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Old 10-09-2003, 08:12 AM   #1
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Default Masters Cup update

Hewitt out of Masters Cup

Hewitt cup sacrifice
By Leo Schlink
October 9, 2003

LLEYTON HEWITT will make a multi-million dollar sacrifice in his quest to deliver Davis Cup triumph for Australia.


Hewitt - multi-million dollar sacrifice.

The former world No.1 will withdraw from a string of highly-lucrative European indoor events - and surrender all hope of defending the Masters Cup he has won for the past two years - to ensure he is at his peak for the Davis Cup final against Spain in Melbourne next month.

Hewitt, 22, last week underwent a procedure to remove a wart from his right foot and is now recovering in Adelaide, where he will begin preparations on Memorial Drive grass with his coach Roger Rasheed for the Davis Cup final.

Hewitt's management Octagon would not place a figure on Hewitt's commitment to the Australian cause but victories in Madrid, Paris and Stockholm and Basel would potentially earn him more than $2.5 million.

By opting out of the European swing, Hewitt has effectively lost hope of snaring a third Masters Cup trophy in Houston where, depending on round-robin results, the winner's cheque could be as high as $2.17 million.

Hewitt is also believed to have withdrawn from an exhibition in Portland the week after the Masters Cup, costing him another large appearance money cheque.

Industry estimates put Hewitt's average guarantee at $362,000 for International Series (gold) events and more for exhibitions.

Octagon vice-president Tom Ross last night praised Hewitt's decision, acknowledging Hewitt had willingly taken a financial hit to ensure he was in prime condition for the November 28-30 clash with Spain at Rod Laver Arena.

"He's making a number of sacrifices personally in terms of prizemoney, guarantees, ranking points and title defence at the Masters to give himself the best chance at the Davis Cup," Ross said

Hewitt said last night he was still unable to run after being treated with a course of injections, which would eventually cause the wart to wither and die.

"At the moment, I can't put too much weight on it and I can't run on it," he said. "But I'm on the bike and swimming."

Hewitt said he might have been able to persist with tournament plans despite the inconvenience of a sore right foot, but he wanted to be in top shape for the Spaniards, who won a sour final in Barcelona in 2000.

"The foot was not a huge dilemma," he said.

"It was bothering me some of the time, but I thought if I had it done now, I'd be right for the Davis Cup final.

"I could have kept playing and if I was playing for the dollars - and I could have got a lot of dollars by going to Europe -- you could end up jeopardising your Davis Cup preparations, which is not what you want to do.

"Davis Cup is a huge consideration for me.

"I could go over there (Europe) and chase (rankings) points to play the Masters Cup but, even if I did, that wouldn't give me enough time to get back to Australia and prepare properly for the Davis Cup final.

"It's not every day you get to play in a home Davis Cup final and I want to be ready for it."
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