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post #1 of 986 (permalink) Old 01-07-2005, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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2005 Articles

I hope I didn't duplicate a thread!

Beauty and the beast within Hewitt
January 8, 2005

Take this: critics believe Lleyton Hewitt operates with a me-against-the-world mentality, a state of affairs that encourages friction with the media but galvanises the South Australian on court.

One is loved and respected, the other mistrusted and bellicose: but if Lleyton Hewitt can combine his personalities to good effect at the Australian Open, he will unite a nation, writes Eleanor Preston.

You had to feel for Tennis Australia president Geoff Pollard this week as he tried to find a polite way of reacting to Lleyton Hewitt's singeing attack on the court surface at Melbourne Park, where the Australian Open will begin on Monday week. The last thing Pollard needs is to have the nation's No.1 player (and his entourage) as an enemy ahead of the first grand slam of the season, or to have an unwinnable argument with Hewitt on how fast the Rebound Ace courts may or may not be playing this year. Whatever Pollard does, though, it seems there is little he can do to placate the feisty South Australian.

Hewitt feels he should have been consulted when the court surface was being laid to make it more sympathetic to his playing strengths, and has decided he's had a gutful of his needs being ignored.

It's a lot like the time he had a gutful with the ATP, the governing body of men's tennis, who attempted to fine him $135,000 after accusing him of failing to fulfil a mandatory interview request; or the time he had a gutful of the black line judge at the 2001 US Open who called in favour of Hewitt's black opponent James Blake. Hewitt has also had a gutful of the media, which, save for one or two carefully chosen journalists, he insists have treated him unjustly throughout his career.

Are you beginning to detect a theme here?

Watching Hewitt in the player lounges, hotels and practice courts where he spends much of his time week-in, week-out on the travelling tennis circuit, it is hard reconcile the snarling, cantankerous hard nut of popular perception with the smiling young man often seen joking around with his fellow players.

Staff on the WTA Tour, who got used to Hewitt travelling on the women's circuit to watch his then fiancee Kim Clijsters, describe him as far more polite and unassuming than many less- famous hangers-on. In the days when they were still an item he could frequently be seen waiting dutifully for Clijsters, arranging transport or chatting to female players and coaches and doing his best to quietly blend in.

Hewitt's colleagues in the men's locker room don't just respect his talent and tenacity, they actually rather like him. Foreign journalists lucky enough to snatch five minutes in a rare one-on-one interview report that he is eloquent and knowledgeable about the game he loves and respectful to fellow sportsmen and their achievements.

"I've listened to him in interviews and I think he speaks very, very well," says Tim Henman, one of Hewitt's many mates on the tour. "He's articulate and he knows what he's all about. He's really got a lot of respect for other players and the players of the past, if you like. He's definitely got a sense of a history of the game.

"A lot of players ask why he's got such a bad image and a bad rapport with the media. It's unfortunate because he really isn't a bad guy. I'm sure he's partially to blame but I just wonder whether he's had bad advice or what, because I just don't think that's necessarily him. I've got nothing but good things to say about him."

Most of the fans who jostle for Hewitt's attention at tournaments would concur. He has happily signed autographs this week for the fans who flocked to Memorial Drive in Adelaide to see their home-town hero, even to the point where his new girlfriend, actress Rebecca Cartwright, has been forced to wait in the car for him.

Cartwright has been accompanied courtside this week by Adelaide Crows star Andrew McLeod, representatives from Hewitt's agents Octagon and the ever-present Hewitt parents Glynn and Cherilyn, who maintain what might politely be called an active interest in their son's career. Not many 23-year-olds take their mum and dad to work with them, but the Hewitts - known to many on the circuit as the Griswolds after Chevy Chase's travelling family in the National Lampoon's movies - don't just watch his matches, they watch his practice sessions and are often present when he does coaching sessions with kids.

Hewitt's parents even watch him watching other people play. A tennis journalist covering a relatively minor Fed Cup tie in Clijsters' home town of Bree (this, of course, was in the days when the pair were tennis's golden couple) was surprised to see Hewitt's parents waiting for a lift back to their hotel after one of Clijsters' practices. The same journalist was even more surprised to see Mrs Hewitt and Mrs Clijsters, Kim's mother, heading off to London afterwards for a cosy shopping trip.

As the whole world knows, those days are gone and tittle-tattle on the circuit suggests that one of the reasons for the demise of the relationship was Hewitt's parents' disapproval of their decision to get married so young. There was similar gossip around the time that Hewitt split from Darren Cahill, the coach who had taken him from the practice courts in Adelaide to being US Open champion and world No.1. Locker room chatter suggested at the time that Cahill had fallen out with Hewitt's father.

Cahill was replaced by Roger Rasheed, a long-time friend of the Hewitt family, in a move that was widely criticised because of Rasheed's perceived lack of experience in coaching world class players.

