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.