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Ausie 11-13-2012 07:57 AM

Rusty Articles and News 2013
Lleyton Hewitt has no intention of retiring in 2013

AUSTRALIAN tennis flagbearer Lleyton Hewitt has vowed to play a full schedule of tournaments next year.

Hewitt was even looking ahead to the 2014 Australian Open today as he confirmed he will again use Kooyong to tune up for Melbourne Park in January.

"I'm definitely playing all next year. And I can't see myself stopping at the Paris indoors (next November) with the Australian Open only a couple of months later," Hewitt said at an AAMI Classic lunch at Kooyong.

"Unless there was a major injury, and that could be anyone. But right at the moment this (2013) won't be my last.

"I guess when you bounce back from five surgeries in the last four years, mentally, I feel fresh and ready to go out there and compete."

Hewitt has already started training for the Australian Open where he lost this year to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in a tight fourth-round match.

The 31-year-old struggled through a Davis Cup tie against China in Geelong two weeks later before succumbing to delicate foot surgery that left his career in the balance.

"I didn't know how I would bounce back from the surgery. It was such major surgery that no other athlete has tried to come back and play competitive sport after it. So there were a lot of unknowns for me," Hewitt said.

"I feel like after Wimbledon and around the Olympics, I started to get more confident in my movement which is such a big part of my game.

"Towards the end of the year, I played some really good tennis and obviously knocked off a couple of top 30 players and it was good to beat Juan Monaco (world No.12) three weeks ago on a slow, indoor court that doesn't really suit me game.

"It gives me a lot of confidence that I can go out there and still match it with the best players in the world."

Hewitt said he felt mentally fresh after being forced to sit out such large slabs of the tour over the past couple of years.

"Fitness-wise last year (summer), I couldn't do a proper pre-season. I was having injections every second week just to try and get through any kind of training. There were a lot of unknowns how I was going to bounce back from that," he said.

"At the moment, I absolutely pain-free in the foot and I have got all the confidence back in my movement.

"I've already started off-court training and haven't felt a thing. Which is huge, because everyone knows how hard I like to train and push myself. I should be in pretty good shape.

"It's nice to get into the Australian Open off my own ranking because that frees up another wildcard for an up and coming Australian.

"Davis Cup and the Grand Slams are still the priority for me. The Australian Open and Wimbledon are the ones I love playing and mean the most to me. When I do finally stop, they're the two I would miss, for sure.

"But right at the moment I'm still hungry to go out there and do the hard work and I enjoy the training, I enjoy pushing myself.

Ausie 11-27-2012 12:48 PM

Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013

Lleyton Hewitt dabbles in a little acting before embarking on the comeback trail yet again

AUSSIE tennis veteran Lleyton Hewitt was doing it hard before embarking on another comeback to the big stage. But it wasn't playing on the courts at Melbourne Park. Rather, he was acting in a TV commercial as ambassador for Swisse health bars.
"It's sometimes more draining than playing," Hewitt said after hours of filming.

They couldn't have found a more appropriate envoy for the products than Hewitt. There's never been any question about his staying power.
Hewitt has set his sights on another Australian Open campaign, after moving his ranking back into the top 100 following a slide because of recent surgeries.
"I'm pretty positive and my body is feeling good," he said.

Hewitt, 31, will play in the Brisbane International for the first time and is looking forward to returning to a venue where he has tasted Davis Cup success.

His final stop before the Open will be the Kooyong Classic.

Hewitt said he and his family were based in the Bahamas to help prolong his career.
"Most of the tournaments I play are in the US or Europe and I can get home to the family on weeks on and off," he said.

His oldest daughter, Mia, is now in school and bilingual.

samoody101 11-27-2012 01:23 PM

Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
does anyone know when that video will be up

Ausie 12-08-2012 12:22 PM

Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
On his own form, Hewitt said he was in great shape after foot surgery earlier this year.

"It's hard coming back from surgeries to get your fitness back up to where it was," he said. "At the moment, I'm feeling as fit as I've felt in a long time and as strong as ever.