The closeness of "Team Hewitt", their distrust and disdain for the media and, it seems, the organisations under whose auspices Hewitt earns his living, has led many in tennis to suggest there is a siege mentality in the camp, an us-against-the-world chippiness which Hewitt needs to inspire his ferocious competitiveness.

It would not be the first time such tactics had been used to gee-up a sportsman. Gloria Connors used it to great effect on her son Jimmy, one of the few players in the history of tennis to be even more competitive than Hewitt.

When coaching him as a boy, Gloria would frequently remind Jimmy that the rest of the world was out to get him and would fire winners past him in practice to remind him that no one in life - not even his own mother - would do him any favours.

Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United since 1986, has used the same technique with great success to persuade his players of the need to prove themselves to a hostile world.

Like Hewitt, Ferguson will not speak to journalists or media outlets who criticise him or his team, and is renowned in the English Premier League for whingeing about refereeing decisions that do not go his team's way.

"There are a lot of people who would not have a clue about me or my family," says Hewitt.

"At the end of the day, I know the people who care about me, not only on the court but off the court. There have been times when I have struggled with a lot of media and the most disappointing thing is when people are always trying to find a negative, always trying to bag me and write negative articles."

There will be nothing negative about the coverage Hewitt will receive if he can channel all of that venom successfully into winning the Australian Open title in three weeks' time.

Until he does, you can bet that those poor folks at Tennis Australia will be trying their best to stay on the right side of a man who seems to be forever spoiling for a fight.



C'mon, Lleyton!

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post #2 of 986 (permalink) Old 01-07-2005, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2005 Articles

Odd couple make for good fit
January 8, 2005

Dan Oakes looks at how the relatively anonymous Roger Rasheed came to be Lleyton Hewitt's mentor.

When Lleyton Hewitt took on Roger Rasheed as his full-time coach in June 2003, eyebrows were understandably raised. His previous coach Jason Stoltenberg quit two weeks before Hewitt defended his Wimbledon title (to spend more time with his family, as they say), and the decision by the former world No.1 to promote his conditioning coach to the top job was not an obvious one.

Rasheed had played professional tennis, reaching the top 200 on the ATP rankings and holding the record of the youngest man to qualify for an Australian Open, before Hewitt assumed that mantle in 1997. He also played seven games in the SANFL for Sturt.

But by the time Hewitt came knocking in 2003, Rasheed was best known for his work as a ground announcer at Adelaide's Football Park. His finest moment in that capacity was when Collingwood president Eddie McGuire accused him of inciting the crowd during a qualifying final between the Magpies and the Power in 2002.

It was a baptism of fire for Rasheed when his new charge crashed out in the first round of Wimbledon to lowly Croat Ivo Karlovic in one of the great grand slam shocks. Hewitt defended Rasheed, claiming that the coach's scouting had been impeccable and insisting that his work ethic was second to none.

Hewitt chose to take a break from competitive tennis between the US Open in September and the Davis Cup final against Spain in November, sending his ranking plummeting to No. 17 by the year's end.

His - and Rasheed's - rehabilitation began in that Davis Cup final, when he beat Juan Carlos Ferrero to help Australia clinch its 28th title. Since then, the former No.1 has lost only 12 matches, picking up four titles along the way and hauling himself up to No.3.

The confidence Hewitt has in Rasheed, and their rapport, was demonstrated in February last year, when Hewitt dragged his coach out of a decade-long retirement to play doubles at Rotterdam.

The pair shocked the Dutch Davis Cup team of Raemon Sluiter and Martin Verkerk in the first round, winning in straight sets. The experiment was so successful that Rasheed came back for a second dose at Memorial Park this week for the Australian hardcourt championships, although he and his boss went out in the first round.

Hewitt has lauded Rasheed for his motivational powers and his love of football. Rasheed has said there is no reason why he cannot coach the world No.3 through to the end of his career, citing his friendship with and respect for Hewitt. They might be the odd couple on the court but, off court they seem to fit like hand in glove.



C'mon, Lleyton!

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Re: 2005 Articles

Tangling with 'Team Hewitt'
January 8, 2005

Lleyton Hewitt's tilt at the Australian Open began this week with a serve at tournament organisers. As Eleanor Preston reports, siege mentality is a common state for tennis' "Griswalds".

You had to feel for Tennis Australia president Geoff Pollard this week as he tried to find a polite way of reacting to Lleyton Hewitt's singeing attack on the court surface at Melbourne Park, where the Australian Open will begin on Monday week.

The last thing Pollard needs is to have the nation's No. 1 player (and his entourage) as an enemy ahead of the first grand slam event of the season, or to have an unwinnable argument with Hewitt on how fast the Rebound Ace courts may or may not be playing this year.

