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Michael Russell blames publicist for Facebook rant against Lleyton Hewitt

Michael-Russell-1 Michael Russell made it to the semifinals in Newport, where he lost to eventual champion Nicolas Mahut. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images)

A post on Michael Russell's personal Facebook page, published Sunday under his own name, called two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt "a douche bag and a racist."

Both men were in Newport, R.I., last week for the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. Russell lost to Nicolas Mahut 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals; Hewitt beat defending champion John Isner 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 to make his second straight Newport final, where he lost to Mahut 7-5, 5-7, 3-6. Rain washed out Saturday's semifinals, so both the semifinals and final were played on Sunday. Hewitt said the quick turnaround left him fatigued in the final.

The post, which has since been deleted, also criticized Hewitt for making excuses in the final.

Lleyton Hewitt - what a douche bag and a racist by the way too. From ATP website: 'It’s disappointing,' said Hewitt. 'If I could’ve had a day off and come back and played the final, I reckon things would’ve been different. All in all it was a good week. Can’t do much about it. I had the tougher side of the draw, with the semi-finals this morning, I paid the price for that.' Really, so serving at 7-5, 5-4 for the Championship all of a sudden you got tired. How about you just choked and stopped making excuses. I would have loved to see Mahut/Hewitt on the side court 1 at Newport and see how many excuses Lleyton would have made then.

Russell says it was his publicist who posted the comment without his approval.

http://twitter.com/MRusselltennis/status/356615824326410240

http://twitter.com/MRusselltennis/status/356619339895545856

"To be 100% clear about recent statements on my Facebook page regarding Lleyton Hewitt, unfortunately, my publicist posted those statements without my knowledge or approval," Russell tweeted Monday. "However, I realize it is my responsibility to monitor each and every statement before being posted on my Facebook page, and I hope Lleyton, my fans, and the tennis community will accept my apologies for any misunderstandings caused by my failure to do so. From here on out, I will monitor my page very carefully, making sure all statements made on it are mine. –Best, Michael"

The Facebook post caused a firestorm of activity on Twitter, but the biggest news was not that the 35-year-old Russell may or may not have insulted Hewitt. The most shocking revelation in this whole mess is that the 81st-ranked Russell has a publicist.

http://twitter.com/RD_Tennistalk/status/356619042058018816

http://twitter.com/donelleumali/status/356762971256537089

http://twitter.com/jontownend1/status/356756094162444290

http://twitter.com/tumcarayol/status/356697501555900417

UPDATED: Russell tweeted that he's apologized to Hewitt for the comments. "I have personally apologized to Lleyton for the comments made on [Facebook]," he wrote in a series of tweets. "Anybody who knows me knows I would never say these harsh words. I have the utmost respect for Lleyton as a player, person, husband and father."

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