"That gives me a lot more confidence going out on the court."

Quashing rumours he will retire after next month's Australian Open, Hewitt added: "Unless I get a career-ending injury, which you never know, I'll be playing the whole year and I'll be back for the Australian Open (in 2014)."

Ausie 12-08-2012 05:00 PM

Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013

Lleyton's boy has a smashing time

AUSSIE tennis ace Lleyton Hewitt would like to see three-year-old son Cruz one day play among the world's elite - but would be happy if he hung up the racquet for Aussie rules instead. "Cruz loves tennis whereas my two daughters (Mia and Ava) follow more in Bec's footsteps," Hewitt said. "Cruz is out there with myself or my coach hitting balls all the time.

"He's played a little bit of AFL, which he loves as well ... while he's young it's good to play a sport like AFL to be in a team environment."
Hewitt said he is in top shape physically and mentally ahead of the Australian summer tennis schedule.

"At the moment I'm feeling as fit as I've felt in a long time and as strong as I've ever been," he said.

"That gives me a lot more confidence going out on the court, in the back of your mind knowing that you've done all the hard work."
Hewitt also revealed he had been in regular contact with tennis prodigy Bernard Tomic and while he thought the Queenslander had the potential to break into the world's top 10, said he agreed with Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter's decision to dump the 20-year old for the tie against Taiwan in February.

"There's no doubt he has exceptional talent, but he's got to use it in the right way and be positive with it," Hewitt told The Sunday Telegraph while launching the Cadbury Smash for Cash, which will see one lucky Aussie have a crack at returning his serve at the Australian Open and a chance at winning up to $50,000.

"As soon as you start focusing on something else your game falters, so it's really important to focus on what you need to do on the court and to get the best out of yourself."

Leaving his home base in the Bahamas to be in Sydney for Christmas and upcoming tennis tournaments, Hewitt mused on family life.
"Life couldn't be better," he said. "We love it over there."

Ausie 12-18-2012 08:25 AM

Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Hewitt still has desire and passion

Lleyton Hewitt is eyeing off up to two more years in tennis with grand slams and the return of Australia to Davis Cup's World Group the focus before winding down his career.

The former world No.1 will begin his summer at the Brisbane International starting December 30 as he tunes up for what will be his 17th consecutive Australian Open campaign.

But suggestions of this being a farewell year may be a little wide of the mark with the two-time grand slam winner saying he was keen on playing more majors and donning the green and gold in 2014 - the earliest Australia can return to the 16-team elite Davis Cup group.

"For me it's more about getting my body right for the grand slams and the most important tournaments are the Australian Open and Wimbledon," Hewitt, 31, said in Brisbane on Tuesday.

"The Davis Cup ... absolutely, it's one of the biggest goals for me.

"I'd love nothing more than to have a crack in 2014 if I get that opportunity.

"I'd love to play another world group tie before I finish my career.

"It would mean a lot to me and I know it would mean a lot for (Davis Cup captain) Pat (Rafter) as well and hopefully I can lead the boys into it."

Back on top physically following major foot surgery to save his career earlier this year, Hewitt's confidence may not be misplaced.

He's edged his ranking back up to No.83 after dropping out of the world's top 200 and while the glory days of going deep into the second week of a grand slam appear behind him he has enjoyed some encouraging performances in the last six months.

"I played exceptional at the Olympics, I was a couple of points away from beating (Novak) Djokovic on centre court at Wimbledon," Hewitt said.

"I finished the year off beating (Juan) Monaco who's in the top 10 in straight sets."

Hewitt came close to pulling the pin on his decorated career with his toe injury severely compromising his movement.

But radical surgery has given him a new lease of tennis life and belief he can plug away for more than another season.

"It makes a massive difference (not having a foot injury) because I don't have to worry about all the other things," he said after a sharp hit-up against rising Australian hopeful James Duckworth at the Brisbane Tennis Centre.