Whatever Pollard does, though, it seems there is little he can do to placate the feisty South Australian.

Hewitt feels he should have been consulted when the court surface was being laid to make it more sympathetic to his playing strengths, and has decided he has had a gutful of his needs being ignored.

It's a lot like the time he had a gutful of the ATP, the governing body of men's tennis, who tried to fine him $135,000 after accusing him of failing to fulfil a mandatory interview request; or the time he had a gutful of the black line judge at the 2001 US Open, who called in favour of Hewitt's black opponent James Blake.

Hewitt has also had a gutful of the media, which, save for one or two carefully chosen journalists, he insists has treated him unjustly throughout his career.

Are you beginning to detect a theme?

Watching Hewitt in the player lounges, hotels and practice courts where he spends much of his time week-in, week-out on the travelling tennis circuit, it is hard to reconcile the snarling, cantankerous hard nut of popular perception with the smiling young man often seen joking around with his fellow players.

Staff on the WTA Tour, who got used to Hewitt travelling on the women's circuit to watch his then-fiancee Kim Clijsters, describe him as far more polite and unassuming than many less-famous hangers-on.

In the days when they were still an item, he could frequently be seen waiting dutifully for Clijsters, arranging transport or chatting to women players and coaches and doing his best to quietly blend in.

Hewitt's colleagues in the men's locker room do not just respect his talent and tenacity, they actually rather like him. Even foreign journalists lucky enough to snatch five minutes in a rare one-on-one interview report that he is eloquent and knowledgeable about the game he loves and respectful to fellow sportsmen and their achievements.

"I've listened to him in interviews and I think he speaks very, very well," says Tim Henman, one of Hewitt's many mates on the tour. "He's, you know, articulate and he knows what he's all about. He's really got a lot of respect for other players and the players of the past, if you like. He's definitely got a sense of the history of the game.

"A lot of players ask why he's got such a bad image and a bad rapport with the media. It's unfortunate, because he really isn't a bad guy. I'm sure he's partially to blame but I just wonder whether he's had bad advice or what, because I just don't think that's necessarily him. I've got nothing but good things to say about him."

Most of the fans who jostle for Hewitt's attention at tournaments would concur. He has happily signed autographs this week for the fans who flocked to Memorial Drive in Adelaide to see their home-town hero, even to the point where his new girlfriend, actress Rebecca Cartwright, has been forced to wait in the car for him.

Cartwright has been accompanied courtside this week by Adelaide AFL star Andrew McLeod, representatives from his agents Octagon and the everpresent Hewitt parents, Glynn and Cherilyn, who maintain what might politely be called an active interest in their son's career.

Other members of the usual Hewitt cheersquad are his best friend Hayden Eckerman, sister Jaslyn and her boyfriend, rising Swedish player Joachim Johansson.

Not many 23-year-olds take their mum and dad to work with them, but the Hewitts - known to many on the circuit as the Griswalds after Chevy Chase's travelling family in the National Lampoon movies - do not just watch his matches, they watch his practice sessions and are often present when he does coaching sessions with kids.

It is worth noting that both Pollard and Australian Open tournament director Paul McNamee both used the word "they", rather than "he", when responding to Hewitt's criticism of the Melbourne Park courts. It is as if Hewitt's career is regarded as a group effort.

Hewitt's parents even watch him watching other people play. A tennis journalist covering a relatively minor Fed Cup tie in Clijsters' home town of Bree (this, of course, was in the days when the pair were tennis' golden couple) was surprised to see Hewitt's parents waiting for a lift back to their hotel after one of Clijsters' practices.

The same journalist was even more surprised to see Mrs Hewitt and Mrs Clijsters, Kim's mother, heading off to London afterwards for a cosy shopping trip.

As the whole world knows, those days are gone and tittle-tattle on the circuit suggests that one of the reasons for the demise of the relationship was Hewitt's parents' disapproval of their decision to get married so young.

There was similar gossip around the time that Hewitt split from Darren Cahill, the coach who had taken him from the practice courts in Adelaide to being US Open champion and world No. 1. Locker-room chatter suggested at the time that Cahill had fallen out with Hewitt's father.

Cahill was replaced by Roger Rasheed, a long-time friend of the Hewitt family, in a move that was widely criticised because of Rasheed's perceived lack of experience of coaching world-class players.

The closeness of "Team Hewitt", their distrust and disdain for the media and, it seems, the organisations under whose auspices Hewitt earns his living, has led many in tennis to suggest that there is a siege mentality in the camp, an us-against-the-world chippiness that Hewitt needs to inspire his ferocious competitiveness.

It would not be the first time such tactics had been used to gee-up a sportsman. Gloria Connors used it to great effect on her son Jimmy, one of the few players in the history of tennis to be even more competitive than Hewitt.

