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Hewitt to skip Olympics

Deboogle!.
12-17-2003, 06:01 PM
Hewitt Will Skip Olympics
By Richard Pagliaro
12/17/2003

Lleyton Hewitt has the mettle to medal — he just doesn't have space in his schedule to go for the gold. Stating his quest for another Grand Slam crown — as well as helping Australia defend its Davis Cup championship — are his top priorities, Hewitt announced he will not play in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

The 2002 Wimbledon winner joins girlfriend Kim Clijsters in opting to skip the Olympics, though in his interview with respected Australian writer Leo Schlink published today in The Herald Sun, Hewitt said he made his decision based on his schedule rather than his relationship.

The Athens Olympic tennis tournament will be contested August 15th-22nd with the U.S. Open starting on August 30th. The 2001 U.S. Open champion, who plans to play Los Angeles, Toronto and Cincinnati as tune-up tournaments for the U.S. Open, said his desire to properly prepare for Flushing Meadows played a primary part in his decision to bypass Athens.

"The big thing is when we had the Sydney Olympics in 2000, it was after all the four majors had been played," Hewitt told Schlink. "Athens is being held right before the U.S. Open and it's got the same feeling as the Atlanta Olympics (in 1996) when a lot guys were missing because it was just so close before the U.S. Open. We're fortunate in tennis, I guess, that we're in a sport where we've got the four majors and Davis Cup every year and they're my main goals. I've sat down with (coach) Roger (Rasheed) and we've come up with a schedule designed for me to do well at the Grand Slams and Davis Cup. They're my priorities next year. I would like to win at least one major and help Australia successfully defend the Davis Cup."

Wimbledon finalist Mark Philippoussis — Hewitt's teammate on the Australian Davis Cup team, who has a tattoo of Alexander the Great on his shoulder to recognize his Greek heritage (Philippoussis' father, Nick, is from Greece) — is expected to play in the Athens Olympics.

Many prominent pros have said while they appreciate tennis is an Olympic Sport, realizing their Olympic opportunity is difficult due to an already extensive schedule that stretches nearly 11 months and requires them travel to several continents throughout the course of the year. Former top-ranked players such as Martina Hingis and Pete Sampras never played the Olympics. Andre Agassi, who cites his gold-medal triumph at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as one of his career highlights, did not defend his title at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics.

The 33-year-old Agassi has not announced if he plans to play in Athens. The Williams sisters both struck gold in Sydney as Venus captured the gold medal in singles and partnered with Serena to seize the gold in doubles. Neither Venus nor Serena has played since their meeting in the Wimbledon final in July. Both sisters say they plan to play the Australian Open in January, but have not yet announced if they will defend their Olympic title.

The 22-yearold Hewitt has hopes a shortened season would lead to a longer career. In an effort to prolong his career and focus on his primary pursuits: the Grand Slams and Davis Cup, Hewitt reduced his schedule in 2003 and did not play an ATP event after his quarterfinal loss to Juan Carlos Ferrero at the U.S. Open. Though his ranking as plummeted to No. 17, the move paid off as Hewitt scored two singles victories to help Australia capture the Davis Cup with a 3-1 victory over Spain last month.

Next year, Hewitt plans to play more tournaments. He will open the year at the Hopman Cup in Perth and play the adidas International as preparation for the Australian Open. Following the Melbourne Grand Slam, Hewitt will return home to Adelaide to play in Australia's opening-round Davis Cup tie against Sweden.

Concluding the winter season playing indoors in Rotterdam, Hewitt will travel to the States for the American spring hard-court season where he will begin his quest for a third consecutive Indian Wells title before moving on to Miami where he can pick up points after his opening-round loss to Franceso Clavet in 2003.

Traditionally, Hewitt has produced solid results playing on American hard courts. He had a disappointing clay-court season this year and could win valuable ranking points before Roland Garros in 2004. Hewitt plans to play either two or three clay-court tournaments before Paris, which may include Monte Carlo, Rome and/or Hamburg.