"I can just got out and compete. I'm enjoying the practise and being in the gym because I'm not in so much pain every day.

"The motivation is still there. I've done so much hard work to put myself back in a position to compete against the best guys out there again and hopefully I can do that in the next five or six weeks."

Ausie 12-19-2012 06:45 PM

Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Andy Murray in Lleyton Hewitt's crosshairs at Brisbane International

LLEYTON Hewitt wants a blockbuster Brisbane International showdown with world No.3 Andy Murray - the player he believes can claim more top honours now that he has shaken the Grand Slam monkey off his back.

Hewitt had predicted Murray's imminent breakthrough prior to the London Olympics and now that the Brit has netted that title and a thrilling US Open win, many believe more major triumphs are on the horizon.

World No.83 Hewitt has not played Murray since his one and only loss at San Jose in 2006 and would relish the opportunity to face one of the world's top four players to help prime him for another Australian Open assault.

"Murray is the main guy in the field again and you don't really want to come up against him first round, but it'd be nice to have a shot at him at some stage," Hewitt said at the Queensland Tennis Centre yesterday.

"I think it could really open the door for Murray to do well now (after winning the US Open). Once he got that first one off his back I think the pressure is really off him and he can go out there and play some good tennis.

"While Grand Slam success is all that is motivating Hewitt now, his record against the quartet of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Murray and Rafael Nadal suggests the Australian needs as much practice as he can get.

His win over Roger Federer in the final at Halle in 2010 is Hewitt's only success from 20 matches against the top-four in the past six years.

Hewitt predicted world No.6 Thomas Berdych and No.7 Juan Martin Del Potro to be the best challengers among the current top 10 for Grand Slam success next year, but added everyone faced a gigantic common hurdle.

"You probably have to beat at least two or three of those guys in a row to win a Grand Slam," Hewitt said.

"That is the toughest thing at the moment."

But for Hewitt, that prospect is more attainable now than in recent years after he finally overcame debilitating injuries that required five surgeries in the past four years.

He has completed a full summer training program, is moving more freely on the court and enters his first tournament in Brisbane on December 30 with a clear mindset.

"I feel younger than 12 months ago, I don't need injections every day to get out there and mentally that makes me feel a lot better," he said.

"Last year was really tough going in. I couldn't practice nearly as much as I wanted to and I couldn't do the off court work either, which was frustrating.

"This year so far it's been fantastic, the foot has held up extremely well and the rest of the body is holding up well.

"I'm enjoying practice and in the gym so much more because I'm not in pain every day.

"The motivation is still there and I've done so much hard work to put myself back in this kind of position to compete against the best guys out there and hopefully I can do it over the next four or five weeks."

Ausie 12-22-2012 04:27 PM

Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Lleyton Hewitt talks footy dreams and on-court rivalries ahead of the Brisbane International

A HANDFUL of doctors suggested Lleyton Hewitt should give tennis away after recent surgery but he is not a man easily shown the door. Hewitt kicks off his Australian Open warm-up in the Brisbane International next week. He spoke to Robert Craddock.

Ricky Ponting says he still dreams about running out for North Melbourne. Have you had similar ones about the Crows?

Yes. It's funny he said that. I've had times when I have dreamt that I have had discussions with (former Crows coach) Neil Craig about where I was playing ... and then you wake up. I love AFL.

We have all seen your on-court passion but some people say you are very quiet away from tennis. Who is the real Lleyton Hewitt?

I am two different people. What you see on the court is just natural for me. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I have always said "C'mon'' purely to fire myself up. Off the court I am a lot shyer. I stick to my team and my family and people I trust.

If you could take one shot from any player on tour what would it be?

For my game … the serve of an (John) Isner or an (Ivo) Karlovic. Those guys have the best serves and that would be fantastic for me. If I could hold every service game like they do then I would be a force in every tournament with my ground strokes.

You have had some hot-blooded exchanges with the Argentinean players, haven't you?