When coaching him as a boy, Gloria would frequently remind young Jimmy that the rest of the world was out to get him and would fire winners past him in practice to remind him that no one in life - not even his own mother - would do him any favours.

Alex Ferguson, long-time manager of rampantly successful Manchester United, pioneered the same technique when persuading his players of the need to prove themselves to a hostile world.

Like Hewitt, Ferguson will not speak to journalists or media outlets who dare to criticise him or his team and is renowned in the English Premier League for whingeing about refereeing decisions that do not go his team's way.

"There are a lot of people who would not have a clue about me or my family," said Hewitt. "At the end of the day, I know the people who care about me, not only on the court but off the court.

"There have been times when I've struggled with a lot of media and the most disappointing thing is when people are always trying to find a negative, always trying to bag me and write negative articles."

There will be nothing negative about the coverage Hewitt will receive if he can channel all of that venom successfully into winning the Australian Open title in three weeks.

Until he does, you can bet that those poor folks at Tennis Australia will be trying to stay on the right side of a man who seems to be forever spoiling for a fight.

Eleanor Preston is a freelance journalist who covers the ATP and WTA tours.
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Re: 2005 Articles

thanks for the articles and the new thread

Molik and Hewitt draw well
January 8, 2005 - 3:09PM
http://www.smh.com.au/news/Sport/Mol...832343835.html

Alicia Molik's Australian Open preparations received another boost when she was handed a relatively trouble-free draw for next week's Medibank International in Sydney.

The sixth-seeded South Australian will meet Italian Francesca Schiavone in the first round and has landed on the opposite side of the draw to world No.1 Lindsay Davenport.

Davenport is the only player in the world's top six that Molik hasn't beaten but will only come up against Australia's big white hope if the two reach the final of the grand slam lead-up event.

The in-form Molik, who has won 26 of her last 30 matches, including three straight to open the year with a bang at the Hopman Cup in Perth, is projected to meet fourth seed Vera Zvonareva in the quarter-finals and fellow Russian Anastasia Myskina in the semi-finals.

Molik upstaged Myskina, the French Open champion and current world No.3, in the bronze medal playoff at the Athens Olympics and would relish another showdown with the ITF's international player of 2004.

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AdvertisementThe two other Australians in the red-hot women's field also received good draws for the $1.25 million Medibank International.

Teenage wildcard Sophie Ferguson will meet Bulgarian veteran Magdalena Maleeva, while Samantha Stosur - fresh off her maiden appearance in a WTA final on the Gold Coast - will play Croat Jelena Kostanic.

Defending champion Justine Henin-Hardenne was a late scratching with a knee injury that places her Australian Open participation in serious doubt.

The former world No.1's withdrawal elevated Japan's Ai Sugiyama to eighth seeding behind Davenport, Myskina, Dementieva, Zvonareva, Nadia Petrova, Molik and Gold Coast winner Patty Schnyder.

Men's top seed and three-time champion Lleyton Hewitt should have few problems opening his title defence against Slovak Karol Beck, whom the Australian demolished en route to last year's final of the US Open in their only previous career meeting.

Hewitt's first big test is likely to come in the semi-finals against either Taylor Dent, the serve-volleying American who upset the world No.3 in Adelaide on Friday night, or his part-time Swedish hitting partner Joachim Johansson.

Mark Philippoussis, on the other hand, faces trouble early after being pitted against fourth-seeded Romanian Andrei Pavel in the opening round - should he be fit enough to play.

Any draw these days is a tough one for Philippoussis, who hasn't won a match since June and whose Australian Open build-up suffered a further setback last week when he was forced to pull out of the Hopman Cup with a groin tear.

Australian Wayne Arthurs drew Italian Filippo Volandri first up, while fellow Australian wildcard Todd Reid will take on fifth-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

The week-long tournament gets underway on Sunday at Sydney's Homebush Bay.

Lleyton
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Re: 2005 Articles

Quote:
Originally Posted by NOMAD
Any draw these days is a tough one for Philippoussis
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Re: 2005 Articles

Article from the Herald Sun with Pat Rafter's and Rod Laver's thoughts on the competition. Not surprisingly, they both pick Federer as the favourite. Some thoughts on Lleyton. I agree with Laver that it is too late to change the surface.

Rafter tips Roger
By PAUL MALONE
09jan05


PAT Rafter believes Roger Federer can become the greatest tennis player of all time.

"I never played Roger at his best, thank God," Rafter said.
"Federer has the opportunity now to go down as the greatest player of all time. To me, he's the smoothest player.

"Tony Roche will make Roger an even better player. But he already has the most complete game I've ever seen."

Federer's three grand slam titles in his $7.9 million 2004 took his total to four by the age of 23 -- 10 short of Pete Sampras's men's record of 14.

