Shock start to Wimbledon as top seed is knocked out

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The Independent Online

Lleyton Hewitt yesterday became the first defending men's champion since 1967 to lose in the first round at Wimbledon when the top seed was dumped from the Grand Slam event by an unknown Croat.

Ivo Karlovic, who is ranked 203rd in the world, took two hours and 24 minutes to defeat Hewitt 1-6, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Centre Court. At 6ft, 11 inches, he is almost a foot taller than the Australian. Hewitt, however, has amassed career earnings of more than £10m, compared to the £93,500 mustered so far by his unlauded opponent.

Karlovic, 24, is playing in his first Grand Slam tournament.

Britain's Greg Rusedski progressed into the second round with a straight-sets win - 7-6, 7-5, 7-6 - over Alexander Waske, of Germany, to set up a match with Andy Roddick, the American number-five seed, who also won yesterday.

The only other time a defending champion has suffered such an aborted title defence was 36 years ago when Manuel Santana went out to Charles Pasarell.

The victorious Karlovic said afterwards that his height had always been "his little difficulty''.