It has nearly stopped now. The younger Argentineans are fantastic. (Juan Martin) del Potro is one of my closest mates on tour. Juan Monaco is a great guy.

But there was some genuine heat with the likes of David Nalbandian and (Juan Ignacio) Chela?

It all started from Chela actually. When I beat Nalbandian in the Wimbledon final we were fine and used to practice together. I played Chela at the Australian Open and he spat at me. He got frustrated with me revving the crowd up and saying "C'mon''. At the time I did not do much about it but my coach Roger Rashid went ballistic in the locker room at Chela his coach and his trainer. It was funny but that got back to the other Argentinean boys.

And then?

Two matches later I played Nalbandian in the quarter finals on Australia Day. I won the first two sets and lost the next two and in the middle of the fifth set we bumped shoulders. It was not a big thing but Nalbandian turned around as if to say "what have you done?'' We both could have stopped but we just kept walking. I won 10-8 in the fifth and have never spoken to the bloke since.

Any plans to?

No, I probably never will. I am not a big fan of the guy. I have heard some stories about him. We have had the same physios and there have been a lot of things ... one of the toughest trips I ever made was to Argentina for the Davis Cup. It was brutal.

Do rivalries like that turn you on or offend you?

Sometimes it fires you up more. I have sometimes played my best Davis Cup matches away from home when you stay in the moment a bit more. But is tough when half the crowd are spitting on you.

When many long-lasting sportsmen retire they have lingering aches and pains. Will you be sweet?

Probably not. I have been through a bit more than most tennis players I reckon. As you get older everything hurts. Pat Rafter's was all upper body but mine was my hips, knee and now foot.

Which is the most serious?

My foot. I was lucky to have a great surgeon in Melbourne. I spoke to four or five surgeons around the world and the basically told me to hang `em up. They said if I was going to have the surgery I had then I would not be able to play any more. There is no other athlete who has had this surgery who has come back and played again but it is a little bit of who I am to go out and prove everybody wrong.

What about drugs in tennis. Any issues?

I guess some of the boys are frustrated that some guys have been done once or twice and then they are able to come back after six months or a year out. Mariano Puerta, an Argentinean bloke, screwed up the entire French Open (in 2005) because he was on drugs the whole tournament and knocked all these great players out. He got to the final and lost to Nadal, thank god. At least we had a worthy winner.

What happened to Puerta?

Eighteen months later he was back playing. That was his second offence. That frustrates everyone who is doing the right thing. They have to tighten that up.

Novak Djokovic does impersonations of many top players including yourself. Do you find him funny?

Yeah ... ummm ... he is a funny guy but I am not that close to him. There is not a lot of banter in the locker room. He hangs out with the Serbian and Croatian guys a lot more.

What's Roger Federer like?

A good guy but no-one is really close to him. He keeps his distance from everyone. But I have always got on with him extremely well.

Are there any of the big boys you really warm to?

Yes. (Rafael) Nadal. He is my favourite to watch, to train with, everything. For me it was even awesome to be able to commentate his Australian Open final against Djokovic. Rafa was struggling with his body going into the tournament but played one of the greatest matches of all time. His never-say-die attitude is awesome.

I remember you saying he intimidates opponents even before a ball is hit by generally being a bulldog. Impressed?

Yeah. He plays to his time. He is always the last to get up at the change of ends. Even when you are tossing the coin at the net he is jumping around and in your face. He sprints back to the base line after that and then and this is something the public don't see he hits the ball much harder in the warm-ups than anyone else. It creates a major presence.

Does it make a difference?

Of course. Matches are won and lost so many times in the locker room. Guys get in their mind how strong he is the warm-ups and that they will have to endure four hours of that to beat him they are beaten even before they step on court. But that's why I like him. He basically says you are going to have to kill me to beat me.

Was there any game when you considered a rival player delivered the highest standard of tennis you had ever played against?

Yes Federer both times. In the 2004 in the US Open final I went through the whole tournament without losing a set until the final then I lost in straight sets. He was awesome. And another time at the Australian Open at night when I could not jump him out of his comfort zone.

