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post #1 of 553 (permalink) Old 01-11-2005, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2005


This is the first time I open a thread on LLL. I know we still have a few days to go before Melbourne but I read that article on the website and I liked it: Lleyton's first memories at the aussie open.
(my apologies if it has been posted already)

Centenary Book Extract - Lleyton Hewitt
by Lleyton Hewitt
Wednesday, 1 December, 2004


A coffee table-style book, Our Open - 100 Years of Australia's Grand Slam marks the Centenary of the Australian Open with 12 first-person accounts of the Open written by some of the greats of Australian tennis. In this extract from the book, Lleyton Hewitt recalls his early years of competition at the Grand Slam he calls home.

I would have been seven when I made my first trip to Melbourne Park. And I have been back every year since then. As I got older, I would play junior tournaments in Melbourne, and then I’d go and watch the guys practice as soon as the gates opened. I can still remember watching (Ivan) Lendl and Rochie (Tony Roche) playing one morning on Show Court 1 (now Margaret Court Arena)... it inspired me.

In 1997, I was the youngest player ever to qualify. I was a little bit shocked as I didn’t have an ATP point at the time and I’d only played a couple of satellite events.

I was just 15 and I received a wildcard into qualifying and didn’t have any expectations, I just wanted to get the experience. I remember getting the courtesy car into Melbourne Park and being in the locker rooms with all the players.

I was very nervous – I hardly slept at all when I had to play the third round of qualifying. I played a guy from England, Mark Petchy, who does a bit of commentary around the place now, and a few people are giving him a bit of grief about losing to a 15-year-old.

I didn’t know what to think after I’d qualified. It was an incredible feeling to go out there and play Sergi Bruguera in the first round – a guy who had won two French Opens and had been ranked as high as three or four in the world – on Show Court 3. It was pretty amazing for me.

The next year I won Adelaide in the lead-up tournament and received a wildcard. I played Daniel Vacek, from the Czech Republic, who was a top-20 or 30 player in the first round.

I was the first match to open up centre court that year on the opening Monday morning and went down two-sets-to-love. I fought back to two-sets-all and ended up losing in five sets. It was my first five-set experience and my second Grand Slam.

I stayed around the tournament in 2002, even it was disappointing at the time. I had finished the year as No.1 and I’d put in the preparation and felt that I was hitting the ball really well and then went and got chickenpox at the Hopman Cup.

I couldn’t hit a ball and wasn’t allowed to fly from Perth to Melbourne with other people, so I had to hire a jet. I wasn’t able to practise for a few days, so I went in not knowing what to expect. I knew I had to get through my matches very quickly because I didn’t have the legs and endurance. I hit the wall after one set against Alberto Martin. It was disappointing watching the tournament unfold and knowing that if I was fully fit I could handle a lot of the guys who were winning.

The ultimate historic and photographic record of the Australian Open, Our Open - 100 Years of Australia's Grand Slam contains a foreword by Rod Laver and contributions from Len Schwartz, Thelma Long, Frank Sedgman, Roy Emerson, Ken Rosewall, Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, John Newcombe, Pat Cash, Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt. Click here to order a copy of Our Open - 100 Years of Australia's Grand Slam from the AO Shop Online.

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post #2 of 553 (permalink) Old 01-11-2005, 05:56 PM
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Re: AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2005

Congratulations on your first thread! That's an excellent article, and this time, it really does sound like Lleyton actually wrote it.



C'mon, Lleyton!

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post #3 of 553 (permalink) Old 01-11-2005, 10:09 PM
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Re: AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2005

Great article - thanks Yasmine
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post #4 of 553 (permalink) Old 01-12-2005, 09:33 AM
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Re: AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2005

nice article - merci

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post #5 of 553 (permalink) Old 01-12-2005, 03:12 PM
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Re: AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2005

Lleyton gets some support on the court surface issue.

Woodbridge joins bagging of Open court
Leo Schlink
13jan05

TODD Woodbridge says the Australian Open courts are too slow – and potentially damaging to tennis.

Echoing Lleyton Hewitt's concerns over the sluggish pace of Melbourne Park's Rebound Ace surface, the Davis Cup star said yesterday the players were never sure of court speed.

"The surface has never been the same from one year to the next," Woodbridge said.

"You know what the French is, you know what Wimbledon is, you know what the US Open is. There's an element about the Australian Open of `What's it going to be?' "

The nine-time Wimbledon doubles champion and grand slam singles semi-finalist was the first man to win a match at the Australian Open when it was transferred from Kooyong's grass in 1988.

But the former ATP council powerbroker contends this year's court speed is "20-30 per cent" slower than what it should be.

"This court in Sydney and the one in Adelaide take a lot of spin and the balls jump incredibly high," Woodbridge said.

"One of the guys it's not favourable for, with courts like this, is Lleyton. Another guy is Andre Agassi. They're players who like to drive the ball.

"But it's going to suit players who like to play with a lot of topspin because the courts are high-bouncing and take a lot of spin.

"They (the courts) should be 20-30 per cent quicker than they are, which is a significant amount.