A first-round upset victim at Wimbledon this year, the three-time Queen's Club champion has scheduled the Stella Artois tournament and Wimbledon as his grass-court events before traveling to North America for the summer hard-court season.

A passionate and patriotic supporter of the Australian Davis Cup team, Hewitt has posted a 23-5 singles record, including a 5-0 singles mark this year, in a Davis Cup career that started in 1999. He needs two singles victories to eclipse Australia's Davis Cup record for most career singles victories. Adrian Quist currently holds the record for most singles wins with a 24-10 singles record in a nine-year cup career that began in 1933.

While he recognizes the prestige of playing in the Olympics, Hewitt said the team competition of Davis Cup makes it a more meaningful event.

"For athletes in many other sports, the Olympics are the be-all and end-all," Hewitt told Schlink. "It comes around once every four years for them and it's understandably huge. For a tennis player, you can pack up your bags after losing at the Olympics and be on cloud nine two weeks later if you've had a win in New York. For me, Davis Cup is about representing Australia in a team sport and I love it. Although you're still representing Australia at the Olympics, you're doing it as an individual."

jtipson
12-17-2003, 06:15 PM
Interesting. BTW, I'm sure I read months ago that Agassi wouldn't be competing at the Olympics.

Havok
12-17-2003, 06:22 PM
:rolleyes: and Agassi hasn't played Davis Cup in a while, so i dont even think he's eligible. and he's said it many times that he wasn't gonna play the Olympics

Deboogle!.
12-17-2003, 07:07 PM
Agassi seems like the type for something like the olympics he won, so he'd like to leave it open for other people. he says that's why he doesn't play DC anymore.

I dunno though, it seems like the Olympics would be a great preparation for the USO but whatever Lleyton lol

WyverN
12-18-2003, 12:34 AM
Just more proof that Olympics don't mean very much to the majority of players.

The fact that Hewitt isn't willing to sacrifice his performance in *one* grand slam for the sake of a event that happens once in 4 years surely shows that.

And Hewitt is one of the most devoted players to his country as well.

Deboogle!.
12-18-2003, 12:56 AM
Well it's up to individual players. It's not like some of the other sports, where the Olympics are the pinnacle. Lleyton's right - they have the Grand Slams and Davis Cup every year, but for most of the summer sports the Olympics is the top. Some tennis players clearly find it important though. I guess it depends on how a person is exposed to the Olympics their whole life. To me it's really important no matter what and I know that if I were a tennis player who could play at the Olympics, I'd play no matter what, because I love the Olympics and think they're important. In fact, outside of tennis, the Olympics are pretty much the only sports I ever watch.

If Lleyton doesn't feel that way, that's his perogative.... oh well it'll just be one less player in the way of some of our faves who WILL be there :)

Dirk
12-18-2003, 01:09 AM
Hewitt should just only play the two masters and then the event and then the Open. I mean comes on what about the guys who go to Long Island the week before the Open, that doesn't mean they will be too tired to play the Open and not go far. Hewitt probably doesn't want to girl since his girlfriend doesn't want to go.

Chloe le Bopper
12-18-2003, 05:25 AM
If only Roddick would join him ;) Just kidding, I want Roddick good and tired before the USO :devil: Just kidding again... that didnt' work so well this year ;)

Sincerely - DARN IT! I was really hoping to see Hewitt on my box. *ahem*

MisterQ
12-18-2003, 05:29 AM
I can't imagine wanting to pass up an opportunity for an Olympic Medal, regardless of what sport it was in.

But I guess the players think differently.

Deboogle!.
12-18-2003, 05:45 AM
I can't imagine wanting to pass up an opportunity for an Olympic Medal, regardless of what sport it was in.

But I guess the players think differently.

