2004 Australian Open [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

2004 Australian Open

01-13-2004, 04:37 PM
I realize I'm jumping the gun here, but someone has to :p And besides, I think you've all figured out by now how much I enjoy creating new threads :p So here it is, for when things start rolling in, whenever that is.

01-15-2004, 05:35 AM
thanks for the new thread :worship:
LL will be the 15th seed at AO

First and foremost
Roddick, Henin-Hardenne named top seeds for Australian Open
Posted: Thursday January 15, 2004 1:26AM; Updated: Thursday January 15, 2004 1:27AM

Andy Roddick reached his first Grand Slam semi last year in Melbourne after outlasting Younes El Aynaoui in a match that lasted nearly five hours.
Sean Garnsworthy/Getty Images
MELBOURNE (Reuters) -- World number one Andy Roddick took his place on Thursday at the top of the draw for next week's Australian Open and his female counterpart Justine Henin-Hardenne was named top seed in the women's field.

Roddick, a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park last year, had a sparkling 2003, becoming the youngest American, at 21 years and two months, in the history of the ATP rankings to finish the year as world number one, and winning his first grand slam at the U.S. Open.

Defending champion Andre Agassi was named fourth seed. He is aiming to win a fifth title in Melbourne, having won in 1995, 2000, 2001 and 2003.

At 33 years and eight months, Agassi is the oldest direct entry in the men's draw and still the man to beat.

Seeded second is Wimbledon and Tennis Masters Cup champion Roger Federer, followed by French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, a quarter-finalist here last year.

Two Australians made the seeds, Mark Philippoussis at 10 and number 15 Lleyton Hewitt. Neither has been past the fourth round at Melbourne Park.

Philippoussis was a Wimbledon finalist last year and Hewitt will be desperate to add his home grand slam to the U.S. Open and Wimbledon titles already under his belt.

In the women's draw, French and U.S. Open champion Henin-Hardenne will top the Melbourne seedings for the first time. Her Belgian compatriot, Kim Clijsters, is seeded second.

Clijsters finished runner-up to Henin-Hardenne in both Paris and New York last year and her chances of going one better have not been helped by a foot injury which forced her out of warm-ups in Perth and Sydney.

Returning from an injury which kept her out of the game since the Wimbledon final in July she lost to sister Serena is Venus Williams. Last year's runner-up has been vaulted from her world ranking of 11 to number three seed under a WTA plan.

She will be keen to keep the Williams name in the winners' circle and add the Australian Open to her U.S. Open and Wimbledon successes.

France's Amelie Mauresmo is fourth followed by 2000 champion Lindsay Davenport at five.

The Australian Open draw will take place at Melbourne Park on Friday. The two-week grand slam begins on Monday.

Copyright 2004 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

Australian Open men's seeds
2004-01-15 04:07:47 GMT (Reuters)

MELBOURNE, Jan 15 (Reuters) -
List of men's seeds for next week's Australian Open.
1. Andy Roddick (U.S.)
2. Roger Federer (Switzerland)
3. Juan Carlos Ferrero (Spain)
4. Andre Agassi (U.S.)
5. Guillermo Coria (Argentina)
6. Rainer Schuettler (Germany)
7. Carlos Moya (Spain)
8. David Nalbandian (Argentina)
9. Sebastien Grosjean (France)
10. Mark Philippoussis (Australia)
11. Tim Henman (Britain)
12. Nicolas Massu (Chile)
13. Paradorn Srichaphan (Thailand)
14. Jiri Novak (Czech Republic)
15. Lleyton Hewitt (Australia)
16. Sjeng Schalken (Netherlands)
17. Martin Verkerk (Netherlands)
18. Younes El Aynaoui (Morocco)
19. Gustavo Kuerten (Brazil)
20. Tommy Robredo (Spain)
21. Mardy Fish (U.S.)
22. Agustin Calleri (Argentina)
23. Felix Mantilla (Spain)
24. Max Mirnyi (Belarus)
25. Jonas Bjorkman (Sweden)
26. Albert Costa (Spain)
27. Taylor Dent (U.S.)
28. Feliciano Lopez (Spain)
29. Vincent Spadea (U.S.)
30. Arnaud Clement (France)
31. Wayne Ferreira (South Africa)
32. Robby Ginepri (U.S.)

01-15-2004, 10:04 AM
:wavey: thread and specially canadian ladies

i'm happy to announce that the 2nd round of qualies for AO features

K Vliegen vs F Dancevic go kristof

edit: i'm sure dagmar will provide us with the oop (i forgot to check :eek: )

01-15-2004, 11:29 PM
Oh, you're sure, are you?;) Well, you were right. Here is the relevant order of play...out on sexy court 10. Go Frank!


Court 10

10:00 AM
Start 1. Women's Qual. Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Libuse Prusova (CZE) vs. Catalina Castano (COL)[16] In Progress
followed by:
2. Women's Qual. Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Stephanie Gehrlein (GER) vs. Natalie Grandin (RSA)
3. Men's Qual. Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Louis Vosloo (RSA) vs. Alexander Peya (AUT)[25]
4. Men's Qual. Singles - 2nd Rnd.
George Bastl (SUI) vs. Jerome Golmard (FRA)
5. Men's Qual. Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Kristof Vliegen (BEL) vs. Frank Dancevic (CAN)

01-16-2004, 02:47 AM
Australian Open men's singles draw
2004-01-16 03:15:33 GMT (Reuters)

MELBOURNE, Jan 16 (Reuters) -
Men's singles draw for next week's Australian Open tennis championship (prefix number denotes seeding)
1-Andy Roddick (U.S.) v Fernando Gonzalez (Chile)
Bohdan Ulihrach (Czech Republic) v Lars Burgsmuller (Germany)
Irakli Labadze (Georgia) v Juan Ignacio Chela (Argentina)
Paul-Henri Mathieu (France) v 27-Taylor Dent (U.S.)

18-Younes El Aynaoui (Morocco) v Galo Blanco (Spain)
Jurgen Melzer (Austria) v Tomas Behrend (Germany)
David Ferrer (Spain) v Qualifier
Qualifier v 16-Sjeng Schalken (Netherlands)

12-Nicolas Massu (Chile) v Jarkko Nieminen
(Finland) Marat Safin (Russia) v Brian Vahaly (U.S.)
Antony Dupuis (France) v Todd Martin (U.S.)
Ivo Karlovic (Croatia) v 21-Mardy Fish (U.S.)

30-Arnaud Clement (France) v Nikolay Davydenko (Russia)
Qualifier v Igor Andreev (Russia)
Oscar Hernandez (Spain) v Nicolas Lapentti (Ecuador)
James Blake (U.S.) v 7-Carlos Moya (Spain)

4-Andre Agassi (U.S.) v Todd Larkham (Australia)
Nicolas Mahut (France) v Qualifier
Karol Beck (Slovakia) v Stefan Koubek (Austria)
Thomas Enqvist (Sweden) v 29-Vincent Spadea (U.S.)

19-Gustavo Kuerten (Brazil) v John van Lottum (Netherlands)
Dmitry Tursunov (Russia) v Ivan Ljubicic (Croatia)
Qualifier v Albert Portas (Spain)
Jose Acasuso (Argentina) v 13-Paradorn Srichaphan (Thailand)

9-Sebastien Grosjean (France) v Mikhail Youzhny (Russia)
Jan-Michael Gambill (U.S.) v Gregory Carraz (France)
Dominik Hrbaty (Slovakia) v Flavio Saretta (Brazil)
Gaston Gaudio (Argentina) v 20-Tommy Robredo (Spain)

32-Robby Ginepri (U.S.) v Luis Horna (Peru)
Chris Guccione (Australia) v Alun Jones (Australia)
Nicolas Escude (France) v Lee Hyung-taik (South Korea)
Robin Soderling (Sweden) v 6-Rainer Schuettler (Germany)

5-Guillermo Coria (Argentina) v Cyril Saulnier (France)
Olivier Mutis (France) v Hicham Arazi (Morocco)
Wayne Arthurs (Australia) v Qualifier
Greg Rusedski (Britain) v 26-Albert Costa (Spain)

17-Martin Verkerk (Netherlands) v Alex Corretja (Spain)
Raemon Sluiter (Netherlands) v Mario Ancic (Croatia)
Fabrice Santoro (France) v Peter Luczak (Australia)
Thomas Johansson (Sweden) v 10-Mark Philippoussis (Australia)

14-Jiri Novak (Czech Republic) v Olivier Rochus (Belgium)
Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo (Spain) v Qualifier
Qualifier v Qualifier
Andrei Pavel (Romania) v 24-Max Mirnyi (Belarus)

28-Feliciano Lopez (Spain) v Alberto Martin (Spain)
Joachim Johansson (Sweden) v Alexander Popp (Germany)
Nicolas Kiefer (Germany) v Filippo Volandri (Italy)
Albert Montanes (Spain) v 3-Juan Carlos Ferrero (Spain)

8-David Nalbandian (Argentina) v Qualifier
Qualifier v Richard Gasquet (France)
David Sanchez (Spain) v Wesley Moodie (South Africa)
Victor Hanescu (Romania) v 31-Wayne Ferreira (South Africa)

22-Agustin Calleri (Argentina) v Christophe Rochus (Belgium)
Guillermo Canas (Argentina) v Qualifier
Davide Sanguinetti (Italy) v Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic)
Jean-Rene Lisnard (France) v 11-Tim Henman (Britain)

15-Lleyton Hewitt (Australia) v Qualifier
Xavier Malisse (Belgium) v Karol Kucera (Slovakia) ( :eek:Malisse and Kucera again)
Rafael Nadal (Spain) v Qualifier
Thierry Ascione (France) v 23-Felix Mantilla (Spain)

25-Jonas Bjorkman (Sweden) v Sargis Sargsian (Armenia) Vadim Kutsenko (Uzbekistan) v Todd Reid (Australia)
Qualifier v Dennis van Scheppingen (Netherlands)
Qualifier v 2-Roger Federer (Switzerland)

01-16-2004, 04:05 AM
Thanks very much, Nomad. :)

01-16-2004, 04:54 AM
Bud Collins is picking Lleyton to WIN at:


Sorry but for some reason I can't cut and paste. While you're at the site, some might like to vote for Lleyton on the incredibly pro-American poll they have going (not surprising since it's an American site but Ll should be on more than 5%!)

01-16-2004, 08:01 AM
draws are online as well as live scores at


01-16-2004, 12:23 PM
draws are online as well as live scores at


Congrats to Kristof Vliegen. :kiss:

Who defeated Frank Dancevic 7-5 in the third set.:sad:

Thanks for all the draws and links.:D
Ll's draw certainly isn't easy, but it could be worse.

01-16-2004, 12:54 PM
Here it is Number1Kim!

By Bud Collins
NBC Sports
Updated: 12:19 a.m. ET Jan. 16, 2004

Out with the old, and in with the new? Will that be the theme of the initial major of this new tennis season, the 99-year-old Australian Championships on the mean green slabs of Melbourne Park? Could be. More on that as we look at the men to watch.

The old champion and getting older –- yet nonetheless bolder -- by the minute is “Father Timely,” Andre Agassi, on the prowl for a fifth Aussie title to accompany those of 1995, 2000, 2001, 2003 in his racket bag.

Although he turns 34 in three months, Andre benefits from the fitness of a racehorse and more than half a lifetime of experience on the big league track.

I could see him winning the Aussie again and at last surpassing his spouse in at least one major phase.

Agassi's wife, Steffi Graf, won the Aussie four times: 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1994, and retains the family’s overall bragging rights when it comes to majors with her 22 singles titles to Andre’s eight.

• Roddick will have tough start to Open
• Roddick earns top seed
• Collins: Agassi still a threat to win
• Vote: Who will win's men's Open?
• More on tennis
I’m not alone in the feeling that Agassi just might grab another major in Melbourne.

“I think Andre can win another major,” says U.S. Davis Cup Captain Patrick McEnroe.

“And the Aussie is his best opportunity. Andre’s well rested, and obviously knows how to pace himself. He loves the extreme Australian summer heat.”

The fresher faces start with ramrodding American Andy Roddick, shooting from the hip and the No. 1 position.

Andy might have won the Aussie a year ago if he hadn’t injured his right wrist diving for a volley during that colossal quarterfinal win over Younes El Aynaoui, covering five hours, a saved match point, and climaxing in a 21-19 fifth set.

Andy had nothing left to combat Rainer Schuettler in the semis, and missed the chance to pressure Agassi more than Schuettler could.

For Roddick -- blending old and new years with an Aussie championship tied to his 2003 U.S. Open title –- would put him in rare, illustrious company.

The first American to do it was Californian Don Budge on his way to the original Grand Slam, which Don launched with the 1938 Aussie, having won the U.S. Open the previous September.

Fred Perry, the dashing Brit (the last known English male tennis player?) succeeded in turning the trick with the U.S. Open in 1933 and the Aussie in 1934.

Then, after World War II, came Aussie Roy Emerson, 1964-65; Pete Sampras, 1993-94, and 1996-97, followed by Agassi, 1994-95, and 1999-2000.

Can Roddick become the sixth in that select fraternity?

No surprise if he does.

A growing ability to capitalize on his groundies with more daring volleying could be the edge for a guy whose thundering serve and forehand are proven.

There was almost unanimous agreement that Roger Federer was the planet’s finest at the close of the year as he brushed aside all opposition among the elite eight in Houston to seize the Masters.

Roger, though but 22, stocks everything in his arsenal.

The Wimbledon champ has created a style that seems a throwback to the more elegant days of shotmaking: backcourt solidity, serve-and-volley prowess, pinpoint serving -– all of it done with a seemingly effortless smoothness that is such a contrast to, say, the high-intensity slam-banging of Roddick.

But will Roger, never a factor in four previous shots at the Aussie, be haunted by his most recent appearance in Rod Laver Arena?

That was Switzerland’s Davis Cup semifinal against Australia when he folded before Lleyton Hewitt, even though leading 2-0 in sets and serving for the match in the third.

Hewitt's my pick to walk away with this major.

This quivering young mass of relentless heart and legs is surely far better than his current No. 15 status.

Wasn’t he No. 1 in 2001 and 2002, winning the Masters both years?

He will be 23 in February, and his best accomplishments, I believe, are ahead.

He set his sights on the 2003 Davis Cup, and, that accomplished, Lleyton’s mission is to retrieve the Aussie Open title for his beloved homeland.

I feel that challenge will rekindle his flame-throwing personality.

Twenty-eight years have passed since an Aussie last wore the crown –- a lightning-striking almost anonymous Mark Edmondson coming through startlingly over the bodies of all-time Aussie greats Ken Rosewall and John Newcombe.

Hewitt probably got sidetracked in 2003 by his wacky lawsuit against the ATP, and –- pleasantly –- by his romance and engagement to Kim Clijsters.

Illness prevented a serious challenge in 2002.

Now I think he’s ready to restore an Australian luster to the winner’s circle.

Another Aussie with the same idea, the gargantuan Mark Philippoussis, has possibilities of bringing the title back to his hometown, Melbourne, where another townie, Patrick Cash, failed in the 1987 and 1988 finals.

Philippoussis, on his way to last summer's Wimbledon final, may have cost Agassi that title with his avalanche serving.

Carlos Moya has showed Melbourne a thing or two in bulling his way to the final in 1997, and illuminated Laver Arena with his volleying in beating Philippoussis during the recent Davis Cup final.

His Spanish teammate, Juan Carlos Ferrero, the French Open champ, has shown improvement on the hard stuff, beating Agassi to reach the U.S. Open final.

But he was a Davis Cup flop at the Laver venue, via five-set defeats to Hewitt and Philippoussis.

Don’t overlook Argentine David Nalbandian, Wimbledon finalist in 2002, and holder of a match point against Roddick in a U.S. Open semifinal.

Three-time French Open champ, Brazilian Guga Kuerten, could march a ways, gradually regaining his post-hip-surgery form and confidence.

But the best Argentine, Guillermo Coria, a U.S. Open quarterfinalist to Agassi, pulled up hors de combat days ago, withdrawing from the New Zealand Open with an abdominal strain.

Where’s Russia’s “Headless Horseman,” Marat Safin?

The guy who should have won in 2002, and casually blew the title bout to a considerably lesser Swede, Tom Johansson, is mired at No. 86.

He ought to be in the top five, but will Marat ever get his brain together to make a run for it again?

There will be early upsets, as always in a major.