"I've been involved in this process for the last few months from all angles from testing the surface when it was laid to talking to the manufacturers. The court we're now playing on is significantly slower than the one I was asked to hit on in testing."

Hewitt has relied on the feedback of Woodbridge and retired professionals Jason Stoltenberg and Roger Rasheed in forming his judgment on the Melbourne Park courts.

He said Sydney's centre court was slower than Adelaide's Memorial Drive surface, another indicator of the pace inconsistency from tournament to tournament.

Open chief executive Paul McNamee insists the Open courts are quicker than last year despite player feedback to the contrary.

But Woodbridge remains sceptical. "What's evident is that (Tennis Australia president) Geoff Pollard said the board gave a directive to make the courts faster and they're not," he said.

"This is not about Lleyton talking from just his point of view, he's talking on behalf of our tennis community. It's not just one guy.

"Can you imagine if you were going to play cricket in India, do you think they are going to give us what we want in terms of the type of pitch? If we have the opportunity to give ourselves a slight advantage and we don't take it, there's something wrong."

Woodbridge said the current pace of the courts was robbing the sport of variety.

"If you look back to the first year it (Rebound Ace) was put down, there was a classic final between Pat Cash and Mats Wilander," he said, reflecting on the 1988 Open decider. "The courts now are significantly slower and you can see that by the style of tennis.

"The way it is now, it takes away the classic match-up of a counter-puncher up against a serve-volleyer. The courts around the world have become too much the same. We're in danger of having too many clones because there's not enough variety."

Paul Bull, director of Rebound Ace manufacturer AV Syntech, said recently he would not revert to the fast speed of 2000 even if he was asked to, because of an avalanche of criticism from European baseliners.



C'mon, Lleyton!

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post #6 of 553 (permalink) Old 01-12-2005, 03:24 PM
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Re: AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2005

Quote:
Originally Posted by Socket
Congratulations on your first thread! That's an excellent article, and this time, it really does sound like Lleyton actually wrote it.

great article! thanks for that!
btw when will does the draw come out?
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post #7 of 553 (permalink) Old 01-12-2005, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2005

Quote:
Originally Posted by jule

great article! thanks for that!
btw when will does the draw come out?
I went on the officila AO website and it says the draw will be there on the 14th january which is this friday...

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post #8 of 553 (permalink) Old 01-12-2005, 10:27 PM
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Re: AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2005

That's correct - it's on the morning on the 14th, so draw will be out in just over 24 hours! I'll cross all my fingers and toes now for a good one for our boy

Woodbridge often impresses me with his technical knowledge and he wouldn't say this stuff just to back up Lleyton. Maybe someone should listen
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post #9 of 553 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 12:12 PM
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Re: AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2005

Woodbridge wouldn't back Lleyton up unless there was reason. I don't think TA are too concerned with Lleyton's comments because the media give him so much hell, but Woodbridge is a different story. He has been around for a long time and TA would look pretty stupid to dismiss his comments when they asked him to test the courts. The draw is at 10:30am Melbourne time.
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post #10 of 553 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 12:29 PM
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Re: AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2005

Hello Hewitt fans!

I would like to wish you all a successful 2005.
Lleyton looks great at the moment, and you have every reason to expect good stuff to come at the Aussie Open, as well as at the other GS's.
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post #11 of 553 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 01:28 PM
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Re: AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2005

Thanks for your gracious comments, Rogiman.

Your fav doesn't look too bad either...

I'm nervous about the draw.

Congratulations to Jaslyn Hewitt for winning her first round qualifying match yesterday - great stuff, especially after this wild-card business. She plays Elena Baltacha first up today.

In other qualifying news, just to remind you...
Two Canadians (Maureen Drake and young Stephanie Dubois) lost.
Two Canadians (M-E Pelletier and Frank Dancevic) won.
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post #12 of 553 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 01:37 PM
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Re: AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2005

Quote:
Originally Posted by dagmar7
Thanks for your gracious comments, Rogiman.

Your fav doesn't look too bad either...

I'm nervous about the draw.

Congratulations to Jaslyn Hewitt for winning her first round qualifying match yesterday - great stuff, especially after this wild-card business. She plays Elena Baltacha first up today.

In other qualifying news, just to remind you...
Two Canadians (Maureen Drake and young Stephanie Dubois) lost.
Two Canadians (M-E Pelletier and Frank Dancevic) won.
dagmar thanks for your update; it's diffcult to believe you're not into journalism

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post #13 of 553 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 01:51 PM
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Re: AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2005

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogiman
Hello Hewitt fans!

I would like to wish you all a successful 2005.
Lleyton looks great at the moment, and you have every reason to expect good stuff to come at the Aussie Open, as well as at the other GS's.
Thanks!
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post #14 of 553 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 01:53 PM
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Re: AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2005

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogiman
Hello Hewitt fans!

I would like to wish you all a successful 2005.
Lleyton looks great at the moment, and you have every reason to expect good stuff to come at the Aussie Open, as well as at the other GS's.
That's very sporting of you, Rogiman. Thank you.



C'mon, Lleyton!

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post #15 of 553 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 10:35 PM
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Re: AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2005

Thanks Rogiman and good luck to your guy too
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