Exactly.

oxy
12-18-2003, 05:57 AM
i guess different players do think differently towards different tournaments....like guga who says that an olympic medal will complete his career....whereas we have here hewitt who do not think so highly of an olympic medal....but its quite difficult to judge cos hewitt is still young n 4 yrs later he might have a different opinion n wanna go for an olympic medal....i guess its about prioritization in their careers rite now....im not so sure...just my 2cents worth.....whatever it is....i think every tournament in 2004 will be very exciting.....;)

esther
12-18-2003, 06:38 AM
ook so he can act like a hero by *sacrificing not playing tournaments to play his best for his country in DC* blah blah blah ...he just wanted to play golf but newayyyy and i know DC isnt the same as the olympics but if that were true and playing for Australia means SOOO much for him then yeah thats why he thinks USO is more importnant than representing aus in the olympics?!?!

:rolleyes:

WyverN
12-18-2003, 08:11 AM
ook so he can act like a hero by *sacrificing not playing tournaments to play his best for his country in DC* blah blah blah ...he just wanted to play golf but newayyyy and i know DC isnt the same as the olympics but if that were true and playing for Australia means SOOO much for him then yeah thats why he thinks USO is more importnant than representing aus in the olympics?!?!

:rolleyes:

yes that is strange, if Hewitt is so patriotic and commited to DC then why skip the olympics?

JeLuliA88
12-18-2003, 08:25 AM
Most of the top players don't really seem to wanna play the Olympics cos it's so close to the US Open... i'm glad Hewitt is not playing the olympics, it means i don't have to see him on tv (thank god)!

heya
12-18-2003, 08:33 AM
lol

joske
12-18-2003, 10:45 AM
Hmmm.. I just can't understand why some people are blaming tennis players for not wanting to play the olympics (like Clijsters, over here the press was totally out to get her bc she decided not to play then)? :confused: With their busy schedules -they play all year round + tennis is not exactly a sport that is physically light?- and especially with the US Open situation now, isn't it understandable that a tennis pro prefers to play a slam than some medal? Okay, an olympic medal is a big thing, but in tennis, Slams easily put the olympics in the shade, no?

I think it's not up to the public or the press to criticize the decisions of these players, it's their career, let them do what THEY want!

Deboogle!.
12-18-2003, 01:58 PM
well with Kim it is different because she's saying it's because of her clothing contract, and I'm sorry but that's a stupid reason not to play for your country in the Olympics. You suck it up and work it out. If Michael Jordan can work out a clothing contract issue, I'm sure Kim Clijsters can.

Anyway, good points oxy, Hewitt can play again in 2008 if he really wants and it's probably Guga's last chance. It'll be interesting to see if the older guys stay home and and the older guys show up.

Experimentee
12-18-2003, 02:40 PM
Instead of blaming the players for not playing I think something needs to be done about the stupid Olympic scheduling. Why would they schedule tennis so close to a Grand Slam? Apparently tennis will be played in the 2nd week, why cant they play it in the 1st week so players have enough time to prepare for the US Open?
I find it hard to believe Kim's decision was just about the clothing contract, it seems too stupid a reason. There must be something else she disagrees with, like the scheduling.

star
12-18-2003, 02:53 PM
Screw the Olympics.

The Olympics isn't about tennis. Tennis was just something that was attached to the Olympics when the Olympics got the overblown notion that it was the major sporting event for EVERY sport. (And then maybe there was the idea that there could be even more potential for a shake down of the host cities to line the pockets of the olympics board members.) The whole olympic movement is going to implode if it keeps on at it's current pace.

Deboogle!.
12-18-2003, 02:54 PM
You'd think if there were another reason for her to not play that she'd use it. I mean, the clothes thing is really stupid lol

the problem with having the Olympics the first week is that it'd be directly after TMS Cincinnati. So this way there's a week off after that and a week off after the Olympics before the USO.

star
12-18-2003, 02:58 PM
That's yet another problem with the Olympics. Every nation's olympic committee sells itself to sponsors. The international committee sells itself to sponsors. So I don't see that anyone can complain if a potential competitor says, "Sorry. I've already sold myself. I'm not available for the sponsor to whom you've sold yourself."

jtipson
12-18-2003, 02:59 PM
I think they've probably done as well as they can with the timing of the tennis event, given that the Olympics is in the northern hemisphere this time around. Since the surface is going to be similar to the USOpen, I'd say Athens would be good preparation for it.