Rafter, 32, won all three matches he played against Federer in 1999 and 2001.

By that stage, Federer had played three full years on the tour and entered the top 20, but was yet to reach a grand slam semi-final.

Most of Rafter's career-defining battles were against Sampras and Andre Agassi, winner of eight major titles.

Yet even they did not make Australia's former world No. 1 marvel in the same the way Federer has in performances such as his two "love" sets against Lleyton Hewitt in last year's US Open final.

"There's a lot that makes up a winning formula in players," the dual US Open winner said.

"In terms of Pete and Andre, they all have different attributes that makes them champions in their own right.

"Confidence was the difference with Roger as a player, then and now. He's different to Lleyton. Lleyton believed in himself from the start and would rip your head off to win a match.

"Federer wasn't like that. He had to get the belief and his game has fallen into place, too."

Federer's winning streak against opponents ranked in the top 10 has risen to 23 matches.

The only man to win the Grand Slam twice, Rod Laver, said Federer was equipped to become the third man to achieve it, although the French Open, the one major title he was yet to claim, would be difficult.

Laver said Federer was "head and shoulders" above his rivals last year, but was at his most vulnerable in the first week of a grand slam event.

"He's got great talent and desire -- he's such an instinctive player," said Laver, who will come to the Australian Open for the event's centenary year celebrations.

"If he really gets into a tournament, he's so hard to beat these days. But there are a lot of good players and he might need to be playing well in the second or third round."

Laver declined to say how his game from the 1960s would have gone in a time-tunnel match against a 2005 model Federer.

"I'd say give Roger an old racquet, then we're looking at equal things," he said.

"You shouldn't compare players from different eras in my book. The amount of spin and power they get with the composite racquets now makes it even harder to compare people from this era with Don Budge (1938 Grand Slam winner)."

Rafter said there was good reason to believe world No. 3 Hewitt would go further into this month's Australian Open than he had done previously in a tournament in which his best result so far has been the fourth round.

"He's prepared better than any other year and I think he's really excited about the Australian Open," he said.

"Lleyton's really given himself a good chance. We'll wait and see how the (speed of the) courts pan out."

Laver said Australian Open officials were right to no longer tinker with the speed of courts to maximise Hewitt's winning chances, as European players criticised them of doing when Rafter and Mark Philippoussis were given faster conditions to win at Melbourne Park.

"You shouldn't do it to prove a point and get your player a win, which some tournaments have done in the past," he said.

"It has to be level for everyone, and I thought Rebound Ace was a fairly good court anyway."


Agassi, 34, a four-time Australian Open winner with a determination for off-season training some of his contemporaries have lacked, has accepted he needs to lift his performance level to challenge Federer.

Agassi lost both his clashes with Federer in last year and has an unusual complaint about the Swiss star's effect on men's tennis.

"Most of the time he's making it look too easy to enjoy," said Agassi with a smile.

"His biggest weapon is his forehand and his movement. He's a really explosive mover and his forehand's just a nasty shot.

"He does a lot of things really well and he does a few things really great."
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Re: 2005 Articles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Socket
Odd couple make for good fit
January 8, 2005

Dan Oakes looks at how the relatively anonymous Roger Rasheed came to be Lleyton Hewitt's mentor.

Hewitt has lauded Rasheed for his motivational powers and his love of football. Rasheed has said there is no reason why he cannot coach the world No.3 through to the end of his career, citing his friendship with and respect for Hewitt. They might be the odd couple on the court but, off court they seem to fit like hand in glove.
A few coaching thoughts... I still have my doubts about Rasheed's tennis acumen. It seems like it takes Lleyton longer now to find his form after any kind of extended lay-off. Also, I think Roger is an excellent physical trainer, but sometimes I wonder if he is too obsessed with adding muscle. Tennis players don't need to look like Rafael Nadal in order to have success, and I hope this added strength - visually appealing for many though it may be - doesn't hamper Ll's flexibility.

On the positive side, the personal side seems to be great and Ll seems determined to make this relationship work.
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Re: 2005 Articles

Dagmar Glad to see you're not dead

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"I'm just on a mission today. But the end result, you will feel better."
"Not when you go home alone tonight I won't..."

"What is your good luck charm?"
"You."
--Derek and Shannon
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Thanks Marly

No I'm not dead but I will say that prison was just like the movies.

No, really, I changed jobs, got married, the usual...nice to see some of the old gang.

Just to keep on topic, I really like articles. That first one seems particularly well written. Very nice words from good old Tim Henman.

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Did you seriously get married?

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"I'm just on a mission today. But the end result, you will feel better."
"Not when you go home alone tonight I won't..."