You put such passion into your games. What about Bernard Tomic and his current plight?

It is a tough one for him. He had a lot of pressure on him this year. Your second year on tour is always tougher than your first when you go under the radar. He snuck through the draw at Wimbledon and made the quarter-finals but the following year everyone knows who he is and how to play him. Then he feels the pressure of defending those points. That snowballed on him a bit. The biggest thing for him will be clearing his mind and letting the racquet do his talking.

Are you certain he will make it?

He is there already. He is ranked in the 50s on tour. How high he will get? I don't know. The good thing for him is there is not many young guys doing anything. I was on the tour at 16, Nadal was there at 15, Richard Gasquet, Safin, Federer ... late teenagers making second weeks of grand slams.

You are known for having a forensic knowledge of your opponents. It must be great to have that, but there must times when you play a red hot Federer and you think ``here we go ... Roger game plan No 22a?''

Yes. You do feel he has the answers sometimes. He is the hardest to predict because has so much variety. Other players have weak points you can pinpoint. If Roger's backhand is not working he will start slicing and that slice is the best in the world.

Are you worried when you leave the Davis Cup ranks the one man chain kept strong by Cash then Rafter then you could be broken?

I am a little bit. Pat Rafter has the same worry. I tell Pat I am available for whatever he wants but it can be hard to play three days in a row if I am playing on clay and backing up after surgery. It is a concern. We are trying to push through your (James) Duckworth's, Ben Mitchell, Matty Reid ... there is a few guys out there but no-one has taken the biggest step.

Most players normally have a pin-up idol. Did you?

No one particular player. I liked Pat Cash and I loved Mats Wilander. I went to the Australian Open with my parents and I used to watch Wilander being cheered on by the Swedish fans and with his game style being like mine I drew comparisons with him.

Is there any one thing which has helped you play for so long?

Not one thing but a playing schedule in important. I have never been one to play a lot of tournaments. Even when I was No.1 in the world I played a limited schedule. I played the tournaments I felt I could do well in. In the first half of my career I had no real big injuries. The last four years I have had five surgeries.

Do you still get nervous?

Absolutely. That's good though. It proves how much you want it.

Ausie 12-29-2012 11:05 AM

Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Hewitt to make singles debut on New Year’s night


Australian favourite Lleyton Hewitt will ring in the New Year with a night session blockbuster against former champion Radek Stepanek on January 1.

Hewitt will headline the night session on New Year’s Day at Pat Rafter Arena against the 2009 men’s champion, in the ultimate battle of the veterans.

This will be Hewitt’s first appearance at the Brisbane International, despite already playing on Pat Rafter Arena during the Davis Cup, and he’s thrilled to get out and play in front of Brisbane fans.

“I love playing the Australian tournaments and I have heard so many good things about the tournament. I am looking forward to kicking off the New Year there,” said the 31-year-old, who is working closely with Australian Tennis legend and Davis Cup coach Tony Roche.

In 2012 Hewitt has enjoyed some solid performances after returning from injury, reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open, the final of Newport and pushing Novak Djokovic to three sets in the third round of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“It’s always a tough field [in Brisbane] … so there will be a lot of tough matches and I want to get as many tough matches as possible,” Hewitt said.

“The facilities are fantastic … I enjoy going up there to Queensland, normally the weather is extremely nice – especially at that time of year.”

For Brisbane fans, catching a glimpse of the Grand Slam champion is the perfect way to ring in the New Year.

Ausie 12-31-2012 11:26 AM

Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Injury-free Hewitt raring to go


Lleyton Hewitt embarks on his first injury-free summer in years at the Brisbane International with his legend mentor Tony Roche warning rivals, including top seed Andy Murray, he has no fear.

After an intense off-season, Hewitt has the hunger and passion back ahead of his first-round clash with Czech Radek Stepanek on Tuesday night.

"This was the first time I played a couple of indoor tournaments towards the end of the year in Europe," Hewitt said on Monday.

