The Age’s tennis writer Linda Pearce beat us to the punch with this one, writing a massive two-part series about how sick that sport is, locally. We think she didn’t go hard enough. With Lleyton Hewitt, on one leg, as our only legitimate contender in any Grand Slam and tumbleweeds blowing through the place where star juniors are supposed to be, Australian tennis has never looked so sick. Once we start falling through the qualifying divisions of the Davis Cup, on top of what appears to be years of misery at major tournaments ahead, public interest will drop off even more. No wonder the Australian Open is now billing itself as the “wonderful world of tennis”. Where’s Pat Rafter when you need him? Other sports or events not travelling too well include NBL basketball, Melbourne’s Formula One Grand Prix, Mark Webber’s win/loss ratio at F1 level (winning percentage: zero) and the next generation of Australian soccer, which looked sort of thin during Asian Cup and junior World Cup qualifying.

Crikey readers say:

“Rugby Union: has lost its way after a terrific 2003 World Cup performance. Wallabies struggle to beat Italy and Wales. Sheesh!” — Jeff Kernahan

“Rugby Union. When Australia’s football (soccer) team seems to play better against Italy than its rugby team and can’t beat the Ospreys, something’s clearly wrong.” — Dave Smartt

Peter Fray

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