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"You."
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Re: 2005 Articles

Woody backs Hewitt at Open
By Dan Oakes
Adelaide
January 9, 2005

http://www.theage.com.au/news/Tennis...832356229.html


Twelve-Time grand slam doubles winner Mark Woodforde has strongly backed Lleyton Hewitt to put his Australian hardcourt championships disappointment behind him and take the Australian Open by storm next week.

Hewitt's preparation for the Open was knocked off course when he crashed out in straight sets to American serve-volleyer Taylor Dent in the quarter-finals. Dent will now play Sweden's Joachim Johansson in today's final.

But Woodforde, the Adelaide tournament's director, said Australia's world No. 3 was mentally stronger than he had seen him and that the shock loss to Dent did not point to more fundamental problems with Hewitt's game.

"I don't think I've seen him as relaxed before in other years," Woodforde said. "He seemed very confident of how he's played this week, even though it was a loss last night. I think he's maturing now."

Woodforde also stuck his neck out and predicted that the one-time US Open and Wimbledon champion would put in his best performance at Melbourne Park, where he has not progressed beyond the fourth round.

"I would be very surprised if he doesn't better his best result. I would be shocked if he didn't pass the fourth round," Woodforde said.

Hewitt said after his loss that he had had three rounds of valuable match practice at Memorial Drive and that he had been hitting the ball well in training, so he was not pressing the "panic button" yet.

"When you've been No. 1 in the world for a couple of years and you've won a couple of slams or whatever, you look at the big picture and what motivates you and that's the grand slams, and Melbourne's the one for me of any of the four," he said.

Hewitt heads next to the Sydney International, which he has won three times.

Mark Philippoussis was included in the draw, but if he declares himself fit to play despite injuring his groin muscles in Perth last week, he faces a tough task against fourth-seeded Romanian Andrei Pavel in the opening round.

Philippoussis has requested a late start to the tournament after injuring his groin last Wednesday.

Of the other Australian men, Wayne Arthurs drew Italian Filippo Volandri first up, while fellow wildcard Todd Reid will take on fifth-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

Alicia Molik's Australian Open preparations received a boost when she was handed a relatively trouble-free draw. The sixth-seeded South Australian will meet Italian Francesca Schiavone in the first round and has landed on the opposite side of the draw to world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, the only player in the world's top six that Molik hasn't beaten.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Favourable draw for locals in Sydney
By Darren Walton
January 9, 2005
The Sun-Herald

http://www.smh.com.au/news/Tennis/Fa...832353779.html

Alicia Molik's Australian Open preparations received another boost when she was handed a relatively trouble-free draw for the Medibank International in Sydney this week.

The sixth-seed will meet Italian Francesca Schiavone in the first round and has landed on the opposite draw to world No.1 Lindsay Davenport.

Davenport is the only player in the world's top six that Molik hasn't beaten but they will play each other only if they reach the final of the grand slam lead-up event.

Molik has won 26 of her past 30 matches, including three straight to open the year at the Hopman Cup in Perth.

The two other Australians in the women's field received good draws for the $1.25 million tournament.

Teenage wildcard Sophie Ferguson will meet Bulgarian veteran Magdalena Maleeva, and Samantha Stosur - fresh from her maiden appearance in a WTA final on the Gold Coast yesterday - will play Croat Jelena Kostanic.

Defending champion Justine Henin-Hardenne withdrew yesterday with a knee injury that puts her in doubt for the Australian Open. The former world No.1's withdrawal elevated Japan's Ai Sugiyama to eighth seeding behind Davenport, Anastasia Myskina, Elena Dementieva, Vera Zvonareva, Nadia Petrova, Molik and Gold Coast winner Patty Schnyder.

Men's top seed and three-time champion Lleyton Hewitt should have few problems opening his title defence against Slovak Karol Beck, whom the Australian demolished on the way to the 2004 US Open final in their only previous meeting.

Hewitt's first big test is likely to come in the semi-finals against either Taylor Dent, the serve-volleying American who upset the world No.3 in Adelaide on Friday night, or his part-time Swedish hitting partner Joachim Johansson.

Meanwhile, Mark Philippoussis faces trouble early after being pitted against fourth-seeded Romanian Andrei Pavel in the opening round - should he be fit enough to play.

Any draw these days is tough for Philippoussis, who hasn't won a match since June and whose Australian Open build-up was set back during the week when he pulled out of the Hopman Cup with a groin tear.

Wayne Arthurs drew Italian Filippo Volandri and fellow Australian wildcard Todd Reid will take on fifth-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

Last edited by sprinterluck; 01-08-2005 at 09:58 PM.
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post #12 of 986 (permalink) Old 01-09-2005, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 2005 Articles

I guess this goes to show that the most important aspect of a coach-player relationship is the personal one. Nice to see Lleyton be so open in his praise.

Hewitt heaps praise on coach
By Darren Walton
January 9, 2005

LLEYTON Hewitt has declared rock-like coach Roger Rasheed the foundation on which to build his Australian Open campaign.

