Date: June 29 2012
We have our problems, sure, but the prime reason for Australia's Wimbledon shocker is the very same reason why the proud and successful tennis nation has struggled to excel at the grand slams for the best part of 25 years.
Unlike the glory days of the 1950s and '60s, tennis is no longer dominated by Anglo-Saxons.
Australia now has to battle with 60-odd countries for grand slam spoils. It's a fact.
It's no longer carte blanche for Australia and the United States with traditional tennis minnows like Cyprus, Belarus, China and Belgium suddenly challenging for - and winning - majors.
Switzerland, Spain and Serbia - not just in the men's game - are the modern-day super powers.
The Russians are no longer coming. They've already arrived.
For all its vast financial investments in recent years, Australia can no longer possibly boast the depth to have a dozen players in the world's top 100.
There are obviously other factors at play, too.
It's common knowledge within the game that Australian tennis lost a generation of players during the '80s and '90s when officials took their eyes off the ball.
Tennis Australia has since developed one of the best junior foundations in the world - but the damage was done by previous administrators.
The juniors are coming but, as the Newcombes, Woodbridges, Fitzgeralds, Rafters, Roches, Stosurs and Woodfordes and company keep saying, ''it takes time''.
A once-in-a-generation talent like Lleyton Hewitt can paper over the cracks with a decade of grand slam excellence.
But 2003 Wimbledon runner-up Mark Philippoussis is the only other Australian man to make a major final in the past 10 years.
Likewise, with the exception of Alicia Molik's six months in the sun, dual grand slam finalist and reigning US Open champion Samantha Stosur has been Australia's only women's player challenging for the big trophies since the early '80s.
Many countries can't even claim one. The truth is, this perceived disastrous Wimbledon showing from Australia has been a long time coming.
But it's not all doom and gloom.
Only three weeks ago, Australians were rejoicing as Stosur closed to within two wins of holding two grand slam titles at once.
Now the obituaries are being written because of one really poor slam. But Australia is not alone.
Where would America be without the Williams sisters or Andy Roddick? Well, exactly where it is right now - in a major title drought as the veteran US stars struggle in their twilight years.
Imagine Switzerland sans Roger Federer or Martina Hingis.
Take Novak Djokovic and Jelena Jankovic away and where will Serbia's next No.1s come from?
Probably in the same boat as Australia right now - waiting for happier days ahead and for the next champion to emerge. AAP
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