It just sounds like Hewitt doesn't want to play the Olympics. No big deal. He won't be the only one.

However, I do wonder whether this is a sign that his schedule will still be reduced this year.

Deboogle!.
12-18-2003, 03:08 PM
yes jtipson, the surface and ball choices were made with USO preparation in mind. There's an ITF press release around to that effect.

Star, much of the reason that smaller nations get sponsored is because many of their athletes cannot afford to go to the games and the OCs in those countries can't afford it either. In countries like the US, Germany, Russia (big Olympic countries) that's probably not a problem, but in Belgium, where tennis players are their best athletes I'd guess, they probably can't, so they HAVE to seek sponsorships so that their players can even go at all. Is that selling out? I don't know, that's a matter of opinion.

All I'm saying is that if the top basketball players in the country (who are spoiled overpaid babies for the most part) can suck it up and just cover up a logo so that their own sponsors don't get mad, I'm sure Kim could've done it if she really wanted to lol. If she doesn't really want to, that's a different story, and maybe she didn't want to do it badly enough to fight for it.

joske
12-18-2003, 03:45 PM
That's yet another problem with the Olympics. Every nation's olympic committee sells itself to sponsors. The international committee sells itself to sponsors. So I don't see that anyone can complain if a potential competitor says, "Sorry. I've already sold myself. I'm not available for the sponsor to whom you've sold yourself."

Yeah, I mean if Kim signed a contract, she has to do what it says in the contract.. Why else would the make up contracts??? If she breaks the rules she'll be in trouble with Fila, why would she want that? And besides, the clothing thing is NOT the only reason... Maybe she didn't say that explicitly, but the busy schedule *especially US Open!* hardly allow for even more tournaments (including the Olympics..)

I think at the olympics, only sports like erm running *do you call it that? lol* and gymnastics and swimming and stuff are big, bc the ppl who practice these sports are preparing for the olympics for years! As opposed to sports like tennis, that already have tournaments and championships that are the ultimate goal of each player... And if the only motivation is to play for your country to make it look good, well.. I think that's silly :)

+ if I were a player and I didn't want to participate in the olympics *yah right lol* I wouldn't.. I'm proud of Kim that she doesn't simply do something only bc the Belgian sporting whatchamacallit says so..

Winston's Human
12-18-2003, 04:10 PM
"Tennis was just something that was attached to the Olympics when the Olympics got the overblown notion that it was the major sporting event for EVERY sport."

That should be re-attached. Tennis was an Olympic sport from 1896 to 1924.

Deboogle!.
12-18-2003, 05:26 PM
Contracts were made to be broken lol and they were also made to be negotiated. If Kim really wanted to go to the Olympics, surely she could have. She probably didn't want to go badly enough to bother.

Lady
12-18-2003, 06:06 PM
Contracts were made to be broken lol and they were also made to be negotiated. If Kim really wanted to go to the Olympics, surely she could have. She probably didn't want to go badly enough to bother.

I agree with you completely :D :wavey:
I think it's obvious that Kim doesn't wanna play there. So, ok, nobody should force her to do that!
Olympics are for the people who wanna participate!! :D
I'm glad that Justine is one of them :angel:

Well, i think Williams Sisters will be there, otherwise they wouldn't play Fed Cup this year ;)

Lisbeth
12-18-2003, 11:40 PM
Interesting indeed.

I have heard some excellent arguments for why certain sports, including tennis, should be limited to amateurs if indeed they are in the Olympics at all. In other words, it would effectively become a championship of top juniors and a great opportunity for them to represent their countries - and get some exposure in the process as well as valuable experience.