As Hewitt casts his steely eyes on a breakthrough national title at Melbourne Park this month, the 23-year-old credited Rasheed as a major player in his return from world No.19 to the game's top echelon.

Hewitt's decision to split with fellow South Australian Jason Stoltenberg after the 2003 French Open and appoint Rasheed, his former conditioner, as head coach raised eyebrows worldwide.

When their player-coach relationship opened with an inglorious first-round exit from Wimbledon when Hewitt was the world No.1, top seed and defending champion it was the little-known and unproven Rasheed who copped most of the flak.

But Hewitt insists the stinging criticism of his new right-hand man was unfair and undeserved.

"It was obviously tough at the start when people wanted to hop on and stick a few knives into his back and it's been fantastic to see us bounce back well over the last year and a half and just keep the knockers down for a while," Hewitt said as he prepared for his title defence at the Medibank International in Sydney this week.

Hewitt was lavish in his praise of Rasheed, saying the meticulous 35-year-old's work ethic surpassed even that of Stoltenberg and former coach Darren Cahill, who guided the South Australian counter-puncher to his maiden grand slam title and the world No.1 ranking in 2001.

"I've really enjoyed every minute I've spent with Roger. I love his company. He's a great guy, a great guy to have around and he's really been a pleasure to work with," Hewitt said.

"He's worked harder than any other coach that I've ever trained with and I can just see it in his eyes - every time I go out there to play how much he wants me to do well out there and just succeed."

The former Wimbledon and US Open titleholder said he shared a telepathic understanding with Rasheed, a former touring professional himself.

"I think quite often we both have the same ideas going through our minds when we're out there. You don't have to talk about," Hewitt said.

"When it comes to shot selection that we've spoken about off the court so many times, he knows what I'm thinking quite often when I'm out there on the court.

"We have a great relationship. We speak a lot off the court about what I'm feeling on the court and it's really paid off well."

Hewitt will once again rely on Rasheed and his close-knit family to help galvanise him during his high-pressured bid to end the 29-year foreign domination of the Australian Open.

Rasheed believes, contrary to some opinion, Hewitt's omnipresent parents play an important role in their son's career and do so without overstepping the mark.

"Glynn and Cherilyn, they come along, they watch and they support as a family unit and we do what we're there to do," he said last month.

"I'm there to coach him, he's there as a player to produce a product on the court and we do our business and they're there as a support system.

"A lot of people have talked about that and whether it's good or bad and (that) they do follow the tour around a bit. I think it's a positive.

"It's a lonely existence out there and when Lleyton's playing in countries where the home crowd is against you and going for the other player, if you've got a little entourage that is behind you, you can look up there and know you've got the support when it's getting a little ugly on the court.

"That's what he enjoys and we think it works well."

Hewitt will open his quest for a fourth title in Sydney tomorrow against Slovak Karol Beck and will head to Melbourne next weekend hoping to become the first local to win the Australian Open men's championship since Mark Edmondson in 1976.

AAP
Terms | Privacy policy Copyright 2004 News Limited. All times AEST (GMT+10).



C'mon, Lleyton!

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Re: 2005 Articles

Thanks for posting these articles - the pre-AO rush seems to have begun!

I am one of the few who thinks that parental support has helped LLeyton, but a few of these stories are a bit Like watching him watching Kim

They need a hobby that isn't LLeyton. Anyone want to chip in and buy the Hewitts a nice pottery course or something?!
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Re: 2005 Articles

You know, at the Legg Mason, they had Lleyton do one of these promos after one of this matches, helping kids from the crowd hit serves onto a target to win free plane tickets, silly stuff like that. Kim and his mom left the stadium after the match, but his dad stayed and even came down lower in the stadium to watch Lleyton. He seemed to get such a kick out of watching Lleyton fool around. It was actually quite nice to see him laughing and applauding his kid. I'm with you that his parents have helped him a lot in his professional and personal life, so I'm happy to just let things be with them. Lleyton will no doubt find a g/f who can handle this kind of family life (or who maybe thrives on it), and they'll all live happily ever after.



C'mon, Lleyton!

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Re: 2005 Articles

This is a very interesting article from a Brit newspaper about what Lleyton might be thinking about having Roche coach Federer.

January 09, 2005

Helping hand
BARRY FLATMAN
Tony Roche delivers a hammer blow to Lleyton Hewitt’s Australian Open hopes by agreeing to coach the world No 1

Rule No 1 in the Australian code of sporting ethics and life in general: look after your mate. Play the game hard and fair, and feel free to tell your opponents exactly what you think of them if you reckon it’s going to help. But never do anything that might harm the chances of one of your own.

