Lleyton Hewitt has dismissed claims he is a spent force and insists he is capable of rediscovering his best form and reclaiming the top ranking in the men's game. The 25-year-old has been plagued by injury problems in recent months and there have even been whispers he could consider retiring from the sport.
However, Hewitt - now ranked 18th in the world - has brushed aside any such talk and insists he is focused on challenging for and winning the game's biggest prizes once again next season.
"I was number one or two only a year and a half ago, so I feel like I can still get back up there," he stated.
"What drives you is watching guys like (Roger) Federer and (Rafael) Nadal playing out most of the finals.
"I want to get up there and have another crack at those guys, and hopefully next year not only my ranking improves, but I'll also be at the business end of the Slams again.
"I still feel there are small errors in my game that I can work on to become a better player."
Hewitt's former Davis Cup colleague Patrick Rafter had recently claimed that his compatriot would struggle to again hit the heights of earlier in his career because of his physical problems.
But Hewitt feels he is well capable of overcoming the series of niggles that have hampered his form and laughed off fears he had been contemplating retirement.
"I only saw Pat's comments earlier,” he continued. “Pat and I know each other so well, but this year things have been hard regardless because I've had so many niggling injuries and that's hard on anyone, especially in my style of game.
On retirement, he added: "I don't know, I've got no idea - you sort of see as you go, but retirement's definitely not in my plans right at this minute.
"This year has been tough, but you can't really do much about it when you roll your ankle. It's pretty unlucky and that happened four days before the French Open, lingering over until Wimbledon two weeks later.
"It had a bit of a snowball effect. My knee probably got a bit worse because my ankle put my whole body out of balance.
"Now is the time for me to do some proper rehab. I'm treating it like a pre-season to get myself in as good as possible shape, not only for the Australian summer next year, but for right through the year."