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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-17-2003, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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Red face Hewitt to skip Olympics

Hewitt Will Skip Olympics
By Richard Pagliaro
12/17/2003

Lleyton Hewitt has the mettle to medal — he just doesn't have space in his schedule to go for the gold. Stating his quest for another Grand Slam crown — as well as helping Australia defend its Davis Cup championship — are his top priorities, Hewitt announced he will not play in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

The 2002 Wimbledon winner joins girlfriend Kim Clijsters in opting to skip the Olympics, though in his interview with respected Australian writer Leo Schlink published today in The Herald Sun, Hewitt said he made his decision based on his schedule rather than his relationship.

The Athens Olympic tennis tournament will be contested August 15th-22nd with the U.S. Open starting on August 30th. The 2001 U.S. Open champion, who plans to play Los Angeles, Toronto and Cincinnati as tune-up tournaments for the U.S. Open, said his desire to properly prepare for Flushing Meadows played a primary part in his decision to bypass Athens.

"The big thing is when we had the Sydney Olympics in 2000, it was after all the four majors had been played," Hewitt told Schlink. "Athens is being held right before the U.S. Open and it's got the same feeling as the Atlanta Olympics (in 1996) when a lot guys were missing because it was just so close before the U.S. Open. We're fortunate in tennis, I guess, that we're in a sport where we've got the four majors and Davis Cup every year and they're my main goals. I've sat down with (coach) Roger (Rasheed) and we've come up with a schedule designed for me to do well at the Grand Slams and Davis Cup. They're my priorities next year. I would like to win at least one major and help Australia successfully defend the Davis Cup."

Wimbledon finalist Mark Philippoussis — Hewitt's teammate on the Australian Davis Cup team, who has a tattoo of Alexander the Great on his shoulder to recognize his Greek heritage (Philippoussis' father, Nick, is from Greece) — is expected to play in the Athens Olympics.

Many prominent pros have said while they appreciate tennis is an Olympic Sport, realizing their Olympic opportunity is difficult due to an already extensive schedule that stretches nearly 11 months and requires them travel to several continents throughout the course of the year. Former top-ranked players such as Martina Hingis and Pete Sampras never played the Olympics. Andre Agassi, who cites his gold-medal triumph at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as one of his career highlights, did not defend his title at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics.

The 33-year-old Agassi has not announced if he plans to play in Athens. The Williams sisters both struck gold in Sydney as Venus captured the gold medal in singles and partnered with Serena to seize the gold in doubles. Neither Venus nor Serena has played since their meeting in the Wimbledon final in July. Both sisters say they plan to play the Australian Open in January, but have not yet announced if they will defend their Olympic title.

The 22-yearold Hewitt has hopes a shortened season would lead to a longer career. In an effort to prolong his career and focus on his primary pursuits: the Grand Slams and Davis Cup, Hewitt reduced his schedule in 2003 and did not play an ATP event after his quarterfinal loss to Juan Carlos Ferrero at the U.S. Open. Though his ranking as plummeted to No. 17, the move paid off as Hewitt scored two singles victories to help Australia capture the Davis Cup with a 3-1 victory over Spain last month.

Next year, Hewitt plans to play more tournaments. He will open the year at the Hopman Cup in Perth and play the adidas International as preparation for the Australian Open. Following the Melbourne Grand Slam, Hewitt will return home to Adelaide to play in Australia's opening-round Davis Cup tie against Sweden.

Concluding the winter season playing indoors in Rotterdam, Hewitt will travel to the States for the American spring hard-court season where he will begin his quest for a third consecutive Indian Wells title before moving on to Miami where he can pick up points after his opening-round loss to Franceso Clavet in 2003.

Traditionally, Hewitt has produced solid results playing on American hard courts. He had a disappointing clay-court season this year and could win valuable ranking points before Roland Garros in 2004. Hewitt plans to play either two or three clay-court tournaments before Paris, which may include Monte Carlo, Rome and/or Hamburg.

A first-round upset victim at Wimbledon this year, the three-time Queen's Club champion has scheduled the Stella Artois tournament and Wimbledon as his grass-court events before traveling to North America for the summer hard-court season.

A passionate and patriotic supporter of the Australian Davis Cup team, Hewitt has posted a 23-5 singles record, including a 5-0 singles mark this year, in a Davis Cup career that started in 1999. He needs two singles victories to eclipse Australia's Davis Cup record for most career singles victories. Adrian Quist currently holds the record for most singles wins with a 24-10 singles record in a nine-year cup career that began in 1933.

While he recognizes the prestige of playing in the Olympics, Hewitt said the team competition of Davis Cup makes it a more meaningful event.

