|10-10-2013 06:45 PM
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Sore wrist won't keep Hewitt from Vienna open
Lleyton Hewitt will delay a formal assessment on his sore wrist until he returns to Australia at the end of the season, having left Shanghai for next week's tournament in Vienna as planned.
The 54th-ranked Hewitt, a wildcard entry who lost to Italian Andreas Seppi in the first round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters, complained later of a wrist ''niggle'' that had affected him for several weeks. He has recently overcome a career-threatening toe injury.
''He has been having some treatment on his wrist and if it remains an issue shall have it looked at further when he returns to Australia later in the year,'' Hewitt's manager, David Drysdale, said. ''No real formal assessment will be made until he comes back to Australia.''
With no commitments at this stage after the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, Hewitt's next focus will be on the local circuit in January, when he is scheduled to contest the Brisbane International, then return to the AAMI Classic exhibition at Kooyong to complete his Australian Open preparation.
Hewitt lost to Janko Tipsarevic in the opening round at Melbourne Park in 2013. The 32-year-old has compiled a 17-8 match record since June, reaching the Newport final for the second consecutive year, the semi-finals in Atlanta, and the last 16 at the US Open, having upset sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro in the second round. He has more than halved his ranking since January, and could yet achieve his first top-60 finish in three years.
|10-08-2013 11:01 AM
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
LLEYTON Hewitt revealed he is struggling with a wrist injury after being bundled out in the first round of the Shanghai Masters on Tuesday night.
Wildcard Hewitt crashed out in straight sets against Italy’s Andreas Seppi 6-4 6-2, having led 3-0 in the first set.
The defeat put an end to hopes of a second-round clash against Roger Federer, who had earlier revealed that he and Hewitt had grown particularly close since last year.
Asked what his next move would be after the defeat at the Qizhong Tennis Centre, Hewitt replied: "I’m not sure. I’m meant to play Vienna next week.
"I’ve just had a bit of a niggle in my wrist the last two weeks. I’m going to get that assessed and make a decision from there.”
Hewitt added that he does not know the extent of the damage.
"Not really, no, [I] haven't had any scans or anything, but I’ve been feeling it the last two weeks.”
Hewitt, 32, was frustrated by Seppi’s monster serve.
"He hardly missed a ball after the first three games,” Hewitt said. "I had chances to go up 4 Love. From then on, he played really well.
"He served better than I’ve seen him serve before. He hit his spots.
"That’s sometimes his weaker side, his serve and especially his second serve.
"He actually got a high percentage of first serves in. On that kind of court out there, it’s the perfect kind of court for him.
"I served in patches. Probably when I was down breakpoints and stuff, I didn’t get enough first serves in.
"He’s such a tough player to play when the ball is on his terms.”
The Australian will now focus on rehabilitating his injury before preparing for first Grand Slam event of 2014 in Melbourne.
"Obviously for me the next focus is the Australian Open and then the Davis Cup tie against France straight after that,” he said.
"They’re the two main focuses. That’s the priority.”
Federer, meanwhile, would be disappointed to miss a showdown with his good friend.
"I've been practicing a lot with Lleyton lately,” Federer said on Monday.
"Ever since the Olympics, for some reason, we practiced there, we practiced here last year.
"We’ve been practicing all around a little bit. We never used to really practice together back in the day.
"It doesn’t happen so much that you practice with a guy close in the rankings. It’s just something that tends to be that way.
"We had a great practice for three hours, three and a half hours at the US Open where we really pushed each other. We had a super fun practice.
"I think we both would look forward to that kind of a match.
Just looking back on how we used to play against each other, you forget how.
"Then you play two points, ‘Oh, that’s exactly how it was’.
"It’s actually a lot of fun. I was really happy for him when he beat [Juan Martin] Del Potro at the US Open, even though you know I like Juan Martin a lot.
"I’ve had an exhibition tour with him in Buenos Aires. We’re very close.
"But Lleyton, he’s been going through a lot. To see him being healthy again, happy, family man, all these things, it’s inspiring for me to see him working hard, enjoying the game, still being around.
"Many of the our generation of players have retired again, like [David] Nalbandian.”
* The writer is a guest of the Shanghai Rolex Masters and the ATP World
|09-04-2013 07:13 PM
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Hewitt grit a cup boost
Lleyton Hewitt's next stop: Warsaw, via Munich, for Australia's Davis Cup qualifying tie against Poland. His next challenge: to recover, physically, mentally and emotionally from a devastating five-set loss to Mikhail Youzhny in the fourth round of the US Open. His upside: renewed locker-room respect for the next grand slam, January's Australian Open.
What would have been Hewitt's first major quarter-final since the 2009 Wimbledon ended with a heartbreaking 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 7-5 loss to the Russian 21st seed on Tuesday. After a flat start, Hewitt had led by two sets to one, 4-1 in the fourth, and 5-2 in the fifth. But after almost four hours, at the end of his best run at Flushing Meadows since 2006, an exhausted Hewitt fell just short of an eighth quarter-final at the major where he has performed best.
The strong suspicion had to be that it would have all ended horribly against top seed Novak Djokovic, who destroyed Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-0, 6-0. Tiny consolation, though, if any. Pre-tournament, Hewitt would gladly have taken a round-of-16 opportunity against Youzhny, whom he led 5-1 in career matches. In his previous life as the world No. 1 for 80 weeks, the 32-year-old would also have taken some of the chances he failed to convert.
''It's obviously disappointing to lose, but I left it all out there. There's not a whole heap more I could have done,'' Hewitt said before being asked whether the mental aspect of closing out matches gets harder with age. ''Yes and no. When you're young you do anything to be in that position sometimes. It's tougher as well to close it out because you have never been there before. Yeah, it's one of the hardest games to win. It's the last one.''
But this will not be the last time, for Hewitt intends to play a full schedule in 2014, and then reassess. Until then, Australia needs him, still, in a Davis Cup tie on his least favourite surface: clay. Doubles with Chris Guccione is certain. So is at least one singles rubber, against Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz, who hurt his back two days before the US Open, or Lukasz Kubot. Who, what and when is still to be determined. ''Obviously they chose clay, but I don't think it's their best surface, either,'' said Hewitt, excluding Kubot from the Polish generalisation. ''It's going to be interesting. They've got a good doubles team. Obviously Janowicz is a quality player. I'm sure he's going to play, though, because if he was that injured he wouldn't have played doubles here. It was one of the silliest things I've seen. I will be focusing on what we have to do and we have to try to win three matches.''
For Hewitt, it was probably a relief to be talking about something other than the match he had just played. His second-round defeat of sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro was the highlight of a clock-rewinding major that vindicated his resolute return after multiple injuries and operations, then the struggle to simply get back to somewhere close to his best form. It has been a dozen years since he won the US Open. For the father-of-three, much has changed.
''Back then, the way that I moved obviously on the court was pretty good, obviously the way I counter-punched,'' Hewitt said, when asked about the differences. ''The game is always changing, as well, the whole time. I've played through a couple of different generations … you're always trying to work on certain areas of your game. There's a lot bigger, stronger guys obviously dictating play with their serve and forehand out there - one-two tennis.''
Cup coach Josh Eagle hopes Hewitt can quickly move on from Tuesday's disappointment, which he described as ''a hell of an effort'', despite the result, and what had been invested, and the reminder that courage, desperation and the willingness to run down that extra ball do not always compensate for the lack of a killer weapon.
''Lleyton's played some matches here, big matches, in a Davis Cup-type environment, so that should hold him in good stead,'' Eagle said. ''He'll be bitterly disappointed, but he's still got to take a lot of positives out of it; that now that he's 100 per cent fit and healthy, it's not unrealistic to make quarters and semis of a slam if the draw is favourable.
''Also, he's still got a lot to offer to our Australian players. You would like to hope that every one of our players, juniors - and not even just tennis players but athletes - are watching what he puts himself through. He's got to inspire them, because his effort is just amazing, given that he was out on his feet there at the end of that fourth set. To go down a break in the fifth and then put himself in that position, it's a great effort.
''He'll take enormous self-belief out of here. A lot of the players will have respected his effort and they'll be a lot more wary about playing him in the bigger matches. In the slams he gives himself a chance against nearly everyone. We've seen that. Obviously it's a big ask to beat the likes of a [Rafael] Nadal and Djokovic - but against everyone else in the draw, he's a big chance.''
|09-02-2013 03:52 AM
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
I love this article...
"You have an atmosphere like we had on that court tonight. The noise is unbelievable. It's obviously a massive adrenalin buzz with 25,000-odd people.
"Sometimes you wish you had more time to soak it all up because it's just an awesome feeling at the time, but it goes pretty fast. You have to keep yourself present. Stay in the moment. Worry about the next point, the next point and the point after that.
"You look up at that grandstand and the place is going berserk. You're just trying to suck up every second of it. But then it's all over and everyone's gone home by now, and it's all pretty quiet."
The bright lights of a Friday night in New York City. Hewitt was phenomenal. He was gone for all money. But he won.
Digital Pass $1 for first 28 Days
This is inspirational stuff. Twelve long years after he won the US Open, and two years after being told by doctors he should quit, Hewitt's 6-4 5-7 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 win over Argentina's towering inferno had New Yorkers howling at the moon.
Now Hewitt was walking back to the locker room. The man was spent. He saw a poster of Jimmy Connors, circa 1991, when the 39-year-old American rode his ballistic levels of adrenalin to the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows.
Fancy doing the same, old boy?
"Look at him," Hewitt grinned.
"He went all right. I don't know if I'll be doing it when I'm that old, but absolutely I get inspired by things like that. By players like him. You love having a crack and obviously the older you get, the smaller the window is to get the opportunity. You try to take it with both hands when it pops up.
"As soon as I saw we were playing on Ashe, I didn't take that for granted because you never know if you'll be out there again. "This place means a lot to me. I won my first major on that court so to be back here again -- people don't see the real story. Only my team and my family know what we've been through to make a night like this possible.
"We know the hard yards we've done behind the scenes to get there, all the things other people don't see. If I went down, I was going to go down swinging, so I kept coming at him all night.
"I just had to keep fighting and putting it to him. I was pumped to be out there against a quality player I really respect. I'll remember this one."
As will John McEnroe.
"This is what Lleyton Hewitt lives for," he said.
"This is why he's going to be in the Hall of Fame. He's still showing us what he's got in the tank. It's a testament to the man. He's in my top top five of what I call effort players. The guys who fight more than anyone we've ever seen.
"I'd have Rafael Nadal, Jimmy Connors and Lleyton Hewitt, then Michael Chang and David Ferrer, in that top five. It's incredible what Hewitt is doing. It was slipping way.
"You can choke even harder when you're older because it might be the last chance you'll ever get. To be doing this after five surgeries, come on. He drives other guys insane. He scrambles well. Phenomenal career."
Hewitt, 32, hobbled to the entrance of the locker room.
"You reflect on it all with your team after the match and to be honest, I had to pinch myself a bit when I went in," he said.
Forget that it was only a second-round match. The message was in the back story. The tale of what can happen when a bloke refuses to quit.
His next assignment is scheduled to be this morning (AEST) against Russian qualifier Evgeny Donskoy.
He spoke of staying in a zone of concentration against del Potro. Of being almost surprised to learn the match really happened. His body creaked. The sweet exhaustion of it all. Going at full physical throttle for four hours, coupled with a full emotional investment, had taken a toll.
Two years ago, when Hewitt needed a reconstruction of the big toe of his left foot, six different doctors told him his career was over.
He sought a seventh opinion, and an eighth. He did the surgery, rolled the dice. A steel rod replaced cartilage. The toe does not move, not an inch. Hewitt does.
|09-01-2013 03:27 PM
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Greats agog after Hewitt pulls off yet another heist
Rafael Nadal watched most of Lleyton Hewitt's famous victory over Juan Martin del Potro, admiring his sometime golf partner's determination to continue, and still to excel, after so many operations and setbacks.
''I was happy for Lleyton,'' said Nadal. ''He's a great fighter after long time with a lot of injuries, [to] have the chance to be back. Still on the tour with motivation to keep playing, keep fighting, is something that I admire a lot [about] him.''
In the ESPN commentary box, the McEnroe brothers were on duty, and agreed on an observation made at the end of Hewitt's exceptional fourth-set tiebreak. Although the 32-year-old could not be considered a potential grand slam champion these days, they said, the clever, dogged, inspired effort against the sixth-seeded del Potro was evidence of why he once was.
A winner not once, indeed, but twice - here at the US Open in 2001 and at 2002 Wimbledon, before Roger Federer's reign began. Then came Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, who have shared 33 of the past 34 majors. But, those four aside, Hewitt is the only other man with his name on the US singles trophy to reach the third round at Flushing Meadows; in that respect, the man who spent 80 weeks at No.1 is in fine company, still.
His five-set win over del Potro, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 7-6, 6-1, was one of his finest wins since even Hewitt - who forgets so little - could remember. A practical answer, too, to those pesky, unwanted questions about why he is still playing, and when he will retire, etc.
Davis Cup coach Josh Eagle said: ''It must be hard if you're a player like that who's achieved so much early in their career and are then continually asked, 'When are you going to stop, when are you going to move on?'
''But all the indications that I'm getting are that he's absolutely set on playing a full schedule next year, and just the fact that his body's healthy and he's able to train … he loves that part of it, he loves training, he trains as hard as anyone, and he just loves the game. So if that's the case, why walk away when you've still got results and wins like that in you?''
And while he remains, too, an unteachable example of how to compete. Early in the del Potro match, one of the best hopes of the new generation, Nick Kyrgios, tweeted ''The Hewitt legacy isn't finished yet''. On ESPN, McEnroe (John) said: ''Hopefully a lot of young tennis players watch that and learn something from Hewitt.''
Big weapons ain't everything, clearly, when a well-executed game plan meets what the American great described as ''a pit bull-like effort''. Something to note for Bernard Tomic (an insipid second-round loser) and Marinko Matosevic (yet to win a singles match in 11 slams).
Interesting, too, was that when Hewitt was asked whether, as the only one of nine Australian singles starters to have reached the third round, there was any sense of deja vu or an extra buzz about still being the flag-carrier, he raised the subject of Tomic's stumble against qualifier Dan Evans in the second round. ''Bernie, would have been nice if he won yesterday. He had a winnable section, I think, for him to do some damage there.''
Many believe that Tomic lacks a sense of urgency. Hewitt, though, has always been in a hurry - often with that intense gleam in his eye, and a variety of impatient idiosyncrasies - even as he tries to delay the inevitable end. He still craves a contest, and adores the chance to call upon the warrior within - on the big courts, especially, and against the current elite, above all.
So, can the former No.1 prove the McEnroes wrong and channel his inner Goran Ivanisevic, the impossible Wimbledon champion of 2001? Unlikely. ''Given the state of men's tennis, it's probably a bit unrealistic at this stage of his career,'' Eagle said. ''But Lleyton never ceases to amaze me how he can continue to find something when you think he's down and out.''
|08-26-2013 07:34 AM
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Lleyton Hewitt's major plan to play on
Lleyton Hewitt did not imagine when he was crowned world No.1 at the age of just 20 that he would still be going a dozen years later, but nor does he play for the same reasons he once did. Hewitt intends to continue on for an 18th lap of the circuit in 2014, after ending his grand slam season where he won his first major title, back in 2001.
Hewitt will open his 13th US Open campaign against American qualifier Brian Baker, as a father-of-three now ranked 66th, but considered by John Newcombe to be capable of a top-20 return. Regardless, Hewitt's lack of interest in computer points is one shared with his contemporary, current No. 7 Roger Federer, who recently used Hewitt as "a great example... [because] whether he’s 170th, 20th or fifth, his ranking isn’t important to him. He just takes a lot of pleasure in playing.”
Hewitt has fallen further than Federer, but what drives him is indeed similar.
"The ranking doesn't bother me whatsoever. It's more about having good results and playing well," he told Fairfax Media, reiterating his disappointment at following a string of good grasscourt results at Queen's Club and then a first round defeat of world No.10 seed Stan Wawrinka at Wimbledon with a surprise loss to 189th-ranked Dustin Brown.
"I still get really motivated for the majors, and that's the main part that still drives me; why I'm still playing the game are Davis Cup and the majors. So sometimes it's a little bit harder to get up for the smaller tournaments, especially when you're a few weeks or a couple of months out from one of the majors. But all in all I still enjoy training and doing all the hard work, and if I didn't enjoy that, or found it too hard or whatever, then I wouldn't still be playing."
His body feels fine after multiple surgeries, he insists, and his desire remains fuelled by an ambition to help Australia back into the Davis Cup world group for the first time since 2007. One of the former No.1s honoured at a dinner in New York on Friday night to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of the ATP rankings system, Hewitt is not smelling the roses so much as surprised to still be competing past his bloom-by date.
"I never thought I'd be playing over 30, that's for sure, but things change, I guess, and my priorities for playing now are totally different to what they were when I was 19, 20, 21 years old," Hewitt said. "I still feel like I missed a lot of time, though, the last three, four, five years in terms of surgeries and what I had to go through just to get on the court and try and compete at all. In terms of that, I still feel like I've got stuff to give."
In a representative sense, he certainly does, and although it seems unlikely he will play on all three days of a Davis Cup tie in future, Hewitt remains the doubles anchor, and an experienced warrior captain Pat Rafter can call-up for reverse singles duty on a live final day. After the US Open, he will join the squad's Munich training camp ahead of next month's qualifying tie against Poland, booked for an indoor claycourt in Warsaw.
"It sort of depends how we think the match-ups will be," said Hewitt, when asked whether he could play three times.
"It's a lot harder to do on clay than grass or hardcourt, though, so that's going to be the toughest part ... That's something that we'll talk about, and make that decision closer to the tie."
Newcombe, the former Davis Cup captain, supports Hewitt's decision to play on, despite the second of his stints at No.1 having ended a decade ago.
"I understand Lleyton's point of view is 'well, I went through all the operations, and I went through all the hard work, so why would I stop now?' He's 32, but he's really only about 28 in tennis years, because he's missed so much time playing," says Newcombe.
"So Lleyton's fine when he's playing in a big match; it's just he's getting too nervous when he's playing people he should be beating, a la Wimbledon: he played great against Wawrinka and went out against Dustin Brown - who played out of his head - but Lleyton tightened up and allowed Brown to get away with stuff. If he can overcome that and stay healthy, he's going to be back in the top 20, because he's playing against, and matching, guys who are."
|08-16-2013 07:06 PM
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Rare view from top of world
Pat Rafter stayed for just a week, as, symbolically, the owner of the shabbiest house in the best street. John Newcombe spent eight weeks in the penthouse in his career twilight, when six of his seven grand slam singles trophies were already in the cabinet. For Lleyton Hewitt, it was a remarkably tenacious 80-week residence, as one of the great competitors of his time, or any other. A small club, but an exclusive one.
Among 25 modern tennis greats, most of whom will gather for an anniversary function at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel next Friday, just three Australian men have held the No.1 ranking in the 40 years since the ATP's computerised rankings system began. Of that trio, only Hewitt (twice) is among the 16 kings to reign at season's end, and the 32-year-old remains the youngest to reach the summit, when still four months short of his 21st birthday.
The first No.1, from anywhere, was Ilie Nastase; the latest Novak Djokovic. Marcelo Rios was the only top dog never to win a major title; the longest-serving, Roger Federer, also owns the most, 17. And Rafter, in his typically self-effacing fashion, offers a candid self-assessment of where the Queenslander believes he rates.
'I feel better when they say dual grand slam champion than No.1,'' admits officially the ATP's shortest-ruling monarch, crowned on July 26, 1999. ''It's a funny one. I know I was up there, but it was such a short period of time, and I guess when you're the worst of a select group … ''
Is that how he sees himself? ''Sometimes!'' he laughs. ''I look at it as a really fun thing. When you look back on it now and you say 'former No.1', it's a little embarrassing, because you were only there one week, and they have a bit of a laugh, but I always say 'it's what it is', and I was probably the worst of the lot of 'em.'' Well, the briefest, anyway, for by the time Rafter was presented with his world No.1 trophy from Newcombe at the subsequent Davis Cup tie in Boston, he was already back at No.2 again.
Hewitt, though, stayed and stayed, lasting 75 weeks in his first stint, and five more in the second, having completed his initial ascent by beating his mate Rafter in the last of the round-robin matches at the season-ending 2001 Tennis Masters Cup in Sydney. It was all so special, Hewitt recalls, during a rare phone interview with Fairfax Media: he was still so young, playing against his friend, in Australia, to complete the grand slam/Davis Cup/No.1 trifecta, just like he had dreamed.
'Obviously, you look back now and you realise how big an achievement it was, and something that you can be pretty proud of, but at the time you take it for granted a little bit more, I think - purely because it happened so quickly on the tour, and I'd already won a Davis Cup and obviously won the US Open a couple of months before. So you don't realise how big an achievement it is until later on in your career, I guess,'' says Hewitt.
And if the tenacious South Australian believes that backing-up again in 2002 after a difficult start to the season ruined by chickenpox was an even tougher task, what of the 80 weeks overall? Does he feel, in hindsight, that the magnitude of the feat has been slightly underplayed? ''I don't know. When you're actually at the top it feels like it goes pretty quick, I guess,'' he said.
''So when I sit back now and see where I am in the order, in terms of all the players that have spent so much time at world No.1, and you look back at some of the other great players, and they only spent a few weeks or a couple of months here and there at No.1, and for me to have held it for 80-odd weeks is an amazing achievement and something you don't dream of growing up. I feel fortunate that I was in that position and able to do it. Also playing against a generation that I grew up idolising in terms of [Andre] Agassi and [Pete] Sampras as well; being able to do it while they were still playing and still competing and winning grand slams.''
Hewitt will be among the proud guests of honour at the 40th anniversary cocktail function, not least because it is among the initiatives driven by former ATP chief executive Brad Drewett, the much-loved Australian administrator and former tour player who died in May from motor neurone disease. To Drewett, the founder of the ATP's Heritage program, the rankings system was ''a true measure of excellence and consistency, and a means through which greatness is ultimately defined''. Before August 23, 1973, there were multiple, fragmented lists, but no objective, definitive way of determining who could gain entry to what event, when.
''It was the best thing that could have happened to tennis, because it put everyone in their place: where they are, why you should get into a tournament, or why not get into a tournament,'' says Newcombe, crowned after Nastase's stint ended in 1974. ''It clearly defined where everyone sat: whether you're player No.99 or player No.1.''
The ''lead'' has changed 91 times, the first handover coming when Nastase surrendered the baton to the moustachioed Australian master. The previous year, about a month before the rankings were launched, Newcombe had been considering retirement. He was playing Davis Cup again after an absence, but had scaled back his tournament schedule, and after a long talk with his wife Angie, decided to play on for another nine months. He thought.
''I wasn't even thinking of being No.1 in the world; I'd really just set myself two goals [to win the 1973 US Open and 1974 WCT finals], but I won most of the tournaments I played in, and so when I put my head up, I was No.1,'' said Newcombe, who had been the unofficial top dog in several previous seasons, as, before him, were such celebrated countrymen as Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall.
''It was a great honour but, to tell you the truth, I was always more about just setting my own goals … and at that time we had three kids, and I was trying to be a father, a husband, and the best tennis player I could be, and I was getting near the end of my career, and it was hard to just devote myself totally to being the best you could possibly be, there were other things in my life. So when I became No.1, I looked up and said 'oh, I'm No.1, that's great'.''
Rafter was similarly honoured to get there, but also admits his greater childhood ambitions were of grand slam and Davis Cup success. He won the 1997-98 US Open titles but, crushingly, failed to get his name etched on the Davis Cup trophy. ''They were my dream, and top 10 and No.1 sort of come hand-in-hand with those things,'' he recalls. ''Being No.1, though, I really didn't have any real expectation, if that's the right word, of getting there. So to actually get there was really special because it was so far out of reach.''
How did he celebrate? ''I can't really remember! We probably had a few drinks, had a bit of a laugh,'' said Rafter, who was on a week's sabbatical at his Bermuda base when a Sampras loss in Los Angeles saw important points drop off and the Australian's name click over into top spot. The trophy is now ''in my special cabinetry, where my big trophies and things are. It's with the US Open trophies and a couple of bloody plates''. You mean, um, the silverware of the beaten Wimbledon finalist? ''Yeah,'' he laughs, ''and a couple of runner-up Davis Cups''.
Rafter will not be in New York this week, but at home with his family on the Sunshine Coast, before heading to Munich for the Davis Cup camp ahead of next month's Davis Cup world group qualifying tie against Poland in Warsaw. But Newcombe will make the long trip to be a part of it, and also, like Hewitt, who is preparing for his 13th US Open, to honour their friend Drewett's legacy.
''It's a long way from Sydney for one night, but the photo of everyone that's there will be a photo that I'll treasure,'' Newk says.
''There's not too many people of the thousands that have played over those years that can say 'well, I was ranked No.1', so it's a privilege, it's an honour, and especially as an innovation of Brad's, I really wanted to be there.''
So, too, Hewitt, who in recent years, and after struggling with multiple injuries, now has a greater appreciation of what his young self managed to achieve. ''Yeah, absolutely,'' says the world No.64. ''When you look at the other names of guys who have been there, it's pretty amazing. Most of the guys in the five or 10 years just before me are all the guys that I used to go to the Australian Open and idolise, so it's pretty amazing to be put alongside them.''
|08-15-2013 05:05 PM
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
ATP HERITAGE: LLEYTON HEWITT, 2001-02
On 23 August, ATP celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Emirates ATP Rankings. We continue our countdown with a look at Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001-02 year-end No. 1. #ATPHeritage
Lleyton Hewitt, a hard worker, outstanding defender and shot selector from Australia, remains the youngest man in history to rise to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
It happened, officially, on 19 November 2001, when he was aged 20 years, eight months.
A few days before Hewitt had beaten his hero, Patrick Rafter, in the round robin stage of the 2001 Tennis Masters Cup [now named Barclays ATP World Tour Finals] in Sydney to reach the summit of men's professional tennis and clinch the year-end No. 1.
Hewitt won his first ATP World Tour title as a 17 year old at Adelaide in January 1998. He had already won the Davis Cup in 1999 and also captured his first major at the 2001 US Open, with a flurry of winners past Pete Sampras.
"Growing up, the three things I wanted to do were win a Grand Slam, the Davis Cup and get to World No. 1," said Hewitt. "In the end, the World No. 1 was the last of the three.
"An even better achievement, I think, was the following year when I held the No. 1 ranking the whole year, and won the Tennis Masters Cup [in Shanghai] when No. 1 was up for grabs again."
In 2002, Hewitt beat David Nalbandian to become the first Australian to win at The Championships, Wimbledon, for 15 years. He finished runner-up at the 2004 US Open (l. to Federer) and 2005 Australian Open (l. to Safin).
The Adelaide native spent a total of 80 weeks at No. 1, before he lost the position to Andre Agassi on 16 June 2003. A winner of 28 singles titles, he is contesting his 17th year as a professional in 2013.
|07-24-2013 11:31 AM
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Hewitt wins Atlanta opener
Lleyton Hewitt has opened his campaign at the BB&T Atlanta Open in fine style, defeating Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin in straights sets on Tuesday.
The seventh seed posted a 6-4 6-4 victory, helped by a handy seven aces, hit first match on hard court in several months and coming after he recently reached the final at the ATP Newport event on grass.
“I hadn’t hit a lot on hard court. I’ve always found that coming from grass to hard court is difficult,” he said after beating Roger-Vasselin in 88 minutes.
“I feel like I’ve played very well for the most part … I’m preparing for the US Open. When you’ve been No.1 and won Slams, the big ones are what motivate you.”
Hewitt’s serve was on-song throughout the encounter, allowing him to save the only two break points he faced as well as win more than 80 per cent of points behind his first delivery.
The win sets up a second-round battle with American wildcard Rhyne Williams.
|07-15-2013 07:56 PM
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Russell denies 'racist' sledge against Hewitt
American Michael Russell has distanced himself from comments posted on his Facebook page labelling Lleyton Hewitt a ''racist'' and a ''douche bag'', for which Hewitt's agent, David Drysdale, will nevertheless seek clarification from the men's governing body, the ATP.
Russell subsequently blamed his publicist for ''apparently'' posting the remarks without his approval, the extraordinary sledge having followed Hewitt's 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 loss to Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in the final of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Rhode Island.
While Russell had been well beaten by Mahut in the semis, rain having condensed the final two rounds to a single, sweltering day, Hewitt was forced to play a draining three-set semi against two-time defending champion John Isner on Sunday morning, and then back up less than two hours later to chase his first title in more than three years.
While acknowledging Mahut's efforts, the Australian also said he had ''paid the price'' for his tougher draw. ''It's disappointing," he said, having failed to serve out the final at 5-4 in the second set.
''If I could've had a day off and come back and played the final, I reckon things would've been different.''
Russell's publicist was clearly unimpressed. ''Lleyton Hewitt - what a douche bag and a racist by the way too,'' the Facebook post said. ''How about you choked and stopped making excuses.''
When Russell returned to his hotel room, it was to a lively social media reaction, prompting an explanation on Twitter, as well as a repudiation on Facebook of what he described as ''a mess'' of someone else's making. ''Recent Facebook posts & comments were not approved by me as I am not the one managing my Facebook page!'' he tweeted.
Drysdale said: ''From our point of view it was surprising, very surprising, because Lleyton and Michael have always got on pretty well.
''Lleyton's first comment was, 'oh, someone else has written that', and he didn't seem too concerned by it. I don't think Lleyton felt it came from Michael, but that's the dangers of these Facebook pages and Twitter - if people aren't controlling them themselves, this is what can happen.
''So I don't think [Russell's] done it, but you would think that the ATP would look into it … to find out what's going on, and that's something I might take up with them. I think there should be some sort of official clarification.''
Drysdale confirmed that Hewitt's next goals were the lead-ups and the US Open and then a Davis Cup world group qualifying tie against Poland in September.
|06-27-2013 07:49 AM
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Greats urge Hewitt to play on
Australian tennis greats have backed Lleyton Hewitt to play on beyond this year despite suggesting his heartbreaking Wimbledon exit could make him contemplate retirement.
Hewitt's 15th successive Wimbledon campaign ended in a shock four-set defeat to flamboyant German qualifier Dustin Brown on Wednesday.
Seven-time grand slam winner John Newcombe described the loss as a
"body blow" for the veteran, who had been looking to take advantage of an encouraging return to form and fitness, and a draw blown wide open at the All England Club.
Hewitt remained coy on his future after the defeat, saying he hoped to return to the tournament in 2014 but was unsure.
Newcombe, now a tennis commentator, suggested during the loss 32-year-old Hewitt would have to think about whether he wanted to "keep coming out and doing this".
But he later predicted the world No.70 would by buoyed by his encouraging comeback from having career-threatening foot surgery last year.
Hewitt reached the Queen's Club semi-finals earlier this month before upsetting 11th seed Stanislas Wawrinka in the first round at Wimbledon.
"His point is he's gone through so much pain and trouble to be playing again, why would he want to stop now?" Newcombe said.
"I think as long as he's enjoying it, he'll keep going.
"I don't think one loss is going to make him say `I'm quitting'.
"He'll probably see how it goes throughout the US Open. He knows he can still beat a guy who's 11 in the world."
Doubles legend and Tennis Australia's head of professional tennis Todd Woodbridge suggested retirement could be legitimate option for Hewitt.
But he also tipped the 2002 Wimbledon champion to carry on.
"I think we internally know that he won't go away," Woodbridge told AAP.
"You do think about it as a player, though. I've been in those situations before because you know how hard you've got to work to stay up there.
"I would love to seem him keep going ... He's been through hell and back with his injuries and he's important for us and for our younger players coming through."
Hewitt said he planned to play most weeks in the lead-up to the US Open, starting in late August.
Asked whether he would return to Wimbledon next year, Hewitt said: "Yeah, hopefully. We'll see."
Pushed further on whether the defeat would make him weigh up his future, the former No.1 was also vague.
"I don't know. At the moment, I'm just disappointed. Have to see where we go," he said.
Journeyman Brown, who changed his nationality from Jamaican in 2010, delivered the performance of his life to reach the third round of a grand slam for the first time.
He played an entertaining, high-risk game, hitting 74 winners to Hewitt's 42.
Hewitt's former coach Darren Cahill suggested the result was more
reflective of Brown's performance rather than a decline in Hewitt's game.
"I've watched Lleyton play 100+ grass court matches and Dustin just gave us one of the cleverest and best performances vs him," Cahill tweeted.
The disappointment of the defeat for Hewitt was compounded by the shock exit of third seed Roger Federer and the injury withdrawal of 18th seed John Isner in the same quarter of the draw.
With Rafael Nadal also eliminated in the first round, it left Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, at 15th, as the highest seed in Hewitt's quarter of the draw.
|06-26-2013 05:06 PM
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Hewitt loses his way in Wimbledon boilover
Lleyton Hewitt admits he lost his way as his 15th straight Wimbledon campaign ended with a shock second-round loss to flamboyant German qualifier Dustin Brown on Wednesday.
The 32-year-old Australian blew his chance to capitalise on a wide-open draw as he followed up his first-round upset win over 11th seed Stanislas Wawrinka with a 6-4 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 loss to 189th-ranked Brown.
The defeat leaves Bernard Tomic as the only Australian left in the men's singles draw.
Journeyman Brown, a 28-year-old who spent five years driving around Europe in a campervan trying to establish his career, delivered the performance of his life as he reached the third round of a grand slam for the first time.
Sporting long, dreadlocked hair, the German - who changed his nationality from Jamaican in 2010 - played an entertaining, high-risk game with his big serve, booming forehand and freakish half-volleys denying Hewitt a chance to build any rhythm.
"It's tough. You don't know what's going to happen next," Hewitt said of playing the unpredictable Brown.
"You have to concentrate on your game, block that out as much as possible.
"You lose your rhythm a bit out there.
"Then I started pushing on my serve a little bit too much to try to get a cheap point. I just lost my way a little bit."
Australian tennis great John Newcombe described the loss as a "body blow" for the veteran, while Todd Woodbridge said it would prompt the world No.70 to think seriously about playing on.
Hewitt was coy when asked about his future but could not guarantee he would return for a 16th campaign at the All England Club, where his is the 2002 champion.
"Yeah, hopefully. We'll see," he said.
"At the moment I'm just disappointed. Have to see where we go."
The pain of Hewitt's loss was compounded by the fact the draw had opened up further for him to make a run deep into the tournament.
Following Rafael Nadal's shock first-round exit, American 18th seed John Isner was forced to withdraw with a knee injury on Wednesday, handing Frenchman Adrian Mannarino a free passage into a third-round meeting with Brown.
After struggling early, Hewitt looked to finally be grinding his opponent down before Brown broke serve at 5-4 to steal the set, celebrating wildly with his arms raised.
The Australian tried to pump himself up after breaking serve in the opening game of the second set but Brown hit back soon after and a poor service game from Hewitt allowed the qualifier to go two sets up.
Hewitt won six straight points in in the third tie-breaking, extending the match to a fourth set.
But Brown quickly wrestled the momentum back, breaking twice in the final set en-route to an emotional victory.
|06-25-2013 10:38 AM
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Hewitt upsets Wawrinka in Wimbledon opener
Lleyton Hewitt opened his 15th consecutive Wimbledon campaign with a brilliant upset win over Swiss 11th seed Stanislas Wawrinka before ranking the victory among the best in his career.
The 32-year-old Australian, a 2002 champion at the All England Club, rolled back the years to reach the second round with a 6-4 7-5 6-3 triumph on Monday.
It was the only Australian victory in singles on the opening day after Marinko Matosevic and Matt Reid lost their first-round matches.
In a match that finished in fading light in front of a vocal group of Australian fans on Court One, an emotional Hewitt dropped to his knees in celebration.
"People ask me when I'm going to retire. Why would I retire when I can play in an atmosphere like that?," Hewitt said after the match.
Asked where the win ranked in his career Hewitt said: "it's definitely up there.
"The last two years I've come here and I've competed but last year I don't think I was even close to 50 per cent physically.
"So yeah, you just enjoy the moment."
The former world No.1, now ranked 70th, underwent radical toe surgery in 2012 to save his career and revealed several surgeons told him he would never play again.
"There were probably five, six, seven that I spoke to worldwide. They said if I had it done, you're done," Hewitt said.
"In all my research beforehand, which was very extensive, I never found another athlete that had it done, or had it done and tried to come back and play any kind of sport.
"It's something I'm pretty proud of as well."
Hewitt will next face German Dustin Brown, who defeated Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3 6-3 6-3.
Hewitt is not getting ahead of himself despite his section of the draw opening up significantly, with his potential fourth-round opponent Rafael Nadal suffering a shock loss to Steve Darcis just moments earlier on the same court.
"I was a little bit surprised," Hewitt said.
"... I'll take it one match at a time."
Buoyed by his surprise run to the Queen's Club semi-finals, Hewitt said he didn't feel like the underdog against Wawrinka, who'd been defeated by the eventual champions in both of this year's grand slams.
And he didn't look it either as he blew his opponent off the court early in racing to a 4-0 first-set lead.
Wawrinka battled back but Hewitt held on to serve it out on his fourth set point when up 5-4.
Hewitt fought back from a break down to claim the second set, broke early in the third set and producing some scintillating tennis to fight off a desperate Wawrinka and seal the win.
|06-23-2013 06:54 AM
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Hewitt heads Aussie charge at Wimbledon
He's gunning for a significant opening-day scalp at Wimbledon but Lleyton Hewitt doesn't feel like an underdog.
Buoyed by his recent form and stellar record at the All England Club, where he is the 2002 champion, the world No.70 holds no fear heading into Monday's clash with Swiss 11th seed Stanislas Wawrinka.
"I put enough pressure on myself to perform so I'm not really feeling like the underdog going out there too much," Hewitt said.
"It's more just me against him and the better man will win. On grass, I still feel pretty confident against most guys."
Not that Hewitt is underestimating Wawrinka, who has taken his game to a new level in 2013.
The Swiss comes into the event on the back of an excellent claycourt season and he's quickly found his feet on grass, reaching the final at 's-Hertogenbosch before losing to Nicolas Mahut on Saturday.
Wawrinka has lost to the eventual champion in both grand slams this year, pushing Novak Djokovic to the brink at the Australian Open when he lost the final set 12-10 before falling to Rafael Nadal in the French Open quarter-finals.
He holds a 2-1 advantage in head-to-head with Hewitt, prevailing in a five-set Davis Cup classic on grass in Sydney two years ago.
"It's not going to be easy. He's obviously playing extremely well at the moment," said Hewitt, who reached the semi-finals at Queen's Club last week.
"But if I can get through that one, obviously I take his spot in the draw.
"I'm hitting the ball pretty well at the moment. Everything in practice, how I went at Queen's, it's all going pretty well."
The winner of the clash would face either Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez or German Dustin Brown in the second round, though both Nadal and Roger Federer are lurking in the same quarter of the draw.
Hewitt is one of three Australians involved on Monday's opening day.
Marinko Matosevic chases his first win at a grand slam on his 10th attempt against Frenchman Guillaume Rufin.
Qualifier Matt Reid makes his grand slam debut against Czech veteran Radek Stepanek.
A six-strong men's contingent is Australia's biggest in a decade and Hewitt hopes it can be the start of a resurgence.
"It'd be nice to have some more guys in there but we still want to have guys in the top 10, 20, 25, pushing for the majors, not just making up the numbers," Hewitt said.
"But it's definitely a start."
Australia's sole women's representative, Samantha Stosur, begins her campaign on Tuesday, along with Bernard Tomic, James Duckworth and Matt Ebden.
|06-22-2013 04:12 PM
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Tony Roche backs Lleyton Hewitt to overcome daunting Wimbledon draw
MASTER coach Tony Roche has backed Lleyton Hewitt to overcome another daunting grand slam draw after the Australian veteran outshone Roger Federer in a high-class Wimbledon practice match.
Hewitt edged out reigning champion Federer as the former world No.1 pair grooved groundstrokes ahead of tomorrow's start to the 127th Championships.
Unseeded Hewitt will have Federer's compatriot Stan Wawrinka in his sights tomorrow after drawing the silky 11th seed in what looms as a fabulous contest.
Wawrinka beat Hewitt in a five-set Davis Cup classic in Sydney two years ago and the duo is in top form, with Hewitt's march to the Queen's semi-final followed by Wawrinka's advance to the 's-Hertogenbosch final.
Roche believes Hewitt has the form to upstage Wawrinka.
"It's obviously a tough match. It would have been nice to have got someone easier, but that's the way it goes,'' Roche said
"He had a good week at Queen's, he's hitting the ball well and obviously there's more pressure on Stan than Lleyton.
"We'll see what happens.''
Hewitt's practice form in London has been stunning, shading fellow grand slam champions Andy Murray, Federer and Juan Martin del Potro in matches.
But the 2002 All England Club champion's tendency to be more conservative in matches has cost him and Roche will urge an aggressive approach to Wawrinka.
"If he (Hewitt) goes in with that frame of mind, he's going to be tough to beat,'' Roche said.
Hewitt's ranking of 70th means he is vulnerable to bad draws, but he seems to cop more than most.
His first-round assignments over the past year have included Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Wimbledon), Gilles Simon (French Open), Janko Tipsarevic (Australian) and now Wawrinka.
"Here at Wimbledon, there are some guys that would have been nice to play first round but that's the way it goes when you're not seeded,'' Roche said.
"You've got to take what comes.''
Hewitt will be joined in battle by occasional practice partner Matt Reid, who is making his grand slam singles debut.
The Sydneysider faces Czech Radek Stepanek after surviving qualifying.
"I'm really excited, the night I won (third-round qualifying), I slept maybe two hours and I couldn't stop thinking about it,'' he said.
"Now just getting ready to play, I'm settling down a little bit.''
A junior Wimbledon boys finalist with Bernard Tomic, Reid has taken huge strides this season after resolving off-court issues.
"I'm just been going along doing my thing with my coach Ben Mathias,'' Reid said.
"I've always had help from Lleyton and Tony.
"Just kind of believing in myself a bit more because I made my first challenger final this year.
"Just trying to dedicate myself more to tennis. I had off-court things going on _ now I've got rid of them.''