Remember qualifier Ivo Karlovic of the Croation Karlovics booting champ Hewitt from Wimbledon’s starting gate?

I expect young Americans Mardy Fish and Taylor Dent to cause some damage.

Possibly James Blake and Robbie Ginepri will rise to the occasion.

Among the troublemakers will be Dutchman Martin Verkerk, Thai Paradorn Srichaphan, Belrus Max Mirnyi, Moroccan El Aynaoui, France’s Sebatien Grosjean and Arnaud Clement, the German Schuettler.

But the champ, in my mind, must come from this group of headbreakers: Agassi, Roddick, Federer, Philippoussis and Hewitt –- with Lleyton getting my nod.

01-16-2004, 12:55 PM
Anyway, it's not a good sign because usually Bud is a very bad predictor. :)

01-16-2004, 01:24 PM
Linda Pierce's breakdrown of the men's and women's draw. Much angst over Philippoussis, with whom she is obviously in love.;)

Top Australians draw contrasting fortunes
By Linda Pearce
January 17, 2004

Mark Philippoussis and Lleyton Hewitt share the same half of the Australian Open draw, but yesterday's fortunes were contrasting. Hewitt's first match will be against a qualifier, while Philippoussis must face 2002 champion Thomas Johansson in the Swede's Melbourne Park return.

Hewitt's opponent will not be known until this afternoon, but 10th-seeded Philippoussis has the satisfaction of knowing he has beaten Johansson in each of their three previous matches, all of them on hardcourts.

Johansson, preparing for just his second tournament since February knee surgery, has already admitted a title repeat is beyond him; some early damage, however, is not.

The winner will play either Fabrice Santoro or local wildcard Peter Luczak, before a likely third-round assignment against French Open finalist Martin Verkerk, who eliminated Philippoussis 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) in the Sydney quarter-finals on Thursday. The injured Argentinian Guillermo Coria and world No. 3 Juan Carlos Ferrero are the highest-ranked seeds in the quarter.

For Hewitt, the 15th seed, there is a potential second round against Xavier Malisse or Karol Kucera, followed by Spain's Felix Mantilla, before a tantalising rematch with Wimbledon champion Roger Federer.

He has beaten the Swiss in seven of nine meetings, the last through an inspired comeback in the Davis Cup semi-final at Melbourne Park in September.

Johansson described his draw as "very, very tough. Mark is one of the best players in the world (and) is always a very tough opponent, but hopefully he feels the same way when he looks at the draw."

While the Australians are concentrated in the bottom half of the men's draw, the top half features top seed Andy Roddick, defending champion Andre Agassi and former finalists Carlos Moya and Rainer Schuettler.

Agassi, who starts against Australian wildcard Todd Larkham, is seeded for a third-round contest with countryman Vince Spadea who, in 1999, was the last player to beat the four-time titleholder at Melbourne Park.

As he did at the US Open, where he started against Tim Henman, Roddick received perhaps the most brutal draw of all, against Chilean slugger Fernando Gonzalez in a match billed as the biggest serve in the game against the heaviest forehand. "That's a tough first round," Roddick said of his prospects against the world No. 35, with whom he has split two previous career meetings.

"He's a very good player, he plays big. I don't know what he's ranked but I thought he would have been seeded. It's good; it means I'm going to have to play from the start. But he's dangerous, definitely, he hits huge balls and goes for broke, so we will see how it goes."

There will be two all-Australian wildcard first rounds: Evie Dominikovic and Trudi Musgrave, and Canberra's Alun Jones against local teenager-of-the-moment Chris Guccione, who stunned Ferrero in Sydney on Tuesday before an honourable loss to Wayne Ferreira.

"I played (Jones) a couple of months ago . . . and I went down four and four, but that was on a slow court, so hopefully things will change," Guccione said. "This match we'll both probably be a little bit tighter, so we'll see what happens. If I beat Alun, I'm sure I'm going to come up against a seed, so (the Ferrero match) just shows me that I can beat the seeds."

Women's favourite Justine Henin-Hardenne opens against 15-year-old South Australian Olivia Lukaszewicz, and shares the top of the draw with Lindsay Davenport - her possible round-of-16 foe - and fourth seed Amelie Mauresmo.

Venus Williams appears to have the benefit of a softer half, where much will depend on the state of Kim Clijsters's injured left ankle. "No news is good news as far as I'm concerned," said Open chief executive Paul McNamee. "I would anticipate she'll be there for the first round."

- with Karen Lyon

01-17-2004, 08:50 AM
thanks for all the info, everyone :kiss: :worship:

01-17-2004, 11:22 AM
The qualifiers have been placed in the draw and Lleyton got Cecil Mamiit... he's ranked 194th, highest rank is only in the 70's. Lleyton is 2-0 against him, both wins in straight sets and both wins including a bagel!

01-17-2004, 02:20 PM
Either Lleyton or Juan Carlos better win this tournament!

01-17-2004, 09:46 PM
The kind of article that makes me nervous, but I can't resist snack-consumption statistics. Sort of a summary on who's injured/missing too...

Hot Hewitt goes up a notch

LLEYTON Hewitt is on track to take his first Australian Open, winning an injury-marred anti-climax to the Adidas International yesterday.

Melbourne's other favourite, Andre Agassi, was disappointing in his last hit before tomorrow's grand slam start, losing the final of the Commonwealth Bank International at Kooyong in straight sets to Argentine David Nalbandian.
Warm-up tournaments provided an enthralling entree to the Open, with female top-seed Justine Henin-Hardenne also victorious at the Adidas International in Sydney.

Despite Agassi's loss, fans hope for a dream final between the American veteran and young gun Hewitt.

Hewitt took out his third Adidas International, becoming the youngest Australian to win 20 ATP titles, after opponent Carlos Moya retired due to an ankle injury he suffered while trailing in the first set.

Hewitt said he was more confident with each win.

"I felt like I really, really went up a notch today," he said. "I thought it was a very high-standard match early on."

The tournament also proved momentous for Aussie veteran Todd Woodbridge, who won a world-record 79th doubles title when he and Swedish partner Jonas Bjorkman claimed a three-set victory in the final of the men's doubles.

The on-court action was a relief to Australian Open organisers, after preparations for the grand slam were marred by the Greg Rusedski drug-test scandal and the withdrawal of several of the world's top female stars due to injury.

Despite testing positive to a banned steroid, British champ Rusedski is set to take his place in the Open in a first-round clash with Spaniard Albert Costa.

Records crowds are expected to flock for the start of court action tomorrow.

While superstar Serena Williams, two-time champion Jennifer Capriati and one-time Australian Jelena Dokic won't be at Melbourne Park, hundreds of thousands of fans will be, and organisers have ensured they won't go hungry.

The crowds are expected to devour 159,000 ice-creams, 18,000 burgers, 17,000 sushi rolls, 18,500 sausages, 4000 curries and 12,900 boxes of noodles during the tournament's 14 days.

To wash the food down, there will be more than 126,000 bottles of water and 250,000 beers. Fans are expected to drink almost 120,000 cups of coffee.

Organisers hope recent good weather will be repeated for the tournament, which this year has been marketed as the Asia-Pacific region's grand slam.

The rocky road to the tournament began nine days ago when Rusedski outed himself as testing positive to a banned steroid. The big-serving champ sparked worldwide controversy, claiming tennis authorities inadvertently supplied him the drug.

Rusedski decided to play the Open despite facing an anti-doping hearing next month.

Then came the withdrawal of Williams, battling to overcome knee surgery, Capriati with a back injury, and Dokic who said her preparation had not been up to par.

And injury dogs Belgian Kim Clijsters and the USA's Lindsay Davenport.

01-18-2004, 01:07 PM
Article discusses the Australian players' chances at the Open and makes me nervous in the process.

Time for a new hero
January 19, 2004

Not since 1976 has an Australian man - Mark Edmondson - won the Australian Open. But, now, Mark Philippoussis and Lleyton Hewitt look ready to end the drought.

Mark Edmondson loves this time of year. It is in mid-January that the tennis world is reminded that balding, moustachioed "Edo" remains the last Australian to win an Australian Open men's title.

This year, his reign will reach 28 years. But Mark Philippoussis and Lleyton Hewitt look better equipped than ever to break it.

Philippoussis is seeded 10th and faces a tricky first-round tie in the tournament, beginning today, against 2002 champion Thomas Johansson, who is on the comeback trail from a knee injury.

The 27-year-old is coming off a career-best year that saw him reach the final at Wimbledon and win the deciding rubber in the Davis Cup final, battling injury to clinch a five-setter.

Finishing in the year-end top 10 for the first time in his career, Philippoussis appears to have matured beyond being the big-server with a penchant for flash girlfriends and flasher cars into a player of genuine substance.

Boasting a game suited to the quick Rebound Ace surface, Philippoussis's challenge will be to find the consistency that will see him through two weeks of top-level tennis.

Hewitt had the first down year of his career in 2003, which saw the former world No.1 slump to No.17 by year's end as he played just 47 matches in a deliberate effort to keep himself fresh.

That program was designed to prepare him for the successful Davis Cup campaign, highlighted by a stirring win over Roger Federer in the semi-final, and also to have him injury-free for the Australian Open.

Past campaigns had seen Hewitt burdened by the pressure of being No.1, tiredness and even chickenpox resulting in a modest 9-7 record in this tournament.

Week two, and the added pressure it brings, will be something new to the South Australian, but he finally looks ready to produce.

An 11-match, four-month unbeaten run culminating in a second Davis Cup and 20th career title is not enough to lull Hewitt into a false sense of security as he chases this elusive title.

He feels he's playing some of the best tennis of his career but will be taking nothing for granted when he opens up against world No.195 Cecil Mamiit at Melbourne Park tomorrow.

"I've still got to go out and get the job done next week," said a no-nonsense Hewitt after his abbreviated victory over injured Spaniard Carlos Moya in Saturday's final of the adidas International in Sydney. "There's a hell of a lot of good players out there. You've got to be wary and give respect to every opponent you play."

Hewitt, the 2001 US Open and 2002 Wimbledon champion, titleholder Andre Agassi and fellow former world No.1 Gustavo Kuerten are the only three players in the 128-man draw to have won multiple grand slams.

And, make no mistake, as cautious as Hewitt is, Australia's great hope is bursting with confidence after rediscovering the form that elevated him to the dizzy heights of 2001-02.

"I feel like I'm hitting the ball as well, if not better [than when I was No.1]," he said. "I guess I couldn't be happier with my game right at the moment.

"I felt like from the US Open [last September], every match that I've played after that, even though it wasn't a lot - the Davis Cup matches right through the US Open to the quarters there - that I've played some of my best tennis I've ever played."

Despite not having progressed beyond the round of 16 at his home grand slam, Hewitt didn't believe he'd done too much wrong at Melbourne Park.

As top seed last year, Hewitt "couldn't have done much more" to stop Younes El Aynaoui, who played the match of his life to upset the tournament favourite in a four-set fourth-round thriller.

As top seed in 2001, Hewitt was never a chance suffering from chickenpox. He is ready this time around.

"I've had the preparation and warm-up and everything in the match conditions, but I didn't waste any energy," Hewitt said of his Sydney experience.

His third tournament success in Sydney made Hewitt the youngest Australian in open-era tennis to collect 20 ATP titles.

Only Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker, Mats Wilander, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl have reached the milestone in quicker time.

The victory propelled Hewitt from 16th to 11th in the rankings, but the 22-year-old South Australian will be the 15th seed in Melbourne, where his first serious test is expected to come from Federer in the fourth round.

Aside from the top guns, there is also a sense of expectation about the emerging young Australians, particularly Todd Reid and Chris Guccione, who had shown impressive lead-up form.

Both have winnable opening-round matches - Reid will play Uzbek Vadim Kutsenko and Guccione takes on compatriot Alun Jones - which is more than could be said for Todd Larkham, who plays Andre Agassi tonight.

Australia is still searching for a top-line women's player, with the hardy Nicole Pratt and Alicia Molik at long odds to reach the quarter-final stage.


01-18-2004, 02:41 PM
From the Herald Sun...some Agassi quotes about Lleyton etc.

Lleyton can rise again, says Andre
Paul Malone

DEFENDING champion Andre Agassi says Lleyton Hewitt can accelerate his climb back to the top of the rankings with a stirring Australian Open campaign.

While Hewitt's fall to No. 17 has been widely regarded as a career crisis, Agassi is amused by the talk, especially since his own ranking fell from No. 1 in 1995 to No. 141 in 1997 and then rebounded to No. 1 in 1999.
Four-time champion Agassi will tonight seek his 22nd consecutive Melbourne Park win.

His opponent is wildcard Todd Larkham, the Canberra battler who became one of the stories of the 2003 tournament when his coach, and brother, Brent challenged John McEnroe to a fight.

Agassi, 33, said Hewitt, seeded No. 15 this week after winning the adidas International in Sydney on Saturday, was the latest world No. 1 to experience how hard it was to stay on top.

"We've seen him rise many a time. To finish No. 1 two years in a row speaks to his capabilities. I'm sure he has a great year ahead of him," Agassi said.

"Certainly, he could be (back to No. 1). If he thinks 15 in the world isn't an accomplishment, he should have been around me a few years ago. I could have shown him what it was like to really work hard and fall to No. 140.

"Things can change fast. Everybody is firing at you every time you are on the court (as No. 1) and especially the way he plays the game -- he works so hard in every match -- it's easy to understand any sort of physical or mental struggle that can occur at any given time."

Agassi and his Australian coach Darren Cahill have watched videos of two of Larkham's matches and know Larkham needed an intravenous drip in the lead-up to his second-round ordeal against Hewitt last year, in which the 29-year-old was humiliated 6-1 6-0 6-1.

McEnroe, acting as a television commentator, said a fatigued Larkham had no business playing in a grand slam match on a centre court.

Larkham's brother Brent then issued his challenge.

McEnroe doesn't begin his television commitments for Channel 7 until Saturday.

"I don't care whether he is here or not. It was one of those things which happen on the circuit and, as far as I was concerned, that's the end of it," Todd Larkham said.

Ranked No. 168, Larkham said this could be his last Australian Open.

"To see my dream of playing on the centre court here happen means I was one of a very small percentage to do that. I'm privileged to be there," he said.

"I was physically at the end of my run last year against Lleyton. It was to be expected, to be honest.

"A good result against Agassi is a win. I have to be aggressive and hit my forehand as well as I can hit it. If you try to stay in the point against him, you're going to get pasted."

Larkham missed the last three months of the 2003 season because of a virus and a shoulder injury.

01-18-2004, 05:01 PM
Thanks for those articles, Dagmar.

Scotso, I would be happy if either one of them won it.

There are a lot of potentially great stories for this AO.

01-18-2004, 11:23 PM
A fresh start is key for Lleyton
By Margie McDonald
January 19, 2004
THE sacrifices of last season are paying dividends for Lleyton Hewitt as he aims to end his run of early outs at his home Grand Slam.

Yesterday, Hewitt spoke with conviction of his strategy not to play an ATP tournament after the US Open, passing up the chance to qualify for the lucrative $3.7million end-of-season Tennis Masters Cup to concentrate on the Davis Cup.

He spoke of how he and coach Roger Rasheed, who took over from Jason Stoltenberg in June last year, hatched a plan focusing on his match with Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero in the Davis Cup final.

But Hewitt added that was only part of the plan. The rest of it was to be fresh and fit to tackle the Australian summer, particularly the Open where he has never been past the fourth round.

"I feel good at the moment," Hewitt said yesterday on the Seven Network.

"That whole build-up Roger and I did leading into the Davis Cup final (was) to try to prepare myself to last the whole Australian summer and really (give me) a huge platform physically and mentally for the whole 2004 season.

"So far so good. I got through my matches and won a tournament last week in different circumstances."

Hewitt was referring to Saturday's Adidas International final, where for the second match in a row his opponent retired hurt.

Carlos Moya rolled his right ankle with Hewitt up 4-3 in the first set. That was one less game than Hewitt needed against Martin Verkerk in the semi-final before the Dutchman retired feeling sick and dizzy.

Such a light finish to his Adidas campaign and the fact he has only played two Davis Cup ties and the Hopman Cup in four months have left Hewitt fresh and full of vigour.

That's unusual for Hewitt, who is embarking on his eighth Australian Open campaign. A bout of chicken pox two years ago resulted in a first-round loss when he was the No.1 seed.

