Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Re: hewitt-russell, who will win?
he hasnt withdrawn, but he thought he might have been forced to:
Australia's No.1 player Lleyton Hewitt said he feared being forced out of Australian Open 2007 because of a tumultuous build-up which involved him losing a coach and sustaining a one-and-half-centimetre tear in his calf.
Hewitt revealed his recent split with coach Roger Rasheed and his being forced to miss the Medibank International in Sydney due to injury nearly derailed his 11th Open campaign.
"I'm not hiding it's not the best situation to be in coming into a Grand Slam," Hewitt said on Saturday. "I think mentally the injury knocked me around with the chance I may not be playing the Australian Open."
"When I pulled up a couple of hours after that match (in Adelaide), you know, there's no chance I was going to be able to play. It was more trying to stay positive and manage the situation that I had in front of me."
Battling patella tendonitis and witnessing the slide of his world ranking from No.4 to 19 over the past 12 months, Hewitt remains upbeat about his prospects at the Open and on Rebound Ace, a surface he says is playing 'slightly' quicker than previous years.
Composed and relaxed, Hewitt said the recent roadblocks to his Open path had only made him more determined to play - and succeed - in the tournament.
Daily physiotherapy and treatment has improved his calf to about '90 per cent' fitness and his call on new coach, friend and confidante Scott Draper, has in part healed the mental wounds from his off-court dramas.
"After the first couple of days after I found out I had a small tear, I was a bit down obviously, not knowing how it was going to respond," he said. "I've done absolutely everything possible physio and treatment-wise to get me as close as possible to 100 per cent."
"I think, fingers crossed, it will hold up okay. I feel like I've prepared as well as possible. I did a lot of stuff through November and December to get ready for the Australian Open."
"If I put myself in the right frame of mind going out there, that never-say-die attitude, especially what got me to the final two years ago. You know, I can't have a much tougher draw than I had a couple of years ago here …"
"I know what it's going to take to come through a couple of big matches."
Hewitt has drawn a qualifier in the first round. To advance to the second week he may have to confront Chilean 10th seed Fernando Gonzalez or new Argentine star Juan Martin Del Potro in the third-round. If he gets through the round of 32, he has a possible fourth-round encounter with James Blake or Carlos Moya.
If there is any remote conciliation to his Open fortunes, he is on the opposite side of the draw from world No.1 Roger Federer, No.2 seed Rafael Nadal, David Nalbandian, Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych in the bottom half.
"If I get through the first week and put some pressure on the name players in the second week, I've got a chance. I think mental toughness is going to play a huge part," he said. "I love the Australian Open. I love playing here. I get goose bumps walking into this place."
"This is great memories for me, not only coming here as a young kid matching (Ivan) Lendl and (Stefan) Edberg and (Mats) Wilander and all these guys, but making the final two years ago, even though I lost, was a huge occasion for me and one of great pleasure and great memory."
"I try and be as mentally tough as possible every time I step on the court. I think when the bell rings Monday or Tuesday, I think I’ll be ready to go. Mentally I'll be as focused as ever … know what I need to do out there."
anyway, i think his match definitely won't be straight sets, hewitt will scrape through in 5