Re: Hewitt Says Schedule Hurt Safin
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lleyton Hewitt has blamed Marat Safin's injury problems on a hectic schedule and called for tennis chiefs to address the problem.
Safin, the former world number one who helped Russia win the Davis Cup in France last year, has played in just nine tournaments this season and is absent from the U.S. Open.
"Look at how many tournaments he's had to play," said Hewitt after his second-round win over South Korean Lee Hyung-taik at Flushing Meadows Thursday.
"The game needs a guy like him. He's a great personality for our game...but look at how many matches he had to play last year.
"I lost to him in the Paris (Masters) final, then he had to fly to Shanghai for the Masters Cup, and then fly back to Paris for the Davis Cup final.
"That takes a lot out of you, both physically and mentally. For him it's disappointing.
"There's got to be a way the ATP and ITF (International Tennis Federation) will sit down and work out the schedule."
Safin, the 2000 U.S. Open champion, injured left wrist ligaments at the Australian Open in January -- just weeks after playing for Russia in the 2002 Davis Cup final.
He then suffered an ankle injury in training for another Davis Cup tie in April.
During 2002, the Russian played in 22 events and fulfilled his commitments in various team competitions.
Marat Safin - always the one and only