"Playing with spots is difficult," Hewitt confessed yesterday.

"A couple of times when I've come here in the past, I've come here winning Adelaide and Sydney and maybe worn myself out a little bit.

"This year I do feel fresh. And I feel not playing at the end of the season last year may help me."

Hewitt also feels better prepared with Rasheed.

"Roger has done so much work on and off the court for me -- he's been incredible," Hewitt said. "We've worked extremely hard, not only technically and tactically on the court but also off the court.

"He's got degrees in physical education and fitness programs and he's been able to help me with that side. He's brought another dimension to the table to help me out.

"We copped a bit of flak at the start, I guess, but the thing with Roger is that not everyone sees the amount of work he puts in."

Hewitt starts his campaign tomorrow against American qualifier Cecil Mamiit.

Just when everyone thought there were no more records for Todd Woodbridge to break, he found one.

If you thought Woodbridge would wind up his career, which includes a record-breaking 79 doubles titles, 15 in Grand Slam tournaments, including eight at Wimbledon, think again.

Woodbridge, who with Jonas Bjorkman won the Adidas International title on Saturday, is now after John Newcombe's 17 Grand Slam doubles titles and has no thoughts of retiring.

"I enjoy winning," Woodbridge said. "I've got to tell you, that's the reason I stay out there - it's a bit of a drug, that feeling when you win."

Woodbridge and Bjorkman beat the top-seeded Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 in the final.

01-18-2004, 11:41 PM
Fresh Hewitt's big prep talk
Leo Schlink

LLEYTON Hewitt yesterday declared his game to be in virtually perfect order as the former world champion lays siege to an elusive Australian Open crown.

The Wimbledon and US Open winner is brimming with confidence after stretching his unbeaten streak to 11 matches at the weekend.
He won the adidas International in Sydney on Saturday, when Carlos Moya withdrew with a serious ankle injury after only seven games.

Hewitt will tomorrow play 195th-ranked American qualifier Cecil Mamiit, having never lost a set to the baseliner in two meetings.

Unable to pass the Open's fourth round in seven attempts, Hewitt says he may now have struck on the best Melbourne Park preparation, with his unbowed winning sequence taking in the Hopman Cup and the adidas International.

"It has been the ideal preparation for me so far," Hewitt said yesterday, after practising on centre court with Sydney teenager Todd Reid.

"At the Hopman Cup, going out there and getting off to a good start, winning all three matches until Alicia (Molik) got hurt.

"Last week just felt like I built it up, got better and better. I knew it was going to be a tough match against Carlos.

"The seven games that we did get to play were a very high standard. It has left me in good preparation. I didn't waste too much energy, but I've got that confidence of coming through a few matches.

"I feel good. I love coming to Rod Laver Arena, especially now that I've been able to have some of my most memorable matches and life experiences in the Davis Cup semi and final.

"To beat a guy like Roger Federer in the situation I was in in that match and to come back and fight it off after he'd served for the match in the third set.

"Not only that, I took three months off to get ready for the Davis Cup final knowing that I was going to have to play Juan Carlos Ferrero. To come out and win that in five sets was an awesome finish to last year."

Seeded 15th and projected for a return bout with Federer in the fourth round, Hewitt sounded a warning over the difficulty involved in becoming the first Australian male champion in Melbourne since Mark Edmondson in 1976.

"There's no easy matches in grand slam tennis, I know that," he said. "I lost to a qualifier (Ivo Karlovic) at Wimbledon. I'd never heard of him, I'd never seen him play.

"Now's he's proved to be a great player. He's in the top 70.

"I've got Cecil Mamiit to play, Xavier Malisse or Karol Kucera. I'm not looking too far ahead.

"This year, I do feel fresh, and not playing (tournaments) at the end of last year has helped."

Hewitt repeated his call for Australian supporters to turn out clad in green and gold in the hope local spectators can replicate the spirit of Davis Cup.

"It (crowd support) really just gives us an extra leg when you're out there because when you're down on the canvas, you've gotta get up," he said.

Hewitt said his current form could be traced to a gruelling training program in Adelaide in October-November.

He and coach Roger Rasheed ignored the spoils of the regular tour and worked on preparing for the Davis Cup final and the Australian Open.

"I've played enough matches over the last two weeks now. At the moment, I feel good. You can always have some losses out of nowhere," he said.

"But at the moment, I'm executing as well I (could) hope going into the first grand slam."

Beaten last season by inspired Moroccan Younes El Aynaoui, Hewitt lost the previous year to Spaniard Alberto Martin when he was afflicted by chickenpox.

"The last couple of years have been tough," Hewitt said.

01-19-2004, 07:59 AM
thanks for the articles

01-19-2004, 12:03 PM
Lleyton third up on Rod Laver. Kim has the first night match. Through a twist of fate another engaged couple Bogomolov jr. (who qualified) and Harkleroad are also featured.

Rod Laver Arena

11:00 A.M
Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Alex Bogomolov Jr. (USA) vs. Roger Federer (SUI)[2]
followed by:
2. Women's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Ashley Harkleroad (USA) vs. Venus Williams (USA)[3]
3. Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)[15] vs. Cecil Mamiit (USA)

7:30 PM
1. Women's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Marlene Weingartner (GER) vs. Kim Clijsters (BEL)[2]
followed by:
2. Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Thomas Johansson (SWE) vs. Mark Philippoussis (AUS)[10]

01-19-2004, 07:19 PM
Goos Luck Lleyton!!! :worship:
Come on, you can do it!!! :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

01-19-2004, 10:43 PM
Go Lleyton! :bounce:

01-19-2004, 10:48 PM
Good luck Lley :kiss:

01-20-2004, 01:18 AM
Go Lleyton!!!! :bounce:
:woohoo: Toddy!!!! :D:D

01-20-2004, 05:45 AM
Lleyton Hewitt
Tuesday, 20 January, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt Bio

THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton.

Q. When he hit the umpire's chair, do you think it was as serious as that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I wasn't sure. He sort of starting jogging back, then dropped on the middle of the court. He looked like he was in a bit of pain. You know, you're just really not sure how bad it was.

You know, hard to sort of keep focus there. It's obviously a fairly long break in between, you know, longer than -- I don't know, would have been close to probably 10 minutes by the time the trainers came out and started evaluating it. Then he eventually came out to play again.

Q. What are you doing to your opponents? That's three in a row now.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I've been winning in every match, though (smiling).

Q. Have you ever seen anyone do that before, fall into the umpire's chair?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not me personally, I haven't seen it.

Q. Or heard of it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't heard of it. You guys would probably know better than me.

I've seen people come pretty close at times, you know, to the seats that we sit in at the change of ends or the umpire's chairs, lines-people, stuff like that.

Q. Do you feel sorry for the bloke?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's never a way you want to win a match. But I've got to go out there and try and focus on what I've got to do.

You know, I felt like everything was going pretty well for my game at that stage.

Q. It's not necessarily the way you wanted to win, but 37 degrees out there, you saved a little bit of time.>

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I felt like I was getting on top of him. He just started, you know, serving a lot better, made a higher percentage of first serves there, in his service games in the second set.

When I really had to try to step it up at 4-All in the second set, I was able to do that. Break him to love. That's a nice match to get through. Your first match in your home Grand Slam is always tough, I think. To come through, not waste too much energy and be through to the next round, that's nice.

Q. Are tennis players superstitious? Do you think they will start getting out of the food cue, giving players a wide berth?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. There are some players that are very superstitious. I don't know if they'll take it that far.

Q. Did he say anything to you about exactly what it was?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. I just said to him, "How bad is it?" He just said, "Just felt it when I ran into the umpire's chair."

You know, it's hard to say. If you get a knock, obviously it's going to be pretty painful for the next five or ten minutes, unless he's got a fracture or a break in it, which no one knows at that particular time. It's really only his pain that he can know whether he can play on or not.

Q. Given the tragic events of the last 48 hours, do you think sports people are more at danger when they go out in public?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, at times, I guess. You know, it's obviously shocking news what happened a day or so ago. But you got to be pretty careful, I think, when you go out, for sure.

You know, it can happen to any one of us, I guess.

Q. Have you experienced any troubles?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I haven't experienced any real, real troubles when I thought I was in danger at all. But, you know, I know there's been times when, you know, you get people heckling or whatever at times. I've seen it with other people, as well, other sports people and whatever, that I've been out with. You know, I heard some stories and stuff like that.

You know, it's something that I think people in the spotlight, not only sports people, but high personalities I guess who are always in the spotlight.

Q. Have bouncers ever been an issue?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not with me, I've never had a problem.

Q. How well did you know him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't know him that well, to tell you the truth. Done a few interviews. He's emcee'd a couple of things that I've actually been on. I haven't seen him since Adelaide Crows' breakfast before a grand final a couple years ago that he emcee'd. That was the last time I had spoken to him.

Q. Had your old man and him crossed paths at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not sure. I don't know how much.

Q. General South Australian feeling of loss?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I think for anyone, an Australian more than anything. Someone that plays the elite level of a huge sport in Australia. Not only for South Australia, but also for Australia.

You know, I think everyone can tell by how much media and news has been about it the last, you know, 24, 48 hours.

Q. You came off court. Were you feeling like you got what you wanted out of today's game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. He's a different kind of an opponent. Yeah, he doesn't come out and cream winners at all. He doesn't try and put that much pressure on you. You're sort of dictating play most of the time out there. Sometimes it's an awkward match-up. Sometimes when you're actually hitting the ball better, he actually counterpunches a lot better, as well.

There wasn't too often he actually came inside the baseline there. It felt like he was standing about 10 meters behind the baseline just trying to run everything down today.

You don't experience too many matchups that way, but against him I felt like I was always in control on most points, I felt out there, which is a good thing.

Q. You were happy with your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Against that guy, it's always tough coming in and playing the first round of a Grand Slam anyway. I think everyone's just happy to get through sometimes, especially when you don't waste too much time and energy.

Q. What is it like for you to play against a guy where you're in the unusual position of being the physically imposing player, the bigger player?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, it doesn't happen that much, I guess. But, you know, I'm trying to be more aggressive. It's a good chance for me -- you know, I felt comfortable against him out there, that I knew I was in control of the match nearly every point.

So it felt like, you know, unless he got off to, you know -- put a good serve in and he could dictate play from then, it felt like I was able to dominate. It's something that I've been working on in my game, to try and get more aggressive in that.

Yeah, against a guy like him, you have to do it as well. It's actually good that you can take what you've been working on in the practice court into a match situation.

Q. You've seen a lot of Karol recently.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. Three weeks in a row now. It's going to be a tough match. Obviously, last week was a bit of a weird match from 4-Love down, then winning 6-4, 6-1.

He's a tough player. Smart player out there. He moves the ball around well. He moves extremely well. Yeah, he's got a pretty good serve on him, as well. He uses the angles of the court well and goes for the lines a lot.

But I've got to go out there and play my game. We had a tough match in Perth, as well, where I got through in three sets. You know, it's no easy match.

Q. You mentioned in the post-game interview that the balls were a bit heavier than in Sydney. Do you think this is something that might affect your game?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'm not really sure the reason of it, to tell you the truth. I don't know why -- I don't think it will affect my game too much.

But it's probably more similar to Perth, I'd say, than Sydney. The balls are actually fluffing up a little bit more, whereas in Sydney they were getting smaller like pellets out there.

Even in the heat today, it was still unusual. Whether it's the roughness of the courts that's chopping them up a bit and making them more furry, I don't know.

Q. How exactly have you been trying to get more aggressive? What kind of drills have you been working on in training?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I guess going for your shots a bit more, shot selection, and taking advantage of the short ball a little bit more, not being afraid to come into the net at the right opportunities.

Q. Anything else specifically you worked on over the winter?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Not specific, no. Just, you know, in the whole trying to be more aggressive and take your opportunities, I guess.

Q. I know about your involvement in the Special Olympics. How exactly did you become global ambassador?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I got asked a couple of years ago. You know, I felt like it was a good way to put back into sport, as well. You know, for me, the first time I got involved with it, it was at the US Open. Just the year after I won the US Open, I did the camp before I went in to defend my title.

You know, I just really enjoyed that first time. I try to make it before all the Masters Cups and as many tournaments as possible. Obviously, I went to the Special Olympics games in Dublin, in Ireland, last year after I lost in Wimbledon. It was a little bit of a wake-up call I guess in a lot of ways. After you lose first round of a Grand Slam, you know, I got to get away from Wimbledon for a day or so and sort of, you know, think about other things, realize that, you know, it was just a tennis match that I lost.

Q. In that way it helps your tennis, as well?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think in a lot of ways it does. You know, you see how fortunate you are I guess in a lot of ways. You know, they don't really care who goes out there and hits tennis balls with them. They just want to get out there and hit tennis balls and enjoy the sport for what it is, not for the money or the fame.

Q. Do you prepare differently now for this season? In what way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: What do you mean?

Q. For this new tennis season.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I haven't done that much differently. I've taken a few weeks off towards the end of last year. That was more preparing for the Davis Cup final more than anything, you know, tried to get my fitness level at a stage where I felt like I could last, you know, the 2004 season.

Q. Is Kim involved in this Special Olympics at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No. She's involved in her own stuff in Belgium more.

Q. How did he get the nickname "Mamool"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was the horse that ran in the Melbourne Cup. Mamool is actually a Lebanese desert. He's Lebanese. He told us that. He had a few bucks on it, it came last. There you go (smiling).

01-20-2004, 08:48 AM
Q. How did he get the nickname "Mamool"?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was the horse that ran in the Melbourne Cup. Mamool is actually a Lebanese desert. He's Lebanese. He told us that. He had a few bucks on it, it came last. There you go (smiling).
who's "he"?
btw- thanks for the interview :D

01-20-2004, 12:48 PM
Danni...I have no idea who "he" is either. The interview seems to be incomplete.

From the Sydney Morning Herald, Richard Hinds on yesterday's action...:)

Lleyton and Venus - two of a kind are off to good starts
By Richard Hinds
January 21, 2004

Oscar Wilde wasn't much of a tennis man, so it must have been Fred Stolle who coined the phrase. But on centre court at Melbourne Park yesterday, the words held special significance: "The only thing harder than being the world No.1 is becoming world No.1 again."

For Venus Williams and Lleyton Hewitt, this Australian Open provides an even greater challenge than usual.

By winning the title for the first time, both can reassert themselves on the game itself and prove the set-backs that helped swell their rankings to unsightly double figures last year were temporary aberrations.

As it turned out, the only temporary aberrations on the Rod Laver Arena yesterday were their overwhelmed opponents - Cecil Mamiit and Ashley Harkleroad. Should either or both the former No.1s lift the trophy, it can truly be said that their triumphs sprung from humble beginnings.

The one memorable part of Hewitt's mauling of qualifier Mamiit was its unusual and premature end. In an incident sure to feature on every sporting bloopers show, the 27-year-old American ran into the umpire's chair and twisted his ankle while running down a set point.

After about 10 minutes of treatment, and some impressive grimacing, Mamiit gamely hopped his way through the first game of the third set which he won with a neat drop shot, then called it a day. He could thus claim to have quit while he was ahead - in the set at least. But, having been munched in the first two by the increasingly impressive Hewitt, 6-2, 6-4, no one was left in any doubt about what would have happened had the American not been injured.

Rather, given this was the third consecutive match in which Hewitt's opponent has failed to finish - Martin Verkerk and Carlos Moya both withdrew at the Sydney International - we were left to ponder what fate awaits the easygoing Slovak Karol Kucera, the next man to face The Curse of Hewitt. A tweaked hammy? A racquet in the groin?

Not that the ultra-competitive Hewitt would buy into the joke. "Yeah, I've been winning in every match, though," he said, when reminded of his good fortune.

As for the type of curses usually associated with Hewitt, yesterday there were none. He is hitting the ball sweetly and, while he might not be getting full-scale match practice, yesterday's brief two-setter in stifling heat ensured his precious reserves of energy were conserved for the battles ahead.

Given this was Williams's first real match since the Wimbledon final in July, her 6-2, 6-1 victory over the supposedly promising Harkleroad was remarkably one-sided. Of course, the gap between the best women players and the pack is measured in light years. But either Williams is much better prepared than many had expected - or Harkleroad is not quite the talent some believe.

