Jack Loutit loses at Wimbledon to Learner Tien
Jack Loutit lost his first round match in the boy’s draw at Wimbledon on Sunday, going down 6-4 6-0 to Learner Tien from USA.
Loutit, who was the first boy to represent New Zealand in the main draw at Wimbledon in 12 years, put up a good battle in the first set, but lost his way in the second against the 16-year-old Tien, who is already ranked 1096 in the world on the men’s tour.
Loutit and Tien played against each other in Bradenton, Florida last December, with Tien winning 6-4 7-6 on that occasion, but this time it wasn’t as close.
Loutit, from Auckland, did start out well, holding serve to love in the first game and he was playing the better tennis early on.
But Tien found his rhythm, looked to pressure Loutit’s backhand and got the break to win a tough first set.
Loutit was broken again in the first game of the second set and although he did have a break point later, he couldn’t stop Tien’s momentum.
"My opponent played really well and he didn’t give me many chances, on his serve especially,” Loutit said of the match.
“I think I could have served better, but maybe the occasion got to me. If I had that match at Roehampton I could have served better and maybe had a few more chances, but credit to the guy, he played really well.”
Loutit felt it took time for both players to get themselves into the match and also figure out each other’s game.
“It’s tricky against another lefty,” Loutit said.
“This is the first left-hander I’ve played in the whole grass court swing, so it took a while for me and him to adapt to the way we played.
“He was coming out on top on those backhand crosscourt rallies and I think that’s a crucial part which won him the match.”
As for the second set, Loutit said he wasn’t able to serve as well as he wanted and that played a part in Tien running away with it.
“I think that just comes down to my serving. I had a low first serve percentage (56%) and he was capitalising on my mistakes,” he said.
“He made it difficult for me to break him, I had one break point in the second set and he hit a tricky serve. Apart from that I didn’t have many chances.”
Despite the loss, Loutit still had two impressive wins in qualifying, which enabled him to be the first Kiwi boy since Sebastian Lavie and Ben McLachlan in 2010 to make it into the main draw at Wimbledon.
“It’s a great experience and hopefully in a few years’ time I can be back here for the men’s event,” Loutit said.
Loutit will play in the boys doubles at Wimbledon with Australia’s Edward Winter on Monday and they’ve been drawn against British wildcard recipients Patrick Brady and William Jansen.
The 18-year-old Loutit has spent just one week in New Zealand over the last nine months, having to stay overseas because of the border restrictions, which he admits hasn’t always been easy.
“I’ve really enjoyed it and some of the experiences I’ve had have been amazing,” he said.
“But obviously you miss being in your own bed and seeing your friends and family, that’s the tough part about it.
“But I definitely don’t regret what I’ve done the last nine months, it’s been really fun.”