"Yeah, feel like I've had a really good off-season this year on the practice court and more so in the gym and doing off court work."

Hewitt said he couldn't remember the last time his body felt so good heading into a new season - and coach Roche said that spelt trouble for his rivals.

"He's feeling good, he's training very, very hard and he's still keen. He still wants to do it and he's not afraid of anyone," said Roche, who knows Hewitt's game as well as anybody.

At 20, Hewitt was the youngest player to be ranked No.1 in the world and now he has found the desire to play again thanks to radical foot surgery earlier this year which saved his career.

Prior to going under the knife, the two-time major winner had been struggling to build any momentum with his worsening toe injury gradually eroding his speed advantage and fitness edges.

Roche is tipping fans will see a revitalised Hewitt at Pat Rafter Arena on New Year's Day after improving his world ranking more than 100 places to No.83 since his surgery.

The 31-year-old has a tough draw but is confident of seeing off Stepanek, a former champion and runner-up in Brisbane, for the fourth time in five career meetings.

"I always played pretty well against him and then lost to him a couple months ago in Shanghai. He played really well," Hewitt said.

"Yeah, he's a tough competitor. He gives 100 per cent every time he's on the court. He's got an awkward game style to a lot of other guys out there.

"I probably wasn't 100 per cent in Shanghai, so hopefully tomorrow night will be different."

If he reaches the final eight, Hewitt will likely meet tournament favourite and world No.3 Murray, a confrontation he knows would bring out his charge's renowned fighting spirit.

"It'd be nice to have a shot at him at some stage," Hewitt said before the main draw was carried out.

Roche is clearly excited about seeing his protege so passionate about his tennis again.

"The last three years, the big thing is he hasn't been able to get any momentum going," Roche said.

"He played well at the Australian (Open last January), we had a Davis Cup match after that and then he had to go and have surgery.

"It's been stop-start and, for a sportsman, that's a hard thing."

Ausie 01-03-2013 02:05 PM

Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Lleyton Hewitt knocked out of Brisbane International by Denis Istomin


LLEYTON Hewitt rates his early Brisbane International exit as a minor glitch, rather than a calamity, as he builds towards the Australian Open.
The Australian's progress was yesterday stopped in straight sets by world No.43 Denis Istomin on Pat Rafter Arena.

Istomin, a tall right-hander from Uzbekistan, appeared to have Hewitt's measure from the outset.

He was never hurried nor rattled by the local favourite, using his powerful and reliable serve to keep Hewitt on the back foot.

Yet Hewitt says he is confident of his chances this summer, which continues next week at the Kooyong Invitational.

"Throughout the first set, I felt like a better player," Hewitt said after the 7-5 7-5 loss.

"He served well on the big points and hit the ball extremely clean. It could have gone either way."

Hewitt said he failed to take his chances against Istomin, who is coached by his mother Klaudiya.

But Istomin did not hand him many. Every time Hewitt challenged him in the first set, Istomin motored out of trouble with 200km/h serves or perfectly placed passing shots.

Istomin hit three aces and 14 winners in the opening set to establish the upper hand.

Hewitt, finally fit and healthy after a battling a toe injury, kept on counter-punching.

His best chance to seize and retain momentum came midway through the second set when he saved three break points to hold serve.

Each winner was followed by his trademark pump of the fist and a loud "c'mon".

The former world No.1 broke Istomin, but the languid Uzbek regathered his rhythm and accelerated past the South Australian.

"It was one of those matches where I just tried scrapping around there and hang in for as long as I could," Hewitt said.

"It's nice that I can put myself in a position where I can feel good and play match after match.

"But it's frustrating when you have chances, and feel like you're in a match, and you don't come away with a win."

Hewitt said experiencing the tough situations in Brisbane would prepare him well for Kooyong where world No.7 Juan Martin Del Potro is the highest-ranked player in a field that also includes Milos Raonic and No.9 Janko Tipsarevic.