Harkleroad suffered the disadvantage of watching her fiancee Alex Bogomolov jnr mesmerised by Roger Federer on centre court immediately before her own match. But the best-not-to-mention difference between the two Americans was their fitness. Despite her long absence, Williams looked in great shape. With her stomach protruding from an unflatteringly tight pink outfit, Harkleroad more resembled what other females like to call "a real woman".

Which is not to say she needs to subscribe to the Daniela Hantuchova low-calorie oxygen diet, merely that nature may have handed the 18-year-old Harkleroad a tough battle to stay in the type of shape required to play her exhausting back-court game - particularly against a hitting machine such as Williams.

While Harkleroad ran up and down the baseline doggedly, Williams had one of those days when, in cricket terms, it is almost impossible to set a field for her. Either the ball whizzed by for a winner or ballooned over the baseline. Williams in top form is very much the mistress of her own destiny.

Despite a scare when she turned an ankle in the first set, Williams clearly has a significant chance to win her first grand slam title since the 2001 US Open - especially with sister Serena at home. Given she has lost five of the past eight grand slam finals to Serena, you could not blame Venus for being glad about that. But, apparently, that is not the case.

"Not the same, not the same," said Williams about Serena's absence. "I'm alone in the room. The phone's not ringing because her phone is always ringing non-stop."

As usual, the Williams inquisition turned to more important matters - such as what she was wearing. The rock on her finger wasn't an engagement ring, she said, but because the finger was swollen she couldn't get it off.

And the big diamond earrings? "Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise," she said. "I'm just a regular girl, I really am."

01-20-2004, 04:18 PM
Who died?

Chesty Larue
01-20-2004, 04:52 PM
I think they're refering to this..

Australian cricketers remember Hookes before training

The Australian cricket team went into a huddle for a minute's silence today before training at the SCG to remember former Test player David Hookes who died last night.

Hookes died in hospital from head injuries sustained when he was punched to the ground outside a Melbourne pub on Sunday night.

Hookes, who had combined coaching the Victorian cricket team with a successful media career, was celebrating an ING Cup one-day win over his home state South Australia with teammates at the Beaconsfield Hotel immediately before the fracas.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting said his deputy, Adam Gilchrist, had suggested the minute's silence.

"We all got together and thought it would be the right thing to do and it was actually Gilly's idea to do that," Ponting said.

"So we paid our respects today and I'm sure we'll pay some more respects as time goes on."

Ponting said Hookes would be honoured again before Thursday's tri-series one-day match against India in Sydney.

"I'm sure leading up to the game there'll be another minute's silence on the game day and we'll certainly be doing all we can to pay our respects," he said.

"We'll obviously be wearing the black armbands and doing everything we can to let everybody know we're thinking of David and his family."

Ponting said Hookes' death was a huge loss to Australian cricket.

"I think everybody has obviously been very saddened by the events of the last 24 hours," he said.

"It certainly hit home pretty strongly with the guys, you know a bit stronger I suppose with the guys like [Victorian Ian] Harvey, [SA's] Jason Gillespie ... but I think most of the guys in the team had a fair relationship with David over a long period of time.

"He was always away on overseas tour with us, he was never backward in coming forward and letting the guys know what he thought about how we were playing and all that so it's a huge loss to Australia."

Gilchrist said Hookes was sometimes controversial but always had the best interests of the game at heart.

"He prompted people to think about many different things," he said.

"He asked the hard questions, he was always sure it was in the best interests of the game.

"Sometimes people may have questioned that but at the end of the day, particularly now in time of reflection on David Hookes and what he had, he did get people to think and get everything moving forward in the right direction."

The Australian wicketkeeper said it had still not fully sunk in.

"Everyone is just stunned," he said.

"I think everyone is still a bit dazed by it all but really [we're] just trying to rally round each other and think of his family."

He was hit by the bouncer which is why they asked if Lleyton's had troubles with bouncers.

01-20-2004, 05:23 PM
The question about "Mamool" refers to Lleyton's coach, Roger Rasheed. That's Lleyton's nickname for Roger.

01-20-2004, 06:28 PM
Well i saw Lleyton's match yesterday and i've got to say it was hardly the most convincing victory i've ever seen from him. He was really in control of the points at all times against a pretty poor opponent.

I hope for the best but gotta say he'll have to play alot better if he wants to win this.

Good luck Lleyton!

Knockers LaBroad
01-20-2004, 06:40 PM
Hewitt pays trubute to Hookes
January 20, 2004

TENNIS star Lleyton Hewitt paid tribute to David Hookes today, saying the former cricket star's death highlighted the potential for danger faced by high-profile people in public.

Hookes died yesterday after being involved in an altercation outside a Melbourne hotel.

A security guard has been charged over the incident.

"I haven't experienced any real troubles when I thought I was in danger at all," said Hewitt, after beating American Cecil Mamiit today at the Australian Open.

But there have been times when you get people heckling or swearing or whatever.

"I've seen it with other people as well, other sports people or whatever, that I've been out with and I've heard stories."peAlthough both men came from South Australia, Hewitt said he had only met Hookes socially on a handful of occasions.

When asked if he thought there was a general South Australian feeling of loss at Hookes' death, Hewitt replied: "I think for anyone, as an Australian more than anything.

"Someone that plays the elite level of a huge sport in Australia.

" ... it's obviously shocking news what happened a day or so ago.

"You've got to be pretty careful when you go out.

"You know it can happen to anyone."


Knockers LaBroad
01-20-2004, 09:02 PM
Third time unlucky as 'curse of Hewitt' strikes again
By Chip Le Grand
January 21, 2004
KAROL KUCERA is not superstitious by nature. But after watching Lleyton Hewitt's last three opponents pull out of their matches in varying degrees of pain, Kucera won't be taking any chances when walks out to assume the most hazardous position in men's tennis.

"I'm taking care of my ankle pretty seriously," said Kucera, who has turned more than his share in recent years. "Hopefully I am fit enough to stay healthy."

Kucera was jesting in part. After beating Belgian Xavier Malisse on a distant, outside court yesterday, the Slovakian will play Hewitt for the third time in as many weeks. Having lost their previous two matches, he has more to ponder than the ill-fortune besetting others.

But if the curse of Hewitt, as it has become known, is not weighing overly in the mind of Kucera, Hewitt might still find himself cutting a lonely figure over the next few days whenever he enters the men's locker room or joins the queue in the players' cafeteria. If Kucera is not superstitious, other players are, and the first week of a Grand Slam is not the time to tempt fate.

When Martin Verkerk complained of sickness at the start of his second set against Hewitt in Sydney last week and Carlos Moya rolled an ankle the next day, other circumstances were available to blame.

Verkerk was taken by a mystery illness after a long rain delay and, at the time, it was suggested that having already put together a nice preparation for the Australian Open, the Dutchman lacked the stomach to take it any further against Hewitt.

Moya's ankle meanwhile, has become a stock-standard injury for players not used to the sticky, Rebound Ace surface.

The mishap which yesterday struck American journeyman Cecil Mamiit however, was not so easily explained. Rather, it was nothing short of bizarre.

Hewitt said he had never seen a player run headlong into the umpire's chair. Nor had he heard of it ever happening. No doubt it has happened somewhere and sometime before, but the probability of an eight-year tour veteran jamming an ankle beneath a seated official appears remote at best. If it had happened in an AFL match Mamiit would have been suspended for two weeks.

And the plot thickens.

Hewitt has taken to calling his coach Roger Rasheed by the nickname Mamool. Hewitt explained yesterday the name came about after Rasheed punted his hard-earned dollars on the horse of the same name in last year's Melbourne Cup. Rasheed's family is Lebanese and he saw an omen in the fact that the Godolphin-trained stallion was named after a popular Lebanese dessert.

Not only did Mamool run last and last by a long way, he broke a leg on the Flemington track. The Godolphin stable has its own Melbourne curse to worry about but the warning for Kucera and the other men left in Hewitt's side of the draw is clear. Kucera will be taping that ankle carefully indeed.

If there are strange forces at work around Hewitt, the former world No.1 is not fazed. While the record will show he has claimed three straight matches by default, he pointed out in typically combative fashion that he had been winning every match before injury struck.

Mamiit's unlikely run-in with officials came after he failed to run down a delicate, spinning volley Hewitt landed to close out the second set. If not for the positioning of the umpire's chair, he might have finished up in the second row of stands in the Rod Laver Arena.

After lengthy treatment from courtside trainers, Mamiit returned to serve the first game of the second, but was reduced to hopping to the net by the time he declared his Australian Open was over. The final score read 6-2 6-4 0-1.

As with his Adidas International semi-final against Verkerk and final against Moya, this was not the way Hewitt wanted to win. But Mamiit is not a player Hewitt enjoys sharing a court with anyway. With the memories of his first-round loss two years ago to Spaniard Alberto Martin still ingrained in the Hewitt psyche, he was relieved to reach the second round.

Hewitt's relief was shared by a tour-weary Juan Carlos Ferrero, who pushed aside last week's first-round loss in Sydney to roll past fellow Spaniard Albert Montanes in a little over an hour. The biggest scalp of the day was claimed by Frenchman Cyril Saulnier, who upset fifth seed Guillermo Coria in straight sets.

Hewitt described Mamiit as a "different kind of opponent".

"He doesn't come out and cream winners at all," Hewitt said.

"He doesn't try to put that much pressure on you. It wasn't too often that he actually came inside the baseline. If felt like he was standing about 10 metres behind the baseline just trying to run everything down."

Against Kucera tomorrow, Hewitt faces a different task again. In their most recent meeting in Sydney, Kucera skipped out to a 4-0 lead before Hewitt rallied to win 12 of the next 13 games.

"He moves the ball around well," Hewitt said. "He moves extremely well. He's got a pretty good serve on his as well. It is no easy match."

Kucera says the past two weeks have given him inside knowledge on how Hewitt is playing and he has a few tactics in mind. That is, if he can beat the curse and finish a match against Hewitt in one piece.

01-21-2004, 06:19 AM
Rod Laver Arena

11:00 AM
Start 1. Men's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Filippo Volandri (ITA) vs. Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP)[3]
followed by:
2. Women's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Maria Elena Camerin (ITA) vs. Kim Clijsters (BEL)[2]
3. Men's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)[15] vs. Karol Kucera (SVK)

01-21-2004, 06:32 AM
Thanks Nomad! I'm interested they haven't given Lleyton a night match yet.

01-21-2004, 08:46 AM
Im glad Lleyton's match isn't at night hehe because I have netball on Thursday nights haha but it might be better if he gets a few along the way because its not as hot and humid :cool:

We get to watch Kim then Lleyton straight after whhooo :hearts:

Good luck to them both!!!!!!!

Tina :devil:

01-21-2004, 12:18 PM
Lleyton Hewitt will supply his own mini version of the national cheer squad for his second-round match against Karol Kucera this afternoon in a bid to replicate the raucous Aussie-oi crowd support on which he thrives in Davis Cup play.

Hewitt's coach, Roger Rasheed, will provide up to 30 tickets to members of the Fanatics, the official Davis Cup supporter group, who are not allocated preferential block seating at the open. Hewitt is a close friend of Warren Livingstone, the Fanatics' leader.

"Obviously, the Australian players feed off the support, and they think because it's their home open they should be able to do that," said Livingstone, who plans to approach Davis Cup team members Mark Philippoussis and Wayne Arthurs in the hope of snaring surplus seats.

But, contrary to previous reports of a Fanatics "ban" and Livingstone's belief that open chief executive Paul McNamee is determined to keep the cheer squad from doing its partisan singing, chanting routine at the Melbourne Park grand slam, Tennis Australian spokesman John Lindsay said the support for Hewitt would be welcome.

"What we said is that we don't make special provision for particular groups, so, as a grand slam, unlike Davis Cup, we don't put a particular block aside for a group for a particular country. We've never 'banned' the Fanatics, we just don't make special provision," Lindsay said.

01-21-2004, 10:31 PM
Go the Fanatics! I think that was stupid decision. I think that, within reason and provided that they comply with normal fair ticketing procedures, a large group from any nation should be able to get seats together if they want. It really adds to the atmosphere.

I know they mean well and to be fair to non-Aussies (which after certain other slams last year is a noble intention) but it just seems a bit party-pooper-ish to me! And probably encouraged the rest of the crowd to be more biased rather than less anyway.

01-22-2004, 04:23 AM
Hewitt lends a hand
Shaun Phillips

LLEYTON Hewitt has wrong-footed officialdom by securing centre-court seats for contentious supporters' group the Fanatics.

Australian Open organisers had refused to set aside seats inside Rod Laver Arena for the Fanatics, saying their loudly partisan approach to barracking offended the spirit of grand slam competition.
But Hewitt is a huge fan of the group, which has provided a rousing score to some of the dual grand slam winner's most memorable performances, especially in Davis Cup matches.

Now he's taken matters into his own hands, securing a block of 20 seats for the Fanatics for his match today against Karol Kucera, and for as long as his Australian Open campaign runs.

Hundreds of Fanatics filled an entire wedge of Rod Laver Arena for the Davis Cup final two months ago.

Leader Warren "Wozza" Livingstone promised the chosen few would make their presence felt today.

Livingstone said Hewitt's coach, Roger Rasheed, had made contact to offer the seats.

"Lleyton's been a very strong supporter of ours, so it was great that he could organise something," Livingstone said.

"I suppose it recognises that we know how to gee up the Australian crowd and help people have a good time.

"It's also, I suppose, about knowing when Lleyton needs a bit of a spur on.

"Obviously we'd love to have organised something official and get more numbers there, but I think we can still encourage the crowd to really get behind Lleyton.

"We're also trying to get in contact with Flip (Mark Philippoussis) and the other Australians to see if we can organise something for their centre-court matches."

The Davis Cup team, led by Hewitt and Philippoussis, praised the Fanatics after their triumph over Spain at Melbourne Park.

Australian Open management stresses there is nothing to stop individuals dressing up and sitting together, but it stands by its policy of refusing to help partisan groups form blocks in the 15,000 capacity Rod Laver Arena.

Livingstone said the Fanatics were careful not to barrack against opposition players.

"We're never going to do anything that's going to put the other player off," he said.

Membership of the Fanatics is open to anyone under 35 willing to pay for a T-shirt and open up with a song, a chant or a cheer. There are 47,000 people on the group's mailing list.

The group was born during celebrations following Pat Rafter's victory in the 1997 US Open.

Livingstone, who with friends had been cheering enthusiastically for Rafter from high in the bleachers, bumped into tennis legends John Newcombe and Tony Roche at a New York bar.

They suggested Livingstone and his mates head to a Davis Cup tie in Washington the following week.

Livingstone is now a full-time Fanatics tours and event organiser.

He has contracts with numerous sporting bodies including Tennis Australia for the Davis Cup, and Cricket Australia to fill bays at one-day international matches.

01-22-2004, 05:47 AM
Video Interview after first round mtch

Low (http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/interactive/console/console.html?1|http%3A//mfile.akamai.com/8583/asf/ibmaus.download.akamai.com/8583/2004//200105_lo.asx)
High (http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/interactive/console/console.html?1|http%3A//mfile.akamai.com/8583/asf/ibmaus.download.akamai.com/8583/2004//200105_hi.asx)

01-22-2004, 08:59 AM
Open-Hewitt's love-match helps ease pressure :angel:
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," he said.

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.

01-22-2004, 09:01 AM
Deja-vu as Hewitt reels in Kucera again
Robert Smith (AFP)
Melbourne, January 22

Lleyton Hewitt capitalised on his recent familiarity with the tennis of Karol Kucera to surge back from another rough start and power into the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday.

Hewitt, playing his third match against the streaky Slovakian in as many weeks, got off to a terrible start falling behind 0-5 before rallying to a 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 win in two hours 23 minutes.

Last week the Australian former world number one was down 0-4 in the opening set before storming home to win 6-4, 6-1 in the second round of the Sydney International, and that followed a 6-3, 6-7 (10/8), 6-3 win over Kucera in the previous week's Hopman Cup in Perth.

"It's tough. You can't get too down on yourself, keep plugging away, wait for your opportunities," 15th-seed Hewitt said of his early predicament.

"I've played him the last two weeks and I knew a little bit what I was getting, but he played even better in the first set than what he did in the last two weeks."

Hewitt went on to break Kucera's service nine times as the Slovak's game disintegrated in a rash of errors, 14 of them double-faults.

"He was playing extremely well at that stage and I just knew that I had to keep plugging away," he said.

"He returns extremely well and he can also have service games like the last one he had where he hit four double-faults.

"He plays some loose service games and then he'll be able to come out and break you back straight away."

Kucera said Hewitt had been aided by bad line calls.

"Even the linespeople helped him," Kucera said. "I think it was a little bit on purpose."

Kucera said he had asked chair umpire Norm Chryst of the US to intervene after three questionable calls went against him. But he said there were as many as six "mistakes" made by the line judges.

Hewitt now has an intriguing match with 17-year-old Spanish prodigy Rafael Nadal, who knocked out Frenchman Thierry Ascione 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.

Nadal is the youngest man through to the third round in the third Grand Slam tournament of his meteoric career.

"Clay is his number one surface but he had a pretty good run at Wimbledon (reached the third round) this year. He played pretty well for his first time on grass," Hewitt said.

"He seems like he's got a really good head on him and he's handled the expectation and the pressures very well."

The year's first Grand Slam tournament has remained an elusive target for Australian players since unseeded Mark Edmondson's victory over John Newcombe in 1976, when the event was staged on grass at Kooyong.

Hewitt appeared the best chance to end that long run of outs when he went into the last two Opens as top seed only to come up short.

The former Wimbledon and US Open champion crashed out to Spaniard Alberto Martin in the first round in 2002 after suffering from chicken pox and then succumbed to Moroccan Younes El Aynaoui in the round of 16 last year.

01-22-2004, 11:26 AM
Thanks a lot Tara!

01-22-2004, 11:38 AM
L. HEWITT/K. Kucera

1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-1

An interview with:


Q. Bit of a slow start today?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I got off to a slow start. Karol played extremely well there. You know, I didn't feel like I played that badly at the start. I had a few chances in the second and third game, and just -- even in the fourth game, and didn't quite take my opportunities on the big points.

He played a pretty faultless first set, though.

Q. How important was the national anthem at 5-Love?

LLEYTON HEWITT: That's always important to hear your national anthem. But, yeah, they were great out there today. They gave me a lot of support, even when I was down. You know, I think, you know, especially those guys have seen enough Davis Cup matches to know that I was probably going to get on the board sooner or later.

But, yeah, he was playing extremely well at that stage. I just knew that I had to keep plugging away. Got off to a rough start against him last week in Sydney, as well. I was able to turn that first set around, which took me a little bit longer today, but I still got through it.

Q. The Fanatics energized the crowd. Did you feel that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, it's great. They're a big help out there. You know, I enjoy that support. I think everyone knows that.

You know, it seems like I guess why Flip and I have played so well in Davis Cup ties in the past. The Fanatics have had a lot to do with that.

Q. Do you want them there in future matches?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. It would be great. It's a great atmosphere out there. Even for the opposition, I think. It brings a bit more of a buzz into Centre Court there.

You know, I guess the situation that we had in the semi and final of Davis Cup, you're not going to emulate that every time at a normal tournament, but it was a pretty awesome feeling. The closer you can get back to that feeling, all the better.

Q. Nadal, your next opponent, what do you know about him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Very talented young player. Yeah, what I've heard, what I've see - little bits I've seen - he's a hell of a prospect coming up. It's going to be a tough match. I've got to go up to another level, I think. I look forward to the challenge, though.

Q. There's a bit of talk about him. Is there talk amongst the players about him coming up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. Probably more so -- you know, I probably heard a little more from the media, whatever, maybe last year sometime when he had some pretty good wins over Moya and I think Costa maybe on clay, as well. So clay's his number one surface at the moment. But he had a pretty good run at Wimbledon. I watched a couple of his matches there on TV. He played pretty well on grass, for his first time on grass.

He seems like he's got a really good head on him, as well. He's handled the expectation and the pressures very well. You know, he's just one of the next Spaniards coming up. There's a lot of them.

Q. Is it hard to keep your rhythm when you're playing someone like Kucera, seems to drift in and out of matches?>

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's very tough. He returns extremely well. Yeah, he can have service games like the last one he had where he hit four double-faults, I guess. But, you know, that's not that normal. But he plays some loose service games, but then he'll be able to come out and break you back straightaway.

I broke him first game of the fourth set there, then he came out and played a great game to break me straight back the next game. It's awkward because he does float in and out of matches. Like in the first set, he hardly made a mistake and was attacking everything. In the start of the second and third, he was a bit more erratic.

Q. How hard is it to keep your concentration?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's tough. You can't get too down on yourself, keep plugging away, wait for your opportunities. I played him the last two weeks. I knew a little bit what I was getting, but he played even better the first set than what he did the last two weeks, as well.

Q. It's safe to say last year didn't go exactly the way you would have preferred. Any pressure on yourself this year, taking it as it comes?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just taking it as it comes. I'd be happy to win another Davis Cup.

Q. No pressure to try to win another Grand Slam?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll see what happens. My goal is obviously to perform as well as possible, and I'm going to do everything in my control to prepare myself, you know, as well as I can for all four of the majors. You know, I'm not putting a huge expectation to go out there and have to win one. I think if I'm playing well enough, you know, I'll have opportunities at it, though.

Q. Did he play better than he played in Sydney?

LLEYTON HEWITT: In patches, yes. You know, I think he's -- as we spoke before, he's a little bit hot and cold sometimes. The first set, obviously, he played great today. There were patches in the third set where he played well. The start of the fourth set when he broke back, he played well.

In Sydney he played the first four games great. In Perth, he played the second set great. He's been very in and out in all my matches that I played against him.

But at least I knew what I was getting a little bit.

Q. Could you comment for us on Todd Reid's great victory today, what it means for Australian tennis?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it was great. It's great for Australian tennis to have another guy, not just knocking on the door now, but, you know, contender on the tour. He's still got to get his ranking up there to be on the tour week in and week out. But this has been a great start for him this summer. Obviously, Adelaide, Sydney, now Melbourne.

Pretty gutsy effort out there today because he was obviously hurting. I don't think he would have played a five-set match before. To come through those conditions, it's only going to help him, experience.

Q. He talked about the experience of hitting with you, Davis Cup, training. Is it something that you noticed when you were practicing with him, that he was being lifted a bit by being out there with you and Mark?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he first came to Sweden, and then after that tie I really felt like the next time -- I invited him to the World Team Cup to play a bit of doubles with us there. I noticed a huge difference just in those six or seven weeks after Sweden. I think he took huge steps forward after that first Davis Cup tie being sort of the orange boy there, and getting to know everyone, seeing what we do to prepare for matches.

He was hitting the ball a lot heavier when he came back in World Team Cup. Then he came for obviously the Switzerland tie, then the final, as well. He's been great around the team. You know, he's not so much the orange boy anymore, I guess. He's really a part of the team. Won't be that long before he's actually playing for Australia, which is a good thing,

Q. If, God forbid, you or Mark were unable to play singles, do you think he'd be next in line?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, there's obviously him, Scott Draper, Wayne Arthurs. It's hard to drop Scott Draper and Wayne Arthurs because they've got that experience, as well. But it's definitely between the three of them.

Todd really put his hand up. The thing about Davis Cup, you just don't know how that person reacts to playing Davis Cup until they're thrown in it. And that's something that Fitzy and Wally, you know, they're going to have to give him a shot sooner or later at some stage, if Flip or I get injured. You're just not going to know until that situation comes.

But the way he's handled the pressure of playing in Australia the last three weeks with wildcards, it's been pretty good.

Q. Have you ever brought your lunch up on court?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I haven't. Wasn't a lot of lunch, I don't think. Looked like a lot of water.

Q. A lot of young guys in your position would be taking advantage of it, maybe be a party-type person, playing the field. You seem very committed and kind of mature. Can you talk about what having a committed relationship with Kim does for your career, keeps you settled?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's been, yeah, I guess very settled the last four years. You know, obviously being 22, it's just been great for both of us. Because she obviously saw what I was going through, the pressures of being a top player maybe a year or so before she got into the Top 5, Top 2 in the world. We've both just been really able to help each other out when we need to throughout the year.

Q. It's good that you have a similar career?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I think so. We don't talk about tennis most of the time. But if we do need anything, I think we both know when to talk about tennis and when not to, as well.

Q. What kind of stuff will you talk to about to get away from tennis? Movies?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Anything, yeah.

Q. Crows?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Crows, yeah. Andrew McLeod and his family.

Q. She's talking about a wedding all the time.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know any of that stuff, mate.

Q. You'll just show up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll just rock up. She can organize it.

Q. And your bucks, you got to organize that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Someone will have to organize that. It won't be me.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...

01-22-2004, 12:18 PM
That was a good interview.

A bit rude to ask who was going to pay for a wedding.

And did I mention Pim-Pim??? :yippee:

01-22-2004, 12:23 PM
lol - he's got a typical blokeish attitude to organising a wedding hasn't he. :lol: He seems in quite a good mood.

01-22-2004, 12:51 PM
Scratchy win, one of apparently many on the day...but :D nevertheless...sounds like Kucera was the recipient of a few bad calls, but maybe he needs to focus more on the fourteen double faults he made.:o There can never be too many mentions of Pim-Pim, Christina.:)

Line calls prompt claims of bias
By Linda Pearce
January 23, 2004

Lleyton Hewitt's opponent, Karol Kucera, yesterday accused the Australian Open line judges of deliberate pro-Hewitt bias in their second-round match on Rod Laver Arena. "Even the linespeople helped him," Kucera said after his 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 loss. "I think it was a little bit on purpose."

And in the night match, Fabrice Santoro also felt aggrieved at a line judge in his clash against Mark Philippoussis. Early in the fourth set, Santoro appeared to spit in the direction of the line judge after a close call had gone against him and was rebuked by the chair umpire.

Kucera said he had asked chair umpire Norm Chryst, an American, to intervene after three dubious calls, claiming there had been up to six line-call "mistakes". The Slovak said it was the worst treatment he has experienced in 10 visits to Melbourne Park, but added that, then again, he "hadn't played Hewitt before".

Kucera said replays confirmed several of the errors, witnessed by fellow players in the locker room. His only consolation was that he did not believe they affected the result of the match. "I don't think I was close today," he said.

Kucera faces a potential fine from the ATP if his comments are deemed to be detrimental to the sport. "We encourage players to speak openly in their press conference, but with that freedom comes responsibility," ATP communications manager Paul Macpherson said.

Hewitt's concern, meanwhile, is already with his next opponent. He knows a bit about precociously talented teenagers, having famously been one himself, and what he knows of his next opponent, the gifted Rafael Nadal, suggests to Hewitt that his next challenge will be his greatest so far.

"Very talented young player," said Hewitt of the 17-year-old Spaniard, already ranked 41st in the world. "What I've heard, little bits I've seen, he's a hell of a prospect coming up. It's going to be a tough match. I've got to go up to another level, I think. I look forward to the challenge, though."

Hewitt has never shirked one, and early in yesterday's match against Kucera it seemed that his latest challenge had come earlier, and perhaps a little more threateningly, than expected. Hewitt took more than 20 minutes to win his first game, but about two hours later had won the match, to reach the Open's third round for the fourth time.

"I got off to a slow start," admitted Hewitt, who was down 5-0 in 19 minutes. "Karol played extremely well there. You know, I didn't feel I played that badly at the start. He played a pretty faultless first set, though. I knew I had to keep plugging away."

The problem for Kucera, and hopeful glimmer for Hewitt, was always going to be the Slovak's ability to maintain that standard, and to shore up a serve that can be woefully brittle at times. Witness the 14 double faults yesterday, so many of them on break points, and the last, which almost reached the courtside backdrop on the full, to almost comically end the match.

Yet, for Hewitt, the earlier priority was to avoid his first 0-6 grand slam set, and he duly held serve for 1-5. Kucera closed out the set 6-1, but Hewitt was in the match, if only by a fingernail.

He rarely needs more, and yesterday was no exception. The sense of the turnaround came early in the second set, as Hewitt settled into more of a rhythm, and gradually began to work his way on top.

The day's hard-luck Australian story belonged to Wayne Arthurs, who led Spanish veteran Albert Costa two sets to one, and was up a service break in the fifth set, before falling 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 in a match that lasted four hours 18 minutes.

Arthurs' singles career has not kept pace with his doubles in the past year, but he is determined to persevere, as he did throughout his two long five-setters over the past three days.

Success came in round one against Croatian qualifier Roko Karanusic, and although the Costa challenge proved too great, Arthurs showed enough to suggest his singles life is not yet over.

- with AAP

01-22-2004, 12:51 PM
Yes he does.

Kucera is a bit of a :baby: though.

01-22-2004, 12:56 PM
Q. Has Lleyton told you you have to barrack for the Adelaide Crows?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No. Because I know so many guys now, that's why I go for them.

Q. Would you be allowed to barrack for anybody else?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Sure. I've got my own leanings, too (laughter).

01-22-2004, 01:40 PM
Clijsters rules the roost
By Jeff Wells
January 23, 2004

THE news that Kim Clijsters has taken up boxing has unleashed unbridled speculation about the sexual politics of the love double.

Lleyton Hewitt is supposed to have the new aggression reverberating through his skinny body for his first Australian Open win.

But Kimmy is now pounding the heavy bag and there are those who suggest from time to time that if Lleyton doesn't give himself an uppercut then somebody else should. And who better than the bride?

But in these days of unchallenged gender equality - not that there is anything wrong with it - serious questions remain. Like, who really wears the pants? And who does the dishes while the other one watches videos of the Crows?

Going on yesterday's performances on Centre Court there could be no question if Kim learns to work a decent right cross off her jab.

The results read Clijsters d. Maria Elena Camerin 6-0 6-0. Hewitt d. Karol Kucera 1-6 6-1 6-4 6-1.

Hewitt is also carrying the weight like an anvil strapped to each ankle - of certain cursed wagers. Kimmy is suddenly looking the fat cheque favourite in this one.

Unreliable sources emerging from the locker rooms have concocted the theory that true to Australian tradition, and probably Belgian, the biggest breadwinner reigns and never does the mowing.

And those big shoulders Kimmy is developing are from taking out the garbage.

And while Lleyton has racked up $US11.7million in prizemoney he won only $US873,000 last year while Kim became the first woman ever to bank more than $US4million in a season to take her to $US8.1 million.

It might not be long before Lleyton is consigned to the supermarket and washing the Land Rover. And if a little one arrives Kim will be getting the beauty sleep while he is on the poop deck. Yesterday, in one of the great embarrassments of an embarrassing tournament, in the first leg of the love double, No.2 ranked Kim, in a fetching blue number, obviously surfie influenced, with white waves breaking on it, played Italian dumpling Maria Elena Camerin, of Venezia, dressed in plain white by Millers of Milano, with a matching thigh bandage.

Her ranking was 92 after she had made noises in San Luisi Potosi and Coatzacoalcos in Mexico last year. To get to this farce of a second round she had beaten the Venezuelan Volcano Milagros Sequera in the first round. Don't buy shares in Milagros.

Maria Elena could hit the ball, but not, to the consternation of the paying public, always in the direction of the other end.

She won 23 points in her double bagel to Kim's 54. Five winners to 25. Kim was supposed to have an ankle problem. She looked like she could have dragged a Mack truck strapped to each ankle, even though she claims she still has to ice them after the match.

There was, however, high drama in the last game, on Camerin's serve. Kim - like someone used to the dishes - went to water.

There was a hint of another sensational collapse like in last year's semi when she had eventual winner Serena Williams 5-1 in the third set with two match points and still managed to lose - and had to paint the garage.

She hit three backhand errors to waste match points. Then an air swing on a 137km/h ace. It went to five match points.

It looked like Mundine versus Ottke, before she could put the Italian away. It had taken 50 minutes. Many rose to applaud.

Then Hewitt came out and lost the first set to Kucera 6-1. The new aggression consisted of standing three metres behind the baseline against the robotic baseliner who had taken just five games off him in Sydney last week.

HEWITT snapped out of it in the second set as the Kucera winners dried up and the double faults - 14 for the match - mounted.

He could feel Hewitt on him and was broken twice - second time on a double fault - and suddenly looked demoralised.

He broke back as Hewitt lost it again, but the fire was gone. But don't be fooled by the scoreline. This was not grand slam-winning form by Hewitt.

Maybe the Sydney form, against the second-raters, while the biggies like Agassi and Federer were playing an exhibition in Melbourne, was deceiving. And next up he faces the hottest kid on tour, 17-year-old Rafael Nadal of Spain, who lifted his ranking last year from 235 to 27. Kim faces Marat Safin's smarter - but unknown - sister Dinara Safina.

Meanwhile, Kim was asked if she was being forced by the man of the house to follow the Adelaide Crows against her will - a sadistic proposition if ever there was one.

No, she said, she did it because she knew some of the players and had learned the rules and loved the game.

But she reserved the right to change her mind - might I suggest the mighty Swannies - if she wishes.

Trouble in paradise? If she gets a few tips on body punching from Kostya Tszyu there will be only one pants wearer.

01-22-2004, 02:07 PM
HEHEHE I love reading interviews with Lleyton because he is so cheeky with his answers :) - the press really do try and get in and ask questions even though they know they wont get the answer they are looking for.

Its also pretty funny how Lleyton always expresses his love for the crows - I mean who could forget when he wore his Adelaide footy jumper onto court during the davis cup against Switzerland haha good lil Aussie!!!


01-22-2004, 02:46 PM
Well done Lleyts :bounce: after that shaky first set. But what a disasterous ending for Kucera :eek: :o

01-22-2004, 02:48 PM
Q. She's talking about a wedding all the time.

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know any of that stuff, mate.

Q. You'll just show up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I'll just rock up. She can organize it.


Lleyton, typical man :rolleyes: :p

01-22-2004, 07:24 PM
Well done Lleyton!!! :worship:
I think the reporters have to stop with all the wedding questions now.
And I think, he doesn't like to talk much about personal matters.
But his answers are :yeah:

01-22-2004, 09:31 PM
star (and anyone else), I think they meant his "bucks night" which is an Aussie stag/bachelor party.

Still, all a bit irrelevant to a tennis match as I don't think the media will be invited.

01-22-2004, 09:34 PM
star (and anyone else), I think they meant his "bucks night" which is an Aussie stag/bachelor party.

Still, all a bit irrelevant to a tennis match as I don't think the media will be invited.
Thanks for the info Jane! I was actually wondering about that as well.

01-23-2004, 10:03 AM
That was a really weird article :scratch: :confused: paint the garage???? er...yeah...i'm sure :cuckoo:
thaks for posting it though :kiss:

01-23-2004, 12:31 PM
I agree, Ashleigh. I think the writer was trying to be funny, but it just sounded like he had issues or problems at home. He sounds sort of frightened by Kim's muscles.:o :rolleyes:

Anyway here is today's schedule of play.:) Lleyton has the night match. Todd Reid takes on Federer first. Poor Todd must be feeling the effects of that last match. Kim is up second on Vodafone with the hotly anticipated Pim Pim/Juan Carlos match fourth and last.:) Go Lleyton!! Should be a good match. He'll need to cut down on those errors against young Nadal.

Rod Laver Arena

11:00 AM
Start 1. Men's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Todd Reid (AUS) vs. Roger Federer (SUI)[2]
followed by:
2. Women's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Lisa Raymond (USA)[25] vs. Venus Williams (USA)[3]
3. Men's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Mario Ancic (CRO) vs. Mark Philippoussis (AUS)[10]

7:30 PM Start

1. Men's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)[15] vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)

followed by:
2. Men's Doubles - 2nd Rnd.
Jonas Bjorkman (SWE)
Todd Woodbridge (AUS)[3]
vs. Petr Luxa (CZE)
David Skoch (CZE)

Vodafone Arena

11:00 AM Start

1. Men's Doubles - 2nd Rnd.
Bob Bryan (USA)[1]
Mike Bryan (USA)[1]
vs. Martin Garcia (ARG)
Sebastian Prieto (ARG)

followed by:
2. Women's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Dinara Safina (RUS) vs. Kim Clijsters (BEL)[2]
3. Men's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
David Nalbandian (ARG)[8] vs. Wayne Ferreira (RSA)[31]
4. Men's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Joachim Johansson (SWE) vs. Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP)[3]

01-23-2004, 12:34 PM
Richard Hinds --- Kind of gushing over Aussie prospects.

Door open for a new Australian idol

January 24, 2004

Three men and one woman have put the Australian back into the Australian Open. Richard Hinds dares to dream.

Just like the players who refuse to look beyond their next match, grand slam observers learn not to get too excited about what the draw could throw up - and not just when Todd Reid is playing. At the Australian Open, there always seems to be a worthy no-name, an Andrei Pavel or a Dominik Hrbaty, waiting to ambush a potential marquee battle.

Yet, as Mark Philippoussis, Lleyton Hewitt and Reid prepare to perform their Aussie triple act today, you cannot help anticipate the enticing matches that could lie ahead. Most appetisingly, should things go to plan, the second week could bring an encore performance of some recent Davis Cup epics.

If Hewitt beats the 17-year-old Spaniard Rafael Nadal, he will most likely play Roger Federer, the man he beat after trailing two sets to love and 3-5 in the Davis Cup semi-final last September. That is if Federer can overcome the ever-improving 19-year-old Reid, who showed that he had the stomach for the fight and, indeed, the contents of that stomach while surviving a memorable second-round match. Philippoussis plays Mario Ancic, the young Croatian labelled "the new Goran", a reference to his big game rather than any apparent eccentricity. Win that match, then one more, and there is the prospect Philippoussis would play Juan Carlos Ferrero, the man he beat in such dramatic circumstances to clinch the Davis Cup.

There are, of course, many "ifs" in that equation. Ferrero is aching; Philippoussis might first have to get past another Spanish ball machine in Albert Costa should he beat Ancic. But at a tournament where the men's draw has tended to tease and titillate in recent times without providing second-week satisfaction, there is a feeling this year might be different.

Yesterday, in the half of the draw from which most had anticipated a semi-final between Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi, the 2002 finalist Marat Safin emerged as a dark horse. So often cast as a tennis Tin Man, Safin showed unusual heart to beat Todd Martin 7-5, 1-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. Seemingly rejuvinated after a long run with injuries, Safin now plays another American, James Blake. The Russian's brooding presence will trouble the fancied players in his section.

Even the ultra-predictable women's draw produced a mild surprise. Australia's Alicia Molik reached the fourth round for the first time by beating Claudine Schaul of Luxembourg 6-7 (7-4), 6-1, 6-2. That was not an upset by the rankings, just a jolt to those accustomed to the last Australian woman leaving the building before the first weekend.

Molik faces a greater challenge next when she plays the fourth seed Amelie Mauresmo.

Perhaps she can feed off the excitement of the Australian men. While it is 16 years since Pat Cash became the first - and, for now, only - local to play an Australian Open final on Rod Laver Arena, since they won the Davis Cup the Aussie blokes seem to be embracing the challenge of breaking the title drought rather than feeling burdened by it.

It was put to Philippoussis that Agassi looked like he owned the centre court every time he walked out. "I feel great [playing on centre court], don't get me wrong, and I'm from here," he replied. "If it's anyone's house, it's mine."

Philippoussis has received rapturous welcomes before his matches, his already great popularity enhanced by the brave victory over Ferrero.

"I honestly love stepping out on that centre court," he said after beating Fabrice Santoro in the second round. "Like in the first set, you know, the people keep yelling out, 'Come on'. It's almost like I feel bad because of the way I played in the first set, letting them down.

"The crowd is very important to me. I sort of feel like it's my stage, being a showman. We're playing for them, we're out there competing for them, and obviously for ourselves. But especially me playing in Melbourne, where I'm from, where I'm born, it's a very special place for me."

Hewitt should beat Nadal. But you would have written the same thing four years ago about any former world No.1 playing Hewitt. As it is, the match is an indication of the frightening pace at which the game moves. Little Lleyton, with his baggy shorts and cap turned back-to-front, is now the old timer on the comeback trail trying to fend off a precocious kid.

Australia's new prodigy Reid is a beneficiary of the exploits of Hewitt and Philippoussis. When the still relatively unknown Pat Rafter played Agassi in a fourth-round match in 1995, the hype clearly got to him. He lost 6-3, 6-4, 6-0. Now, the fact Reid will step out against the Wimbledon champion is a handy bonus for local fans rather than the unhealthy focus of a national sporting obsession.

"I'm a wildcard, I'm really just here for the experience so far," Reid said.

"Lleyton has been No.1 in the world, Philippoussis made the final of Wimbledon. Obviously there is more expectation about them."

Reid recovered so well from his five-set victory over Sarg Sargsian he attended a players' party the same night he vomited on the Rebound Ace. He did that, he insisted, so he could smuggle in a couple of uninvited mates. He remains fully focused on the Federer match.

Reid is living the mantra. Taking it one match at a time. The rest of us can look ahead to the second week of this tournament with stars in our eyes.

01-23-2004, 07:34 PM
I think the writer was trying to be funny, but it just sounded like he had issues or problems at home. He sounds sort of frightened by Kim's muscles.:o :rolleyes:

I agree!

Anyway here is today's schedule of play.:)

Thanks for that Dagmar. I do feel for Todd and Pim Pim already :unsure:...they have tough opponents.

01-24-2004, 02:24 PM
Hewitt caps the lesson
By Greg Baum
January 25, 2004

There were lessons for both players in an enthralling and inspiring match at Rod Laver Arena last night, won 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 by Lleyton Hewitt. For Rafael Nadal, they were about the here and now, as tightening at crucial times in his first centre-court appearance in a major cost him dearly. For Lleyton Hewitt, the lessons were about the future, as 17-year-old Spaniard Nadal showed compatriot Carlos Moya's prediction that he will soon be the world No. 1 was not glibly made. Already, Hewitt knows to avoid the teenager's forehand.

In many ways, Hewitt was challenged by himself of four or five years ago, but taller and darker. At 22, Hewitt already is looking in the face of generational change. The silence that descended on the packed and absorbed crowd at times last night was the sound of future shock. Hewitt needed all his fist pumps, "C'mons", and sundry mutterings to win. "Hell of a player," he said later. "I was expecting a great match, but it was a lot tougher than I expected. I really had to raise my game, and I'm just happy to get through."

Nonetheless, Hewitt is through to the round of 16 - as far as he has ever made it in the Australian Open, his most coveted and least-successful major. Next up is Roger Federer, a fellow veteran at 22, probably on Monday night, in a return of their epic Davis Cup five-setter on the same court last September. If Nadal is the shape of the future for Hewitt, Federer is his destiny now.



The least Federer knows, and Nadal learnt last night, is that Hewitt will not lose; he must be beaten. Nadal, the youngest of the Spanish armada, is a baby-faced left-hander in a bandana, with an impressive list of victims already in big-time tennis, and a rasping forehand like Adam Gilchrist's square drive. Hewitt knows now to work around it, but lesser players may not be able.

All night, Nadal made Hewitt play one more shot in every rally than usual, and hit a series of startling winners from the back court. Moreover, he showed a willingness to attack the net on occasion that is atypical of the Spanish. But Hewitt is the master of winning by attrition, and of harnessing the power of a partisan centre court, which prefaced the match by standing spontaneously and singing Advance Australia Fair. Hewitt on Saturday night at the Open is becoming a staple.

The least that can be said is the Spaniard brought out the best in the Australian.
Hewitt, unexpectedly, made the more hesitant and nervous beginning. Nadal's uncle plays soccer for Real Mallorca, played for Barcelona and represented Spain in last year's World Cup. For a lad who grew up (as far as he has) dreaming perhaps of the Nou Camp, Rod Laver arena held no fears. He took to the court at a jog, like a soccer player.

This match was a spectacle. There were no 200 km/h serves, but there was much else about which to gasp: touch, placement and desperation to run down every ball. The least that can be said is that the Spaniard brought out the best in the Australian.

Hewitt broke first in each of the first two sets, only for Nadal to break back immediately. Nadal led both tiebreaks 2-0, but made silly mistakes from which he surely will learn. For instance, he should certainly be more discreet henceforth about when to play drop shots against a player, and on a surface, that make them ill-advised.

Hewitt held his nerve, for he is nothing if not born for combat. From 0-2 in the first set tie-breaker, he won the next 12 points. Nadal appeared to slow a little after being treated for a sore knee between the first two sets, and looked to have run out of energy and ideas by the end of the third. But he was scarcely embarrassed.

The match finished with a rally that condensed what was best about it - Hewitt's backhand, Nadal's forehand, each pushing the other, daring the other, until Nadal missed.

Hewitt was warm in his salutations at the net. This night, Australia had its cake and ate it, too, for a local favourite won and a star was born, all in the one match.

01-24-2004, 02:34 PM
I posted that in GM. It sounds as if it was the match of the tournament so far!

I am so proud of Lleyton for digging deep and taking his opportunities to win and closing it out in three sets.

01-25-2004, 12:06 PM
Andre Agassi says his coach of two years, former Australian player Darren Cahill, is a mentor for all ages.

"He's coached the youngest No.1 in the world and he's coached the oldest No.1 in the world," Agassi said after his fourth-round win over Paradorn Srichaphan.

"Those stats are hard to argue with."

Cahill coached Lleyton Hewitt, who was the tour's youngest year-end No.1 at the age of 20 years, eight months in 2001.

The oldest No.1 since computer rankings were introduced is Agassi, who reached the top ranking last May at the age of 33 and held that position for 14 weeks.

"Darren has made an incredible difference to my game," said Agassi, now ranked fourth. "He constantly helps me improve by always being aware of the subtleties that make my game tick."

Hewitt came up in conversation between Agassi and on-court commentator John McEnroe after Agassi's win.

Noting that Hewitt and Kim Clijsters were engaged to be married, McEnroe asked Agassi for an assessment of a future match-up between his children with Steffi Graf - Jaden Gil and Jaz Elle - with any of Hewitt's and Clijsters' kids.

"If my son or daughter were to lose that match, 20 years from now, I'll be waiting for (the winner) in the finals or the next round," said Agassi. "I'll still be here."

01-25-2004, 12:07 PM
I think Johnny Mac was reading the board yesterday during our goober fest ;)

01-25-2004, 12:38 PM
If Agassi is still playing in 20 years I'll have to kill myself.

01-25-2004, 12:39 PM
Now GO LLEYTON! Spank that Fedex and be done with this nonsense :fiery:

01-25-2004, 01:58 PM
C'mon Lleyton! :clap2:
Let's go and beat Federer :)

I'm looking forward to a big match! I hope it will be one.

01-25-2004, 02:13 PM

January 24, 2004

L. HEWITT/R. Nadal
7-6, 7-6, 6-2


THE MODERATOR: First question for Lleyton, please.

Q. You were saying out there that you expect a tough match. Was it even tougher than you thought, the young boy tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah. I seen a little bit of his second-round match. He played a lot better tonight than he did in that second-round match, I tell you. He could have very easily been down two sets to one in that match against Ascione, I think, the French bloke. And it wasn't until the other guy started getting a few cramps that he actually got on top of him. He really went up another couple of levels tonight. Yeah, he's a great player. As I said before, you know, all the good stuff you've heard and seen in the past, you know, he's going to be very good in a couple of years.

Q. How far are you from your top form?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I played pretty well tonight, I felt. You know, went hammers and tongs right from the baseline. Didn't move back too much and really attacked right from the word "go." Felt like I hit the ball pretty well the whole night. Even the times I got broken, he played a couple of incredible points to break me. And I was really happy with how I came back in both the breakers. You know, I was down mini breaks early, and I just kept fighting and finding a way to get through those tight sets. Then in the third set, obviously got on top of him early.

Q. How is your injury pulling up?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Pretty good. Feel good at the moment. See how I feel. Tomorrow doesn't matter so much, but I'll hopefully be all right Monday.

Q. It was a good hit-out for you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was a good match. Very good match.

Q. What about Federer?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, doesn't get any easier, that's for sure. You know, it's going to be a tough match and I've got to go out there and just worry about my game. And hopefully I can get off to a bit better start than I did last time against him a few months ago.

Q. Why do you think you've got such a good record against him?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think we played a lot probably before he was probably at his best, I think. That may be one of the reasons. He got on the tour just a little bit after me, I think, as well. You know, since then, since we've probably both been at our best, we've probably only played a couple of times, I think. Nearly all the matches have been pretty close. We played -- not only this Davis Cup tie, we played a Davis Cup tie in Zurich a few years ago, which was a tight four-set match. The only match I think I lost to him was in Basel in his hometown, in the semifinals of the Swiss indoors, and I lost 7-6 in the third. I think I had match point. We've played some pretty good matches in the past. I've really got to, you know, play some of my best tennis to keep up with him.

Q. Is there any difference at all that this is at a Grand Slam, and you haven't played before at a Slam?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, we haven't. You know, I don't know. It's probably pretty similar to a Davis Cup tie in that the pressure is there for both of us. You know, Round of 16 of a Grand Slam, you know. You can take a little bit out of a Davis Cup tie, I guess. But, you know, I was very fortunate to get out of that match, as well. But, you know, it's the best-of-five sets, like that Davis Cup tie, so there's plenty of time.

Q. Is that the match you remember most with them, the Davis Cup one?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was the most recent, so...

Q. The one that stands out of the nine?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for sure. Obviously, I think apart from that other Davis Cup match, when we probably both weren't at our best at that time, apart from that, that's probably the only five-set match I think we've played. Yeah, it definitely stands out. It was the biggest match I think that we both had to play under pressure. You know. It was a hell of an outcome in the end for me.

Q. The role of the crowd in both tiebreaks, what influence did it have on you tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's great. You know, the crowd not only in the tiebreakers, I think the whole time. They were loud out there. Fanatics really got them going. Awesome atmosphere out there.

Q. Did you organize those seats for the Fanatics tonight?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think Roger's done most of that with the Fanatics, and with Wozz, helping them out as much as possible.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how a crowd can help a player through a match?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, crowds obviously, you know, if you use them the right way, you get an atmosphere like we've had tonight, then it's always a positive, I think, and you can draw a lot of positives out of it and try and use that positive energy in a good way. Then again, you know, there's some times when you feel maybe the expectation of playing in front of a big crowd going for you, as well. I've played some of my best matches in Davis Cup away from home when you've got to block out the whole crowd and just concentrate on what you're doing. There's positives and negatives for both ways. I still think it's a lot easier to go out there and concentrate when the crowd's all with you.

Q. The fourth round is where you got to last year, and fell against Younes. Will that play on your mind at all?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, not really. Younes was too good last year. He played a hell of a match. You know, I only lost my serve once for the whole day and I didn't break him in the whole match. There's not too many matches I can't recall when I haven't been able to break a guy once in four sets. I just had to live with that and, you know, I guess it was easy to get over that match, a little bit easier, because I knew it was a little bit out of my control. I felt like I played a pretty good match for most of it. Maybe just didn't take a couple opportunities when they popped up. But I won't be worrying about that on Monday.

Q. Did you get a chance to watch Todd's match against Roger?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I watched a little bit on TV before I went out to hit the balls out the back there. Actually saw him go up a break. Came in, and he was finished. Poor old Todd I think was a bit tired today.

01-25-2004, 02:28 PM
Hewitt to 'lift or perish'
By Leo Schlink
January 26, 2004

LLEYTON Hewitt declared yesterday he must reproduce his finest tennis or perish in an Australian Open blockbuster tonight against Roger Federer, the Swiss genius Pat Rafter has called the most complete player in tennis.

Hewitt during his 4th round win over Rafael Nadal.

Hewitt will play Wimbledon champion Federer for the 10th time - looking for his eighth win against the world No.2 and an Australian Open quarter-final berth.

"It's probably one of the toughest round of 16 matches you could get at a slam," Hewitt said. "Roger's a talented player on any surface, I look forward to the challenge, though.

"It's obviously a huge match-up for both of us. The one person who comes through has got a good chance in the quarter-final match.

"I've just got to worry about this one. It's going to be a tough match. I wouldn't expect anything less."

Hewitt, seeded 15th, is yet to go past the fourth round in seven previous attempts.

Federer has also failed in four tries to reach the quarters.

US Open and Wimbledon winner Hewitt has beaten Federer in seven of nine matches - most recently in an epic Davis Cup semi-final - but the South Australian pays only scant heed to that record.

"I think we played a lot probably before he was probably at his best," Hewitt said.

"Since we've probably been at our best, we've probably only played a couple of times.

"Nearly all the matches have been pretty close. I lost to him once in Miami and the only other match I lost was in the semi-finals of the Swiss Indoors and I lost 7-6 in the third. I think I had match point.

"I've really got to play some of my best tennis to keep up with him. He's one of the best players out there so I've got to concentrate on playing my game."

Hewitt has not faced Federer since giving the right-hander a huge start - Federer served for the match at 5-3 in the third set - to win the Davis Cup semi-final 5-7 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 6-1 at Rod Laver Arena in September.

The Australian described it as possibly the best win of a career including 75 successive weeks as world No.1 and 20 singles titles.

But Hewitt has no doubts over what he needs tonight.

"I think you've got to go out there and play one of your best matches to come away with a win against a guy who's won the Masters Cup just a few months ago and played well for Switzerland in Davis Cup as well," Hewitt said.

"All the top players are that close, you've got to perform on the day. There's no bunnies going through to the round of 16 in a slam.

"He [Federer] doesn't have too many off days now. He's that good a player that he can lift for the bigger matches as well. In the past, I've done that as well."

Hewitt, 22, was delighted with his 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 win over Spanish teenager Rafael Nadal, and Federer could not have been more impressive in his 6-3 6-0 6-1 win over Sydneysider Todd Reid.

"Well, it doesn't get any easier, that's for sure," Hewitt warned of the Federer match and a road to the final now also blocked by David Nalbandian or Guillermo Canas and then Mark Philippoussis, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Andrei Pavel or Hicham Arazi.

"Hopefully I can get off to a bit better start than I did last time against him a few months ago."

Hewitt and Federer will meet for the first time tonight in a grand slam event - a statistical oddity that shows the depth in the men's game.

Of all the wins Hewitt has posted against Federer, the most recent is understandably the most vivid - and relevant.

"You can take a little bit out of a Davis Cup tie, I guess," Hewitt said.

"I was very fortunate to get out of that match. It's best-of-five sets, like that Davis Cup tie, so there's plenty of time.

"It [the Davis Cup match] definitely stands out. It was the biggest match I think that we both had to play under pressure. It was a helluva outcome in the end for me."

Federer, still without a coach after dispensing with Swede Peter Lundgren, is yet to drop a set in three matches.

And Pat Rafter, for one, thinks he has no weaknesses.

"He's the most complete player I have ever seen," he said. "There is no glaring weakness. Roger has every shot in the book and there is no other player that has that. He's got the ability to blow anyone off the court."

01-25-2004, 03:00 PM
video interview after the match with Nadal

video link (http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/interactive/console/console.html?1|http%3A//mfile.akamai.com/8583/asf/ibmaus.download.akamai.com/8583/2004/240113_hi.asx)

01-25-2004, 03:50 PM
Thanks a lot, Tara.:worship:

Great win over Nadal, who has kind of won me over with his inspired play. *places toe on the bandwagon--lol*

Linda Pearce discusses Lleyton and Mark's chances...good luck, Lleyton.:D

Will it be Australians' day?
By Linda Pearce
January 26, 2004

Roger Federer takes a 10-hour advantage into tonight's Australian Open fourth-round match against Lleyton Hewitt, but also a compelling reason to fear being mown down from behind. As much as Federer insists he has not been haunted by Hewitt's inspired September comeback in the Davis Cup semi-final, they are powerful images, difficult to forget or ignore.

Federer told The Age recently he was not concerned by his fade-out as much as had been assumed, for he had completed a fine opening win over Mark Philippoussis and then played five sets of doubles the next day while Hewitt lounged about with his feet up. Nor, Federer insisted, did he cost Switzerland its first Davis Cup finals appearance, for the chances of Michel Kratochvil defeating Philippoussis in the fifth rubber were remote.

But what Federer cannot deny is the fact Hewitt has beaten him seven times out of nine - none on the grand slam stage - the most recent on Rod Laver Arena from a deficit of two sets and 2-5.

That was less than three months after Federer claimed his first Wimbledon title with an acclaimed display that contrasted with Hewitt's humiliating first round against Ivo Karlovic.

"I played well in Davis Cup and also here now," Federer said after his third consecutive straight-sets rout, over Australian wildcard Todd Reid on Saturday.

"I'm looking forward. It's a good match-up. We've got two totally different games. He's got a much better record against me, so that's his advantage. But, you know, hopefully I can use something else.

"We have always had very tight matches. You know, even though I've beaten him twice, one time I beat him I saved match point. Could be also 9-1.

"On the other side, it could also be 5-4, 5-all, whatever. We've always had tight matches and physically tough, I always thought: Shanghai, Davis Cup, all the other matches. So, (I'm) looking forward to it."

Hewitt's patriotic fires will be burning on Australia Day, but Federer has the advantage of an easier lead-in. Federer disposed of Reid almost 10 hours before Hewitt walked away from Saturday night's testing 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 defeat of Spanish teenager Rafael Nadal. There is no question whose form has been more impressive, though the quality of Hewitt's opposition has probably been higher.

Nadal did not win a set, but it was effectively a match between equals, and the rising star told the Spanish media afterwards he believed he had been close to winning. Not a set, the whole match, he insisted, and blamed the Hewitt forehand on the fact that he did not.

Earlier on Saturday, Federer's forehand had dismantled Reid, and the second seed's next Australian opponent well knows what to expect as he attempts to reach his first Open quarter-final in eight attempts.

"Doesn't get any easier, that's for sure," Hewitt said. "Hopefully I can get off to a bit better start than I did last time against him a few months ago."

Both were asked to explain the resounding 7-2 record. If Federer knew why, he said with a smile, it would be different. Hewitt, meanwhile, quite graciously suggested his first few wins had come before Federer, who is six months younger and started and matured slightly later, had reached his peak.

"Since we've probably both been at our best, we've probably only played a couple of times, I think," Hewitt said. "Nearly all the matches have been pretty close. The only match I think I lost to him was in Basel . . . in the semi-finals of the Swiss indoors, and I lost 7-6 in the third. I think I had match point. I've really got to play some of my best tennis to keep up with him."

Mark Philippoussis's best tennis should be enough to overcome the wickedly talented but unreliable Hicham Arazi in the preceding match on Rod Laver Arena. Arazi outplayed Albert Costa in four sets to reach the Open's fourth round for the third time. Philippoussis has come this far three times, but unlike Arazi, has never gone further.

The local 10th seed is expecting Arazi to stay on the baseline, rally and run all day. "For me, it's important not to get pulled into that sort of play," Philippoussis said. "I think I'll try and keep the points short, chip and charge when I can, just put the pressure on them. If they pass me all day, it's just too good."

01-25-2004, 04:05 PM
I love this picture of Lleyton.


Mr. Man
01-25-2004, 05:45 PM
Good Luck against Roger tonight, Lleyton! :banana:

01-25-2004, 07:05 PM
Good luck Lleyton against Federer, tomorrow!!!
I believe in you, you are such a big fighter.
COME ON!!!! :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

01-25-2004, 09:02 PM
Good luck Lleyts :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

YOU REALLY CAN!!!!! :bounce: :bounce:

01-26-2004, 02:43 AM
Come On Lleyton~~~~~~~~~~~~~!!!

01-26-2004, 05:31 AM
Good Luck Lleyts :bounce: :kiss:

01-26-2004, 10:34 AM
:sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad:

Mr. Man
01-26-2004, 03:24 PM
pffffft at Lleyton getting bageled. Damn. Good Luck next time, man.

01-26-2004, 06:33 PM
That was not a good game... 6 - 0? But he won the first set, so that's something already...

01-26-2004, 08:24 PM
Poor Lleyton... :sad: :bigcry: :tears:
He played not bad, Federer was too good today, I think.
Now he has some time to watch Kim.

01-27-2004, 01:09 PM
*feelings of frustration and sadness* :sad:

Here's Lleyton's extremely gracious interview.:) I like the way he doesn't blame anything on the foot fault call. Another sort of up and down match. All those break chances....

. FEDERER/L. Hewitt

3-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-4

An interview with:


Q. Do you have any feeling about that foot fault?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's obviously disappointing when you hit an ace and you get a foot fault called on you on a game point, I guess.

But, yeah, I still wouldn't have won the match even if -- at that stage, anyway. I'm not going to take anything away from Roger's win. He was too good tonight.

But, you know, it was obviously, you know, a bit disappointing, the only foot fault I get the whole night, hit an ace off it.

Q. How long did you feel that that took the wind out of your sails? It was obviously just a few games there where...

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably only hurt me just that one game I think. I think Roger sort of felt a bit of a relief, I guess. Could have been 3-all in that set.

You know, instead, he came out, worked a couple of forehands. There really wasn't much I could do in the next two points.

So, you know, that was the one break for the set there. That sort of set the second set up for him, and, you know, I felt like I had a lot of chances out there tonight. I had a lot of love-30s, I had a lot of breakpoints, especially early in the second set there. I wasn't able to capitalize. Could have easily been up a set and a break. Had a breakpoint in the first game. Had some more later on as well, so...

Q. When he plays like that, does it get to a period where he's untouchable?

LLEYTON HEWITT: He goes through patches where he's pretty good. You got to try and weather the storm as much as possible. I felt like I came out and I was aggressive right from the start, I put a lot of pressure on him. You know, probably just went in my shell there for a couple of games and he was able to step it up and take advantage of that, I think.

Yeah, as I said before, I think I really had to try and get on top of him, you know, early in that second set after I got that first set in the bag. He came up were a couple of big serves, big forehands on those points.

And, yeah, there really wasn't much I could do probably on those breakpoints anyway. I needed to probably get a little bit of a look at a few more second serves, I'd say.

Q. Is this the best you saw him playing?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know about the best. You know, he played in patches tonight extremely well, yeah. I still felt like I had a lot of chances out there, though.

You know, I'm -- it's hard to say that, you know, I guess the semi and final of Wimbledon last year, that was probably as well as he's probably ever played, I'd say.

Q. Can't rewrite history, of course. Do you think with the experience...


Q. We can't rewrite history.


Q. Sadly for you. But do you think that at the point 5-4, where you could have maybe broken back 5-5, with all the experience of the Davis Cup, that might have changed things?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, who knows, mate. If you're 5-all, you got a fighting chance anyway. I can't tell you one way or another.

You know, he made a couple of -- you know, didn't quite go for as much as normal, I think, or as he was earlier in the fourth set, in the third set. That's normal to get a little bit tight under those circumstances. He was playing down the tougher end as well, you know, trying to finish it off.

But to his credit, he came up with some pretty big, big points when he needed to.

Q. Both you and Mark came into this stage of the tournament playing fantastic tennis. Beaten in the fourth round. Hasn't been a happy hunting ground this fourth round of the Australian Open for Australian guys. Any idea what it is about this stage of the tournament that's been so unkind to our players recently, or how important it is putting this particular tournament in your career goals?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know why but, you know, the years that I've made the fourth round, you know, I felt like tonight I gave it a good chance. I played a guy who was too good on the night. Last year was a little bit of a once off, I guess, playing El Aynaoui in the fourth round. I'd take that most times, playing El Aynaoui in a fourth round rather than Federer. But El Aynaoui played a hell of a match. Didn't break serve once.

The time before that, made the fourth round, it was 2000, something like that, it was against Magnus Norman. At that stage he was 3 or 4 in the world. I quite wasn't up to it.

In all those matches for me, personally, there's been reasons, I think, why I've probably lost in this round. But I don't think, you know -- Mark and I both played well, you know. I didn't see much of his match today, but he obviously didn't play as well as he probably could have today and has been playing. I ran into a guy who was too good for me tonight.

Q. How much of a distraction were the fireworks?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It was a little bit. We got told before we went on by Peter Bellinger there was gonna be fire works at about 9:15 for about 10 minutes. They tried to hold them off, but they weren't able to, or something.

It was a lot louder than I thought it was gonna be.

Q. Generally speaking, would you like to see the surface here any different-paced?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, apparently it didn't get resurfaced. Yeah, to me, it probably -- it felt like slower than it was in the September Davis Cup tie. Reasons for that, I don't know, whether it was because we laid a grass court on top of it, I really don't know.

Felt a lot rougher. Felt like the balls were fluffing up a lot more out there the last couple of weeks. You know, I think the disappointing thing is we can't get a surface, you know -- I practiced on Adelaide before I went to the Hopman Cup, then I played in the Hopman Cup, I played in Sydney, I played in Melbourne, and none of them are the same.

I think, you know, Sydney and Melbourne was the biggest difference of all-time. They're the two supreme tournaments in Australia, so...

01-27-2004, 04:06 PM
I loved that interview.

Pure class all the way. :)

01-28-2004, 12:18 PM
Injury could once more play a major role in determining the make-up of Saturday's women's singles final at the Australian Open, with No.2 seed Kim Clijsters admitting last night she would not know until an hour before today's semi-final with Patty Schnyder whether she will be fit to play.

Clijsters aggravated an already-bandaged left ankle early in the second set of her quarter-final victory over Anastasia Myskina. In what has effectively become a fitness test, the Belgian will take to the practice court later this morning to assess her movement and the state of her ankle.

"I'll probably hit around maybe 12pm or 11am, come out first here in the locker room [to] have it taped, see how I go moving around, sidesteps and stuff like this . . . Just little steps to see how it feels. And if that gets the all-clear, then I'll go out on court," Clijsters said after qualifying for a third consecutive semi-final at Melbourne Park.

A nervous Myskina capitulated to the power of Clijsters in the opening set but won the first two games of the second, breaking the 20-year-old's first service game. Clijsters was serving in the third game at 0-2 when she ran towards the net and appeared to stumble. She immediately began to adjust her shoe and called for the trainer at the end of the game.

During the change of ends, her ankle was re-taped, even tighter for additional support. Clijsters said she would ice the joint overnight, take painkillers and get as much rest as possible to give herself every chance of playing.

The Belgian originally suffered the injury during the Hopman Cup in Perth, coincidentally while playing Alicia Molik, who would later suffer a similar fate. Clijsters intended to play in Sydney in the lead-up to the open but decided not to risk aggravating the problem. She has a different attitude this time.

"I don't mind. I am going to have a week off anyway after this," she said. "I might as well go out there and give it my best shot. But on the other hand, if I can't walk tomorrow then it's stupid to go out there.

"But it's something that I'll have to see tomorrow. I'm going to come out here, get taped and see how it's feeling and test it."

Having trailed Myskina 0-4 in the second set, Clijsters was forced to defend two set points at 4-5. But the Russian failed to serve out and her brittle temperament got the better of her. Clijsters was able to take the set to tie-break - but even that had its drama.

Clijsters, desperate to get the match over with, hit out and missed a total of five match points before prevailing 6-2, 7-6 (11-9). Had the match gone to three sets, Clijsters is not sure her ankle would have withstood the extra time on court. It was "very important" to have won in straight sets, she admitted later.

"I think it would have been tough otherwise . . . [but] I'm sure that even if I would have gone through a third set, I would have tried as hard," she said. "I wouldn't do anything differently. I would have tried as hard as I did in that second set. If I had won in three sets, it probably would have aggravated [the injury] even more for tomorrow."

If she is forced to withdraw two hurdles away from a possible first title, it would be another cruel blow for Clijsters at the business end of the open. In last year's semi-final, she led 5-1 and had two match points at 5-2 against eventual champion Serena Williams.

In 2002, she also lost to the eventual winner, Jennifer Capriati, in three sets.

Clijsters leads her head-to-head battle with Schnyder 3-1, and if fully fit would be a warm favourite to progress through to her first final at Melbourne Park.

After several years in the wilderness, Schnyder is again returning to the form which saw her attain the No.8 ranking in 1999. A rare left-hander on the women's tour, Schnyder breezed past American veteran Lisa Raymond 7-6 (7-2), 6-3, another match affected by nerves.

The Clijsters-Schnyder match will be the second semi-final on court today, following top seed Justine Henin-Hardenne's clash with Colombian history-maker Fabiola Zuluaga, the first player from her country to make a grand slam quarter-final. The pair have met just once, in Hobart in 2000, the Belgian winning in three sets.

01-28-2004, 01:19 PM
Scary match :rolleyes:

From Herald and Sun internet site.
Lleyton's turn to sweat in stands
Mark Stevens

FOR once, the roles were reversed. This time it was Lleyton Hewitt's turn to fidget and sweat from a few rows back.

Kim Clijsters, front and square in the stands for Hewitt's Davis Cup heroics last year, took her turn to put her fiance through the wringer yesterday.
Her quarter-final against Russian Anastasia Myskina had all the drama of a Hewitt special: the comeback, the courage, the crowd involvement.

"I've seen a lot of Davis Cup matches and they have been nerve-racking for me. I thought I might give him back a couple," Clijsters joked afterwards.

The match seemed so predictable with Clijsters leading 5-0 in the first. And it still looked like the Belgian would inflict an early kill when she took the set 6-2.

Then it turned pear-shaped. In a blink, "our Kimmy" trailed 0-4. At 1-4, she called for the trainer. With her left ankle throbbing, Hewitt grabbed his mobile phone.

We'll never know who he was talking too. Maybe calling for help from above. At any rate, it worked.

After a 10-minute injury break and her ankle re-taped, Clijsters emerged re-energised. And it gave time for Myskina to think.

Time to ponder can be mighty dangerous for someone such as Myskina, who likes to hustle between points and play in overdrive.

As much as she denied it later, the Russian seemed to tighten with the sudden realisation that yes, she could win and yes, Clijsters was in trouble.

Suddenly, the ball was in her court to finish Clijsters off -- and quickly. Mentally, she just couldn't cut it.

"I think I lose the match -- this match -- before the match," Myskina conceded.

"I was kind of nervous because I thought I have a good chance to play at least three sets with Kim, maybe beat her."

It was a huge admission that she lost it above the shoulders.

So while Myskina was tightening, Clijsters did a brilliant job of showing she wasn't hurting.

Maybe her serve was affected as the left foot is her launching pad, but the world No. 2 was superb in chasing down the drop shots thrown in to test her.

As with Hewitt conjuring a comeback and riding with the crowd, there was a sense of inevitability that Clijsters would find a way home.

Myskina still managed to get to 5-3 before blowing three set points. She had her chances again to wrap it up in the tiebreak before Clijsters finished it off 11-9.

The second set lasted 64 minutes -- usually plenty of time for Clijsters to blow some poor soul away and be on the rubdown table.

Hewitt raced up the steps after the match and disappeared a relieved man -- maybe sunburnt for the first time watching his fiancee. This was a hard day at the office.

You would think Hewitt can keep the sunscreen at home today. Clijsters, crook ankle or not, should be in for a much easier time against Patty Schnyder.

01-28-2004, 02:11 PM
Great article!!!

01-28-2004, 08:31 PM
Yes, very nice!!! :yeah:

01-31-2004, 10:13 AM
Line calls played a role

By Pam Shriver
Special to ESPN.com

MELBOURNE, Australia -- For the first set and a half of the Australian Open women's final, it really looked like more of the same from the dueling Belgians.

Justine Henin-Hardenne played as flawless as you can under pressure, while Clijsters hit too many unforced errors and not enough winners.

However, line calls also played a role in the match, which you hate to see in the final of any major. A couple went against Clijsters in the first set, and in the entire match, two of the four bad calls were on break points against her. Another came in the last game on a big-swinging forehand volley at a crucial point. The calls certainly factored into her loss.

Line calls aside, Clijsters' two double faults hurt her when she had a chance to level the third set at 4-all. When she got back in the match, she waffled again. Henin-Hardenne also blinked, though, when she was up one set and 4-2 in the second. She choked again when she was up two breaks in the third set and and lost them both. Still, in the end, Henin-Hardenne was the tougher player here as she won 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

Clijsters continues to show what a great sportswoman she is in the way she shook the chair umpire's hand despite the bad calls and handled her postmatch press conference. For her sake, I hope she doesn't get discouraged by these losses but keeps fighting. Because when the Williams sisters get back the women's tour won't get any easier, and Clijsters is too good not to win one of these championships. :angel:

With three major titles, Henin-Hardenne has now won as many as Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati, and she's only 21 years old. She's got room to improve, and she's looking to do just that. She's trying to make her second serve bigger and her forehand into a greater weapon, and she's looking to stay in the best shape on the tour. People will have to reckon with her abilities and her hunger.

And Henin-Hardenne will not evaporate into thin air even when the Williams sisters get back. She choked at two points in this match and still managed to win. She never gets down. She fights hard even when she's fighting her demons. It's really admirable.

This was the most emotional, dramatic final we've had since Jennifer Capriati fought off four championship points two years ago. The Williams sisters finals were less than dramatic, and Henin-Hardenne and Clijsters two previous finals were terrible. So, after the poor field in this tournament, it was great to end it with a match that had you locked in.

This tournament will never be a classic, but the final will be memorable.

ESPN tennis analyst Pam Shriver won 21 singles and 112 doubles crowns, including 22 Grand Slam titles.

01-31-2004, 03:50 PM
With WTA World down, I thought I'd just put this in here, if people want to see it. Sorry if its already been posted elsewhere.

Clijsters fights all the way
by Luke Buttigieg
Saturday, January 31, 2004

No.2 seed Kim Clijsters will leave Australia in the next few days without a maiden Grand Slam trophy, having gone down in three sets to fellow Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne in the Australian Open final, but she lost no admirers along the way.

Clijsters looked headed for a disappointing straight-sets defeat in her first final at Melbourne Park when she fell a set and 2-4 down, with Henin-Hardenne's untouchable serve and ability to force mistakes proving the difference.

But urged on by the fans - not only because they wanted to see a close match but also due to her strong local connection through her relationship with Australian Lleyton Hewitt - Clijsters fought back brilliantly.

Although she levelled the match at a set all and then also recovered from 0-4 down in the decider with two more breaks, Clijsters eventually fell short to Henin-Hardenne for a third time in as many major finals.

"I fought it really well to get back in that second set. Even in the beginning of the third set, she hardly missed any balls. She makes you go for so many shots which are not natural, I think, for a lot of players. She keeps bringing them back," Clijsters explained.

"You try to go closer to the lines and then you miss a few. That's I think where she made the biggest difference today. She brought so many balls back that made me go a little bit out of my comfort zone."

At 3-4 in the third set and facing a break point, her cause was also not helped by an overrule from the chair umpire that gave her opponent the critical break, even though replays indicated that the ball may have just clipped the baseline.

Clijsters refused to blame her defeat on the overrule, other than to admit her obvious disappointment.

"I'm not the type of player that's going to start complaining after matches," Clijsters added. "That's something at the moment, very disappointing I think. And a few people have told me that it was in."

"But I'm not going to blame the umpire or anything because everyone makes mistakes. But of course its disappointing. You feel things when they come off the racket, you get the experience."

"I've been playing for 12 years. As soon as I hit the ball I probably know if it's going in or out, I definitely had the feeling it was good, but nothing I can do about it now."

As for the fact that all three of her Grand Slam final defeats have come to Henin-Hardenne, Clijsters added that she believes she has simply been beaten by a better player on the day.

"I think it doesn't matter, how the score was," Clijsters said. "I mean, it's always tough to lose them. I definitely felt like today played a lot better than I did in the previous finals that I played against her."

"I don't think it's got anything to do with psychological at all. I think she played really well. I think she started really well. She didn't give me a lot of easy mistakes, and she was returning well at the crucial moments when she had to."

"Each one is very disappointing. I wouldn't say one more than the other. They're all disappointing. Like I said in my speech as well, I'm very lucky to have been out there as well. At least I gave myself a shot at it," she added of her ankle injury.

Clijsters will head home to Belgium for some practice and to try and give her ankle time to fully heal, and even though she finished runner-up, can do so in the knowledge that when her game is on she can compete with the best players in the world.

AO website.

01-31-2004, 04:16 PM
Umpire in line of fire after crucial call cruels Clijsters

By Karen Lyon
February 1, 2004
The Sun-Herald

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Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters at the net after the match. Photo: Ray Kennedy

A disappointed Kim Clijsters said she was not prepared to blame a controversial line call late in the third set for her loss to Justine Henin-Hardenne in the final of the Australian Open yesterday.

Clijsters was clearly upset with the call, which gave Henin-Hardenne the decisive break in the final set and allowed the top seed to serve for the title. At the time, the No.2 seed questioned the overruling by chair umpire Sandra De Jenken and later said the call had helped turn the tide of the final.

It was the third time in less than 12 months the 20-year-old has lost a grand slam final to her compatriot.

Afterwards Clijsters did not want the overruling to be seen as her excuse for losing the match. "I'm not the type of player that's gonna start complaining after matches," she said. "That's something at the moment [that is] very disappointing, I think.

"A few people have told me that it was in. So that's even more disappointing then. But I'm not going to blame the umpire or anything because everyone makes mistakes. But of course it's disappointing."

Late in the third set, the momentum was once more on the move when Clijsters grabbed the ascendancy. She had broken the serve of Henin-Hardenne twice to recover the two early breaks she had conceded and, at 40-30, appeared poised to level the set at 4-all.

Yet she squandered two game points, double-faulting on both occasions. When Clijsters pushed a backhand volley wide, Henin- Hardenne had the critical break point.

Clijsters and most of the crowd, which had thrown its support behind her, believed she had saved the break point when her drive forehand volley appeared to hit the baseline and skid away from Henin-Hardenne.

The No.1 seed immediately looked at the line judge, pointed to the offending line and appeared to tell the judge the ball was out.

It was then that De Jenken overruled the call and awarded the game to Henin-Hardenne. While Clijsters questioned the overruling, the crowd began to jeer the decision and continued while Henin-Hardenne prepared to serve for the match, which she eventually won 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

Asked whether she was annoyed that Henin- Hardenne had become involved in the line call, Clijsters said she did not want to enter into such a debate. "I'm not going to get into things like that. I don't want to start any trouble or anything," she said. "You know, things happen . . . so I don't really want to get into too much."

What Clijsters would say is that she believed the shot was a winner.

"You feel things when they come off the racquet," she said. "I've been playing for 12 years. Now, as soon as I hit the ball, I probably know if it's going in or out.

"I definitely had the feeling it was good but nothing I can do about it now."

Henin-Hardenne said the decision was crucial but was "pretty sure" the umpire got it right.

"It was important because it was a break," she said. "And I needed to take one game in this point after losing three games in a row. The umpire took her responsibilities and I think it was a very tough call, but I think it was just long."Umpire in line of fire after crucial call cruels Clijsters

By Karen Lyon
February 1, 2004
The Sun-Herald

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Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters at the net after the match. Photo: Ray Kennedy

A disappointed Kim Clijsters said she was not prepared to blame a controversial line call late in the third set for her loss to Justine Henin-Hardenne in the final of the Australian Open yesterday.

Clijsters was clearly upset with the call, which gave Henin-Hardenne the decisive break in the final set and allowed the top seed to serve for the title. At the time, the No.2 seed questioned the overruling by chair umpire Sandra De Jenken and later said the call had helped turn the tide of the final.

It was the third time in less than 12 months the 20-year-old has lost a grand slam final to her compatriot.

Afterwards Clijsters did not want the overruling to be seen as her excuse for losing the match. "I'm not the type of player that's gonna start complaining after matches," she said. "That's something at the moment [that is] very disappointing, I think.

"A few people have told me that it was in. So that's even more disappointing then. But I'm not going to blame the umpire or anything because everyone makes mistakes. But of course it's disappointing."

Late in the third set, the momentum was once more on the move when Clijsters grabbed the ascendancy. She had broken the serve of Henin-Hardenne twice to recover the two early breaks she had conceded and, at 40-30, appeared poised to level the set at 4-all.

Yet she squandered two game points, double-faulting on both occasions. When Clijsters pushed a backhand volley wide, Henin- Hardenne had the critical break point.

Clijsters and most of the crowd, which had thrown its support behind her, believed she had saved the break point when her drive forehand volley appeared to hit the baseline and skid away from Henin-Hardenne.

The No.1 seed immediately looked at the line judge, pointed to the offending line and appeared to tell the judge the ball was out.

It was then that De Jenken overruled the call and awarded the game to Henin-Hardenne. While Clijsters questioned the overruling, the crowd began to jeer the decision and continued while Henin-Hardenne prepared to serve for the match, which she eventually won 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

Asked whether she was annoyed that Henin- Hardenne had become involved in the line call, Clijsters said she did not want to enter into such a debate. "I'm not going to get into things like that. I don't want to start any trouble or anything," she said. "You know, things happen . . . so I don't really want to get into too much."

What Clijsters would say is that she believed the shot was a winner.

"You feel things when they come off the racquet," she said. "I've been playing for 12 years. Now, as soon as I hit the ball, I probably know if it's going in or out.

"I definitely had the feeling it was good but nothing I can do about it now."

Henin-Hardenne said the decision was crucial but was "pretty sure" the umpire got it right.

"It was important because it was a break," she said. "And I needed to take one game in this point after losing three games in a row. The umpire took her responsibilities and I think it was a very tough call, but I think it was just long."