Hewitt fires out Nadal warning
LONDON –– Lleyton Hewitt has written off Rafael Nadal's chances at Wimbledon and insisted that he can himself put three months of injury hell behind him and mount a serious bid to win a second crown at the All England club.
Hewitt, the 2002 Wimbledon champion, is playing in the traditional warm-up event at Queen's club this week in his first tournament since March.
But he is confident that he can bounce back quickly from the lay-off enforced by surgery on a troublesome toenail and a subsequent fall that left him with cracked ribs.
Those setbacks forced the Australian to miss the French Open, where Nadal's form on his way to victory sparked suggestions he could become the first player since Bjorn Borg to win back-to-back titles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
Hewitt however believes he will still have the edge on the young Spaniard on grass.
"We're on grass now, so the game changes a little bit," Hewitt said.
"He is obviously a hell of a player and his clay court record is amazing. On the grass court he is going to be competitive but he is definitely not one of the favourites."
The 24-year-old added: "I've been looking forward to this part of the season for a while.
"It will be a bonus if I can get some matches under my belt at Queen's but even if I bombed out I still think I've got a good chance of getting through to the second week at Wimbledon and then anything can happen."
Hewitt's opening match at Queen's provided him with a solid workout, the Australian being pushed all the way by Belgian Xavier Malisse before coming through 6-7 (3/7), 7-5, 7-5 on Tuesday.
He next faces the winner of the clash between Davide Sanguinetti of Italy and giant Belarussian Max Mirnyi. –– AFP