As for Hewitt, there's no doubting his patriotism or that he honestly really wanted the DC this year. The difference between the Olympics and Davis Cup is that with Davis Cup him playing, and playing at his peak, was likely to make the difference between winning the thing or not. With the Olympics it's maybe one medal for Australia out of 30 or 40. And if they're playing on clay, then it's not even a particularly good chance of that.

I think what this does show is that he's very, very serious about the slams next year. He's always been inclined to have one main focus at a time.

Lisbeth
12-18-2003, 11:53 PM
I would also like to say that it's very mature (and patriotic, in the sense of in Aus's best interests) for him to say so now so that the next tier players can prepare. I suspect many top players will say they are going then develop strange "injuries" and "exhaustion" and leave their countries in the lurch.

Deboogle!.
12-19-2003, 01:29 AM
And if they're playing on clay, then it's not even a particularly good chance of that.


They announced months ago that the Olympics will be played on the same exact surface (and same exact ball) as the USO because of the proximity.

The Olympics are also worth 80 rankings points (though I'm not sure if it'll count as a "best 5" event or a bonus for those who play)

Lynne
12-19-2003, 01:53 AM
Well, we should respect thier decision. Both Olympics and Grand Slams hold great importance , but I think winning Grand Slams are more prestigious than an Olympic medal, considering all top players would most likely compete unless injured. I think competing in GS can also show the patriotic side of a player. True they might be playing for themselves but come to think of it, if a player from a certain country wins, he would bring pride to his country too.... That's just my opinion.. :)

Lisbeth
12-19-2003, 04:46 AM
They announced months ago that the Olympics will be played on the same exact surface (and same exact ball) as the USO because of the proximity.

The Olympics are also worth 80 rankings points (though I'm not sure if it'll count as a "best 5" event or a bonus for those who play)

;) Thanks, I stand corrected on the clay (not sure where I got that idea!) But I stand by my belief that Lleyton's involvement is a lot more critical to Aussie success at Davis Cup than Aussie success at the Olympics. Though, as an aside, people will have to realise that Athens will be a let down for the Aus team generally after Sydney, with home ground advantage and all. The Greeks should do great though :) .

I think it's good that they get at least some ranking points for it, but for many it will still be placed in too hectic a part of the calendar.

Leo
12-21-2003, 02:52 AM
I don't understand what Clijsters or Hewitt are thinking. An Olympic medal is huge, no matter what the sport is. Both of them came up with extremely lame excuses for skipping.

Anyway, Hewitt will play DC every year of his career, so he'll definitely break that record for most wins in Aussie DC competition. Pretty impressive.

Deboogle!.
12-21-2003, 03:13 AM
I don't understand what Clijsters or Hewitt are thinking. An Olympic medal is huge, no matter what the sport is. Both of them came up with extremely lame excuses for skipping.


thank you, I'm glad someone sees it the same way I do!

Leo
12-21-2003, 03:34 AM
thank you, I'm glad someone sees it the same way I do!

:p

Yeah, I mean if Hewitt's really worried about preparation for the US Open, why doesn't he just skip one or both of the Masters Series for the Olympics?! He definitely can't say that Cincinnati or Toronto are more prestigious and coveted titles than the Olympic gold medal. And it's not like a plane ride to Europe is really going to kill him.

WyverN
12-21-2003, 06:21 AM
Because olympis while highly prestigious in other sports, don't mean much at all in terms of tennis.

Look for a lot more pull outs once it is closer to the event.

J. Corwin
12-21-2003, 10:17 AM
I'm not too surprised that Hewitt decides to go this route.

Obviously the ATP sees the Olympics as a smaller event than a TMS, through the possible ranking points awarded.

Deboogle!.
12-21-2003, 10:33 PM
lol tangieeee :hug:

maratski
12-22-2003, 09:51 PM
The olympics sans potato :woohoo: