Originally Posted by Leo
Hewitt started out the year in excellent form, losing just one match in his first three tournaments to a smoking Roger Federer. But now he is struggling with his form, it seems.
His struggling with his form in big tournaments.
In Indian Wells it was Chela early on, and now Pavel (who did play very well today, btw, with tons of winners).
Pavel has virtually beaten everyone except Federer this year, I expected him to win this one.
And remember he lost early in his last two Masters Series events in the U.S. in 2003. Hewitt used to play tremendously well in the states, so what's happened to change that? And what does he need to do to step it up in the major events, because his success in them the past year has been minimal?
I know you will still disagree with me but the reason Hewitt is struggling is because no one underestimates him anymore. I watched some tapes of him from back in 2001/2002 and I don't see a drop in the level of Hewitt's play, in fact he is now more aggressive so arguably even better.
Surely the fact that he is doing well in small tournaments but struggling in the big ones suggests that this is not a slump!
So why is he losing?
1) Back 2 years ago the players were certainly not taking advantage of Hewitt's weaknesses that more and more seem to have figured out now that Hewitt has been on the tour a bit longer. That is a relatively weak serve and a backhand that goes crosscourt 90% of the time.
2) When a Wimbledon champion loses in the first round to a qualifier........that is HUGE. The invincibility of the champ is gone and a lot of guys think "If Ivo can do it, why can't I?".
3) With Hewitt's type of game you need to be at 100%, it is simply not a gamestyle where you can be off your game by even a fraction and still be up there with the top guys. This is why Hewitt is a terrific Davis Cup player, the format of only 2 matches + all the hype means he is really motivated and usually produces his peak tennis, this is far harder to produce over 2 weeks in a slam or even in a masters series.