Consequently, the silence Lleyton Hewitt has maintained over fellow Australian Tony Roche’s decision to lend counsel to Roger Federer has been curious. Never a person to keep quiet if he feels anything less than preferentially treated, the feisty young man in the back-to-front baseball cap has not shied away from attacking the organisers of the Australian Open for laying a playing surface so pedestrian that it does nothing to help his cause.

Yet any insight and advice that could strengthen Federer’s domination in tennis is potentially far more damaging to Hewitt’s chances of becoming the first Australian to win the calendar’s opening Grand Slam for 29 years than the rubbery compound laid at Melbourne Park. Hewitt makes no secret that his overriding aim is to lift the trophy this month. By agreeing to becoming Federer’s coach, albeit in a 10-weeks-a-year consultancy capacity, Roche could be accused of treason in some quarters.

There is not a player on the men’s ATP Tour who does not feel intimidated by the top-ranked Swiss when he walks on court beside him. And for good reason. Incredibly, the last time that Federer lost to a top-10 opponent was on October 18, 2003, when Juan Carlos Ferrero beat him in the semi-finals of the Masters Series in Madrid. Since then he’s beaten Hewitt six times out of six, scored four victories over both Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi and proved too accomplished for Marat Safin on three occasions.

Although Tim Henman beat him twice before returning to the top 10 last March, he has lost their past two confrontations. Henman delivered a succinct appraisal of Federer’s superiority after losing to him in the US Open semi-final last year: “If you take Roddick’s serve, Agassi’s returns, my volleys and Hewitt’s speed and tenacity, you’ve probably got a good chance against Roger. That’s a lot of people involved in beating one player.”

In Doha this past week, Federer has terrified the opposition in the Qatar Open. Spain’s Feliciano Lopez has been nominated as a potential outsider for Grand Slam contention this year. Some say the 23-year-old from Madrid has as much talent as his compatriot, Rafael Nadal. But after losing to Federer, he could only say: “He will win everything and there’s nothing anyone can do. He knows he can do anything on a tennis court and nobody can hurt him.” Federer cruised to victory in yesterday’s final, defeating Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 6-3 6-1.

Even players who have long since laid down their competitive rackets are in awe. More than 3Å years have passed since Patrick Rafter last faced Federer across a net. Roche was sitting in Rafter’s coaching corner that day and Federer, although still a teenager, had begun to show signs of achieving his potential by breaking into the top 10. In much the same way as the agreement with Federer has been struck, Rafter worked with Roche only on an occasional basis. But the veteran’ s knowledge contributed hugely to the consecutive US Open titles Rafter won in 1997 and 1998, as well as his brief tenure of the world’s No 1 spot in 1999.

“When you get to that level, it’s up to you whether you want a coach around all the time,” recalled Rafter. “It’s not imperative, because you pretty much know how to play the game, and I didn’t want or need anyone there every day of every week. Maybe Roger’s the same. He seemed to have things pretty much worked out when he was on his own last year.

“He’s the most complete player I have seen, and I have never set eyes on anybody who hits the ball better. The scary thing — and Lleyton knows this better than anyone — is just a week here and there with Rochey, particularly at the Grand Slams, will tighten up a few things in Federer’s game and make him better. I know a lot of players have tried to hire Rochey, and it’s a huge feather in both guys’ caps that they agreed on this partnership.”

Roche is 59. A strenuous itinerary is not high on his list of priorities. He was Ivan Lendl’s full-time coach in the mid- to late 1980s and early 1990s, and before that he guided New Zealander Chris Lewis to an unlikely Wimbledon final in 1983. He served as Australia’s Davis Cup coach in tandem with his old doubles partner, John Newcombe, and was inspirational to Hewitt’s maintenance of composure throughout the potentially explosive final against Spain in Barcelona four years ago.

More recently, the Sydney-based coach has chosen to stay home in Australia, turning down job offers from Safin, Pete Sampras, Anna Kournikova and Henman, who saw the Australian as the best option to replace David Felgate in 2001 before making do with Larry Stefanki and then Paul Annacone. Roche is still technically employed by Tennis Australia as part of a junior development initiative and feels an obligation to continue working with junior Sophie Ferguson, whose brother was killed on a trip to Asia during the tsunami disaster.

Arthritis has caused the former French Open champion to undergo a hip replacement operation, and he requires another. On top of that, his parents died last year and his in-laws are in poor health.

Federer has long felt an affinity with Australian coaches after working with Peter Carter during his formative years. The pair parted company before Carter was killed in a road accident in 2002.

Hewitt maintains that Federer is not paramount in his thoughts as he prepares for the Australian Open, which begins in eight days’ time. But late last year he conceded that Federer had taken men’s tennis to another level.

Having somebody in the opponent’s camp who knows his own game intimately can hardly be conducive to Hewitt’s belief that he is about to make up lost ground.



C'mon, Lleyton!

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