three months of aussie buzz starts today. w00t?

He said, he said: Apparently, Lleyton Hewitt was snubbed by Aussie up-and-comer Bernard Tomic when the former No. 1 asked to hit with the U.S. Open 2009 junior champ sometime before Wimbledon. It was recently revealed by the Tomic camp that the request was turned down because of swine flu.

”I mean, if I get the chance, look, I would love to,” Tomic said, referring to hitting with Lleyton. ”He’s an idol and an icon for Australian tennis. I was watching him as I was growing up, a lot, and I loved his game and it would be a pleasure to hit with him any time, anywhere, I think.”

The Hewitt entourage counters that Tomic just went with someone else — Juan Carlos Ferrero — and thinks that the ailment excuse is all hogwash.

Wait — is this even news? Why was this published? Oh, that’s right — the organizers of the Australian Open have officially “launched” the tournament (how does one “launch” an event?), which means we’ll have media squeezing Aussie lemons to make tart, sour tennis lemonade like this Tomic/Hewitt row (thanks, The Age!) between now and January 18, 2010, when the event begins. Brace yourselves, folks.

On the flipside: There are a few things to get excited about. First, a wonderful teaser ad (click above) using the blue tint of the Melbourne Park courts as a motif. Second, the return of our Belgian munchkin Justine Henin. Third, the Woodies — Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge — get inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame. And fourth, Pat Rafter and Goran Ivanisevic will play a rematch of their ’01 Wimbledon final (which Ivanisevic won 9-7 in the fifth). Squee!

(Tomic photo via The Age; AO ad screengrab from YouTube)

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