giving wildcards to players. In fact, Max Purcell, one of the finalists in the Australian Open 2022 doubles final, has echoed this concern.

Players have voiced concern about the lack of transparency or accountability in the process Tennis Australia employed in giving out wildcards to players. Since there are no apparent criteria for the decision, there is now a rising call to overhaul the system.

Moreover, Australian player Thomas Fancutt agrees with the sentiment, too. “There is no clarity for players,” he stated in an interview. Furthermore, another unnamed player expressed how no one understands “what the requirements are to get a wildcard.”

In fact, they even stated how “guys who have no titles or good results get the wildcards.” Similarly, there are “guys who have great results who don’t get them (wildcards).”

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Thus, the Director of Performance for Tennis Australia, Wally Masur, responded to the criticism. He defended their wildcard selection process, stating that Tennis Australia’s goal through wildcards is to push players into the top 100 of the world.

Australian star Max Purcell vocally opposes snub into the main draw

Max Purcell, a rising young star from Australia, had expected a wildcard entry into the main draw of the Australian Open 2022. However, Tennis Australia did not grant him one, due to which he had to play qualifiers.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis – Men’s Singles – Round 1 – Ariake Tennis Park – Tokyo, Japan – July 25, 2021. Max Purcell of Australia in action during his first-round match against Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada. REUTERS/Edgar Su

Sadly, he could not make it into the first round, after losing in the second round of the qualifiers. Even Fancutt revealed that many on the tour expected Purcell to get the wildcard and play in the main draw.

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“[It]was poorly handled,” said Fancutt about the issue. Max Purcell himself called the players who were given main draw wildcards ‘Lleyton’s boys’. Purcell accused former player Lleyton Hewitt of playing favorites when it came to the selection process.

I guess he didn’t have the b***s to tell me in person,” Purcell had stated, when it came to light that Hewitt had not informed him of his wildcard snub ahead of the Australian Open.

Clearly, what players want is for the wildcard selection process to be transparent, and the criteria made public. However, Wally Masur says that Tennis Australia will deal with the matter internally, seeing as the major is now over.

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What are your thoughts about Purcell’s opinions? Should there be more transparency regarding main draw wildcards?

WATCH THIS STORY: 5 Rafael Nadal Shots That Made Commentators Go Wild at Australian Open 2022

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Samarveer Singh

470 articles

Samarveer Singh is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. Holding a degree in English Literature and a diploma in Fitness Sciences and Training, Samarveer is obsessed with tennis and basketball. He is also an automotive writer at HotCars.

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