Open-Hewitt's love-match helps ease pressure
2004-01-22 09:08:40 GMT (Reuters)
By Julian Linden
MELBOURNE, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Lleyton Hewitt broke his silence about his pending marriage to Kim Clijsters on Thursday and described the positive effect the relationship has had on their tennis careers.
The Australian was already an established top player when the pair started dating four years ago but it was not long until Clijsters, 20, joined him at the top.
"It's just been great for both of us. She obviously saw what I was going through, the pressures of being a top player maybe a year before she got into the top five in the world,"
the former world number one said.
"We've both just been really able to help each other when we need to."
While many young players on the tour remain single to keep their focus on tennis, Hewitt and Belgian Clijsters got engaged last month.
Hewitt, 22, popped the question during a harbour cruise in Sydney last month but has been keeping coy about their wedding plans.
Hewitt said he and Clijsters, ranked second in the world, share many interests apart from tennis.
"We don't talk about tennis most of the time. I think we both know when to talk about tennis and when not to,"
Bookmakers are offerings odds of 18-1 on a Clijsters-Hewitt double at this year's Australian Open after both moved into the third round on Thursday.
Hewitt beat Slovakia's Karol Kucera 1-6 6-1 6-4 6-1 to remain unbeaten after 10 consecutive singles matches this year while Clijsters whitewashed Italy's Maria Elena Camerin 6-0 6-0.