Ausie 01-08-2013 09:48 AM

Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Hewitt's confidence high for Open


Lleyton Hewitt says he'll go into his 17th Australian Open free of psychological barriers for the first time in years.

Hewitt, 32 next month, said on Tuesday it would be a relief to be able to concentrate on his game rather than playing with the lingering fear that his body might break down.

Finally free of the toe injury, following radical foot surgery, which was his most recent problem, Hewitt will top off his Open preparation at this week's eight-man Kooyong Classic, an exhibition event he won at his first appearance in 2011.

"Now I can actually go out there with a clear mind in terms of just worrying about hitting the ball and competing against these guys," said Hewitt.

"It's hard enough playing them when you are 100 per cent, let alone when you're in pain and got an injury.
"Training-wise it was so pleasing in November and December to be able to do all the exercises I haven't been able to do the last couple of years.
"My movement's been great, the foot is not giving me any problems whatsoever.

"Obviously my movement is such a key part of my game so to have confidence back in my movement and my foot gives me a lot more self-belief.
"My practice sessions so far at Melbourne Park are as good as I could have hoped for."

Hewitt received wildcard entries into all four grand slam tournaments last year and reached the fourth round of the Australian Open.

He has managed to rebuild his world ranking to a respectable No.82 and earned automatic entry to the Open this time but was well aware he could be facing one of the top seeds early in the tournament next week.

"Obviously when you're not highly ranked it opens it up to playing anyone early on - and we'll see what happens with the draw.

"The first week in any major you can lose, and you certainly can't win it - it's a matter of putting yourself in a position to be there in the second week."

Ausie 01-09-2013 09:48 AM

Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Hewitt's form rising ahead of Open

Finally pain-free, Lleyton Hewitt served up a warning to his Australian Open rivals when he upset Canadian world No.15 Milos Raonic at the Kooyong Classic.

Hewitt, whose ranking of 82 leaves him at the mercy of the Open draw, was out to prove he could tangle with anyone in the early rounds at Melbourne Park next week.

The 31-year-old, who defeated Raonic in their only previous meeting at last year’s Australian Open, turned on a three-set boilover to prevail 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (7-4) at a windswept Kooyong.
Winner of the Kooyong title two years ago, Hewitt said his first lead-up match provided him with the competition and confidence he needed leading into his Open campaign.

‘‘It was good but obviously they were really tough conditions for everyone out there playing today,’’ Hewitt said.

‘‘But that’s what you come to expect coming to Kooyong and centre court - it’s always tough with the wind.
‘‘It’s sort of blustery and very tough to get a guide on actually which way it’s going.’’
But he said playing well under the circumstances would be a benefit ahead of next week’s Australian Open.

‘‘A lot of it is playing percentage tennis out there but also you’ve got hit your spots and [have] good movement and mental toughness.’’
Hewitt said being able to tame the big Canadian’s serve also gave him cause for optimism.

‘‘You feel like you get a lot of half chances out there and he takes them away from you straight away so to keep plugging away and keep giving yourself those opportunities, is the perfect kind of preparation and hit-out that I needed.’’

Hewitt said he was feeling competitive again after overcoming a foot injury which hampered him last year.
‘‘I feel pretty sharp out there at the moment,’’ he said.
‘‘Return-wise, he’s got one of the biggest serves out there, and in tough conditions, whatever I could get my racquet on I put him under pressure most times.

‘‘There’s a lot of positives but there’s always areas you feel like you can do a little bit better.’’
Hewitt reached the fourth round of last year’s Australian Open, but got there under severe duress.

‘‘Mentally it was very wearing for me last year,’’ he said. ‘‘I had an injection before any warm-up hit before a match.
‘‘I don’t know how many injections I had last January - it was getting out of control.

‘‘For me it makes me happier to be out there, doing the hard work and not grimacing every time you’ve got to do something ... you’ve just got to push through the pain the whole time.’’

Earlier, former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro defeated Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3).

