Hewitt scores an early win at Australian Open LLEYTON Hewitt has scored an early victory in his attempt to win his first Australian Open title next January. Organisers of the grand slam event today conceded that the court speed in the opening week of last year's tournament was slower than desired, and that steps would be taken to ensure that was rectified next year. Hewitt has been an outspoken critic of the slow court speed and the 'tacky' playing surface at Melbourne Park in recent years. The former Wimbledon and US Open winner has made the final of his home grand slam just once, in 2005 when he was beaten in four sets by Russia's Marat Safin. Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said yesterday that he was committed to ensuring all courts played at a uniform speed throughout the two-week tournament that starts on January 16. But he was at pains to point out that the complaints from Hewitt and his entourage about the sluggish pace had not influenced the decision to resurface all of Melbourne Park's courts next month. "The perception was certainly that during the first week (last year) courts were slower than the second week,'' Tiley said yesterday. "Our objective, from day one, is to have uniformity and consistency throughout the tournament." Total prize-money for the event has increased five per cent to $20 million, with the singles winners each to pocket $1.28 million.