Max Purcell happy to play qualifying despite attack on Lleyton Hewitt


Max Purcell says he had no issue playing Australian Open qualifying, despite launching a furious attack on Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt earlier in the week over the subject of wildcards.

Purcell claimed Hewitt wasn’t brave enough to tell him in person that he’d missed out on a wildcard into the main draw, and would instead have to go through qualifying, information that Purcell alleges he had to find out through Tennis Australia’s Wally Masur.

Purcell was a member of Hewitt’s ATP Cup squad last week.

“I guess he didn’t have the balls to tell me in person,” Purcell said on Monday.

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The world No.174, a former Australian Open doubles finalist, lost in the second round of qualifying, going down 7-6, 7-6 to Jiri Lehecka.

Speaking after the match, Purcell was asked if Tennis Australia had been in contact with him about his allegations.

“Yeah, but I don’t really want to talk about it,” he replied.

But the 23-year-old was at pains to point out that he didn’t think he was above qualifying.

“I’m not bothered about not getting a wildcard at all,” he explained.

“I’m perfectly fine playing qualifying. I have to go through qualifying in all of the other slams through the year.

“I mean, I want to beat these guys in qualifying. I want to earn my spot in the main draw. No hard feelings there.

“I got a match win, I lost my second match, but I’m feeling a lot better on the court right now.”

Purcell come through qualifying to reach the main draw of the 2020 Australian Open, while he earned a wildcard into the 2021 US Open, ironically losing to Jannik Sinner in the first round of both tournaments.

At last year’s Australian Open qualifying tournament he was eliminated by Aslan Karatsev, who then made a stunning run to the semi-finals of the main draw.

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