But the tournament was hit by more injury withdrawals with Serbian world No.9 Janko Tipsarevic (wrist) joining Japan’s Kei Nishikori (knee) and Argentinian Juan Monaco (hand) on the sidelines.

Ausie 01-15-2013 12:31 PM

Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Hewitt looking for way back


LLEYTON Hewitt has loaded up his schedule in a bid to revive his battered world ranking after yet again suffering a deflating first-round defeat at the Australian Open.

Rankings-wise, Hewitt's encouraging summer amounted to nothing with the former world No. 1 set to drop from 81st to outside the top 100 again following his hard-fought straight-sets loss to Serbian eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic.

Despite striking the ball as cleanly as he has in years, and feeling injury-free, Hewitt's inability to defend the rankings points accrued from reaching the fourth round in Melbourne last January leaves him locked in a vicious circle.

Turning 32 next month, Hewitt has been unable to string enough tournaments together over the past three seasons to restore his position to anywhere close to the top-32 mark required for a grand slam seeding and early round protection from the big guns.

The next four months offer Hewitt a critical window of opportunity.
Having undergone career-saving toe surgery last February, the father-of-three will be desperate to cash in at US hardcourt events in San Jose and Memphis and the lucrative Indian Wells and Miami Masters, where he has no points to defend but will most likely require wildcards.

Along with Davis Cup, Hewitt's priority this season is another big crack at Wimbledon in June.

The former Wimbledon champion remains adamant he can still mix it with the best and a succession of victories over top-15 players Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin del Potro, Milos Raonic and Juan Monaco in his past four events give Hewitt cause to believe.

The 2005 Open runner-up was left ''frustrated and disappointed'' by his 7-6 (7-4), 7-5, 6-3 loss to Tipsarevic, who came up with winner after winner on the big points in a high-quality contest at Rod Laver Arena.

''I don't think he plays like that all the time. He played as well as he could play, there's no doubt about it,'' Hewitt said.

''I didn't do a whole heap wrong.''
Hewitt's immediate focus will now turn to Australia's first-round Asia-Oceania Davis Cup qualifying tie in Taiwan from February 1-3.

Ausie 01-15-2013 05:30 PM

Re: Rusty Articles and News 2013
Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge tip Lleyton Hewitt to fight back to world's top 30


SHATTERED by Australian Open elimination, Lleyton Hewitt will return to the world's top 30 by season's end, according to former Davis Cup team-mates Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge.

Hewitt, 31, yesterday grimly reconciled straight-sets defeat to Serbian eighth seed Janko Tipsaervic.

But he will soon embark on a busy schedule his supporters hope will rapidly lead to signficant rankings gains.

The former world champion will slip from No.81 to about No.115 after the Open but Woodforde and Woodbridge predict it will be a brief exile from the top 100.

"I called the match last night on radio and I was shocked - I shouldn't be shocked - at the quality of tennis from both Janko and Lleyton," Woodforde said."It just shows when Lleyton's fully fit, what's he's capable of.

"He played to a top 10 guy who had to play almost to his limit to get through that match.

"If he can play like that, he's going to chop his ranking in half very, very quickly.

"I think he's certainly pushing top 20."

Woodbridge, Tennis Australia's head of professional tennis, says Wimbledon and US Open winner Hewitt's progress will hinges on fitness.

"It's a matter of him staying injury-free," Woodbridge said."If you look at his schedules over the last five years, he hasn't been able to play a full or proper schedule.

"He's got to be able to keep his body in line with that to be able to get the matches, the confidence and the ranking up.

"Can he do that? Absolutely - he's got that quality.

"It's up to whether the body can sustain the intensity needed to do that."He can definitely get to top 50 and definitely top 30.

"Higher than that comes about through getting through matches like and getting the confidence to knock the big guys off at the big tournaments.

"At the moment, the draws aren't allowing him that space right now."

Hewitt's next outing will be in Davis Cup against Chinese Taipei in Kaoshiung City from February 1-3. He will then contest Memphis, San Jose, Indian Wells and Miami.

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