"For athletes in many other sports, the Olympics are the be-all and end-all," Hewitt told Schlink. "It comes around once every four years for them and it's understandably huge. For a tennis player, you can pack up your bags after losing at the Olympics and be on cloud nine two weeks later if you've had a win in New York. For me, Davis Cup is about representing Australia in a team sport and I love it. Although you're still representing Australia at the Olympics, you're doing it as an individual."

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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-17-2003, 05:15 PM
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Re: Hewitt to skip Olympics

Interesting. BTW, I'm sure I read months ago that Agassi wouldn't be competing at the Olympics.
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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-17-2003, 05:22 PM
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and Agassi hasn't played Davis Cup in a while, so i dont even think he's eligible. and he's said it many times that he wasn't gonna play the Olympics

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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-17-2003, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hewitt to skip Olympics

Agassi seems like the type for something like the olympics he won, so he'd like to leave it open for other people. he says that's why he doesn't play DC anymore.

I dunno though, it seems like the Olympics would be a great preparation for the USO but whatever Lleyton lol

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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-17-2003, 11:34 PM
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Re: Hewitt to skip Olympics

Just more proof that Olympics don't mean very much to the majority of players.

The fact that Hewitt isn't willing to sacrifice his performance in *one* grand slam for the sake of a event that happens once in 4 years surely shows that.

And Hewitt is one of the most devoted players to his country as well.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-17-2003, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hewitt to skip Olympics

Well it's up to individual players. It's not like some of the other sports, where the Olympics are the pinnacle. Lleyton's right - they have the Grand Slams and Davis Cup every year, but for most of the summer sports the Olympics is the top. Some tennis players clearly find it important though. I guess it depends on how a person is exposed to the Olympics their whole life. To me it's really important no matter what and I know that if I were a tennis player who could play at the Olympics, I'd play no matter what, because I love the Olympics and think they're important. In fact, outside of tennis, the Olympics are pretty much the only sports I ever watch.

If Lleyton doesn't feel that way, that's his perogative.... oh well it'll just be one less player in the way of some of our faves who WILL be there

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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-18-2003, 12:09 AM
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Hewitt should just only play the two masters and then the event and then the Open. I mean comes on what about the guys who go to Long Island the week before the Open, that doesn't mean they will be too tired to play the Open and not go far. Hewitt probably doesn't want to girl since his girlfriend doesn't want to go.
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-18-2003, 04:25 AM
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Re: Hewitt to skip Olympics

If only Roddick would join him Just kidding, I want Roddick good and tired before the USO Just kidding again... that didnt' work so well this year

Sincerely - DARN IT! I was really hoping to see Hewitt on my box. *ahem*

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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-18-2003, 04:29 AM
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Re: Hewitt to skip Olympics

I can't imagine wanting to pass up an opportunity for an Olympic Medal, regardless of what sport it was in.

But I guess the players think differently.
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-18-2003, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Re: Hewitt to skip Olympics

Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterQ
I can't imagine wanting to pass up an opportunity for an Olympic Medal, regardless of what sport it was in.

But I guess the players think differently.
Exactly.

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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-18-2003, 04:57 AM
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i guess different players do think differently towards different tournaments....like guga who says that an olympic medal will complete his career....whereas we have here hewitt who do not think so highly of an olympic medal....but its quite difficult to judge cos hewitt is still young n 4 yrs later he might have a different opinion n wanna go for an olympic medal....i guess its about prioritization in their careers rite now....im not so sure...just my 2cents worth.....whatever it is....i think every tournament in 2004 will be very exciting.....

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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-18-2003, 05:38 AM
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Re: Hewitt to skip Olympics

ook so he can act like a hero by *sacrificing not playing tournaments to play his best for his country in DC* blah blah blah ...he just wanted to play golf but newayyyy and i know DC isnt the same as the olympics but if that were true and playing for Australia means SOOO much for him then yeah thats why he thinks USO is more importnant than representing aus in the olympics?!?!


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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-18-2003, 07:11 AM
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Re: Re: Hewitt to skip Olympics

Quote:
Originally Posted by esther
ook so he can act like a hero by *sacrificing not playing tournaments to play his best for his country in DC* blah blah blah ...he just wanted to play golf but newayyyy and i know DC isnt the same as the olympics but if that were true and playing for Australia means SOOO much for him then yeah thats why he thinks USO is more importnant than representing aus in the olympics?!?!

yes that is strange, if Hewitt is so patriotic and commited to DC then why skip the olympics?
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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-18-2003, 07:25 AM
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Re: Hewitt to skip Olympics

Most of the top players don't really seem to wanna play the Olympics cos it's so close to the US Open... i'm glad Hewitt is not playing the olympics, it means i don't have to see him on tv (thank god)!
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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 12-18-2003, 07:33 AM
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Re: Hewitt to skip Olympics

lol
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