Paul McNamee left on his own: Hewitt
LLEYTON Hewitt does not believe his feud over the Australian Open court speed was a factor in Paul McNamee's resignation as tournament chief executive.
Tennis Australia will today begin a global search to replace McNamee, who stepped down after 12 years in the job.
Hewitt, who yesterday reached the Tennis Channel Open final in Las Vegas, has been at loggerheads with McNamee for the past 15 months over the Open courts he blasted as being too slow.
But Hewitt played down the significance of the spat, echoing McNamee's view that the dispute had no influence on his decision to leave the Australian Open.
"I think (McNamee) has been considering his future for a while," Hewitt said.
"He's been reportedly linked to a couple of other jobs and probably felt he'd run his race.
"I think he's done the right thing in regard to the timing.
"It makes sense to give somebody else a chance to take over in plenty of time."
Tennis Australia will meet in Sydney today.
McNamee had been expected to attend the meeting, but he will remain in Melbourne to brief staff.
McNamee, 51, has transformed the Open from a relatively lowly standing behind Wimbledon and the French and US Opens to equal partnership among the grand slams.
He introduced a string of initiatives, none more significant than a men's singles night final and equal prizemoney.
He also played down his feud with Hewitt yesterday.
"I've always respected that every player, including Lleyton, had a perspective that they're entitled to," McNamee said.
"But the only thing I can do in my role in management is always do what I really believe is best for the tournament.
"So I don't pull back from that responsibility of what's in the best interests of the tournament, even if it won't be what everybody wants.
"It's very difficult to juggle those things.
"From time to time things happen, that's the way it goes. But it's certainly not part of this decision which is really me wondering, obviously I'm in middle-age, what's ahead in my life."
His reign was highlighted by record crowds and unprecedented television ratings as the tournament exploded globally.
The two positions to which McNamee is rumoured to have aspired were Tennis Australia's chief executive position - since filled by former player Steve Wood - and leadership of the ATP, vacated last year by Mark Miles.
The ATP role has gone to South African Rhodes scholar Etienne de Villiers.
McNamee will continue as co-tournament director of the Hopman Cup in Perth.
Do people really believe Lleyton??