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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080123/sp_wl_afp/tennisdavisaustpe_080123065002

Tennis star Hewitt to lead Australia against Taiwan at Davis Cup

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Lleyton Hewitt will lead the Australian team in next month's Davis Cup Asia/Oceania first round tennis tie against Taiwan in Kaohsiung, Tennis Australia said Wednesday.

The world number 22 heads a squad including Chris Guccione (91), Alun Jones (137), doubles specialist Paul Hanley (10 in doubles) and Joseph Sirianni (146).

The tie will be played on hardcourt from February 8-10.

"Lleyton has played some sensational tennis at the Australian Open," team captain John Fitzgerald said.

Hewitt refused to blame his controversial early hours finish to Marcos Baghdatis for his failure to get past Novak Djokovic in the fourth round of the Grand Slam tournament last Monday.

The former world number one was crushed by the exciting young Serb third seed 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 after a curtailed preparation due to his Baghdatis match ending at half-past four on Sunday morning.

"Chris Guccione is in good form and had a great tournament in Sydney. Alun Jones has had some impressive results, Paul Hanley is one of the top doubles players in the world and Joe Sirianni is in the best form of his life," Fitzgerald said.
 

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http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,23104204-2722,00.html?from=public_rss

Rafter backs Hewitt for Wimbledon

LLEYTON HEWITT has not made a Grand Slam semi-final in more than two years but his former Davis Cup team-mate Pat Rafter believes the South Australian can win Wimbledon again.

Hewitt has not been a contender at the top level since 2005, when he finished runner-up in Melbourne and made the semi-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open, but Rafter is confident Hewitt still has the game to win the tournament Roger Federer has made his own for the past five years.

"I think Wimbledon is his one. I think that's his best chance," Rafter said.

"The game has changed so much since I played. With Lleyton's technique, he's a very flat hitter of the ball and the spin now generated by the new strings doesn't really suit his type of game as it would someone like Rafael Nadal.

"Wimbledon is his chance, and I think he can win there again."

Rafter, who will be inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame tomorrow, believes Hewitt is reaping the benefits of working with Tony Roche, who guided Rafter to successive US Open wins and the world's top ranking.

Although Hewitt had a lean summer, being knocked out early in Adelaide and Sydney and then finding Novak Djokovic too hot to handle on a sleep-deprived preparation on Monday, Rafter believes his form is encouraging.

Rafter said he could already discern differences in the former world No1's game and is confident he will return to the top 10.

"There are some changes I've seen taking place in his game," Rafter said.

"He is going for his backhand down the line. He was aggressive with his forehand. He was coming to the net.

"He's starting to really take on what Rochey is telling him.

"It's not that the other guys have not told him that before, it's just now come to the point where he's going, 'I have to make that change' and he's doing it, and I think it's really encouraging."

Hewitt has fallen down the rankings in the past two years and started the Open ranked 21, in part due to a drastically reduced playing schedule.

But Hewitt, who heads to Taiwan for a Davis Cup tie in a fortnight's time, is determined to play in more tournaments this year as he seeks to break a Grand Slam drought that dates back to Wimbledon in 2002.

Hewitt is using the presence in the top five of Russian Nikolay Davydenko, a player he has dominated on the tour, as a motivating factor and sign he can return to the top.

His next tournament will be in Rotterdam, followed by a defence of the only title he won last year in Las Vegas before Masters series events in Indian Wells and Miami.

He is also committed to a heavy clay-court schedule, with the Hewitt camp believing he will be displaying his best form by Wimbledon.

"He's got to work hard too, and Rochey won't accept anything but hard work," Rafter said.

"I think he can be back in the top 10."

The retired Queenslander, who flirted with returning to the seniors tour but decided against it due to continuing problems with the right shoulder that forced his early exit from the game, was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, two years ago.

But, he said, joining the Australian Hall of Fame would provide some compensation for his failure to win the Australian Open.

"I won the US Open and I would have loved to win one back at home," he said.

"It would have been really great to have won one on your home soil, so it's a really nice recognition here in Australia."
 

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Hewitt gets Australia off to a flyer

Lleyton Hewitt got Australia off to a flying start in their Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group One play-off against Taiwan with a straight sets victory in the opening rubber in Kaohsiung.

The Australian No.1 defeated Taiwan's No.2 Ti Chen 6-4 6-0 6-3 in the opening singles match on the hardcourt surface.

Hewitt took control of the tie against the world No.270 late in the first set.

He reeled off ten straight games to take the first two sets and lead 3-0 in the third.

The Taiwanese staged a brief rally, breaking Hewitt to trail 3-4 on serve.

However, the Australian quickly broke again to clinch victory and improve his Davis Cup singles record to 31-8.

Australia's No.2 Chris Guccione is scheduled to play Taiwan's No.1 Yen-Hsun Lu in the second singles rubber.
 

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Hewitt facing career crisis

By Darren Walton
May 13, 2008 12:00am

LLEYTON Hewitt is facing the biggest crisis of his decorated career after learning he could miss the French Open and Wimbledon with a nagging hip injury.

Already poised to slump to his lowest ranking since cracking the top 20 as a teenager back in January 2000, Australia's former world No.1 could disappear from the top 40 if he receives further bad news from doctors later this week.

A worst-case scenario would cruel Hewitt's entire clay and grasscourt campaigns, meaning the battered 27-year-old would forfeit a mammoth 455 rankings points accrued during the corresponding period last season when he reached semi-finals in Hamburg and Poertschach and the last 16 at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

Hewitt, currently ranked 19th, has been consulting daily with the Australian Davis Cup team doctor David Brooks and also saw a specialist at North Shore Private Hospital today for further tests.

The former US Open and Wimbledon champion was trying to remain positive and was hopeful of a return to the tour sooner rather than later.

"The hip is starting to feel a little better, but I'm yet to fully test it out on court,'' Hewitt said. "The specialist did a couple more tests today but the results won't be back for a few days. Once I get those, I can make a decision on the French Open and the grasscourt season.''

If Hewitt is forced to spend the next two months watching on he'll be ranked well outside the top 32 come the US Open in late August, leaving him the prospect of being unseeded at a grand slam for the first time in almost a decade.

Hewitt is expected to make a decision on a comeback date later this week when he gets the results of his latest medical tests.

Despite being dogged by the hip injury for much of the year and having not played since leading Australia to a Davis Cup playoff victory over Thailand more than a month ago, Hewitt has not given up hope of making it back in time for the French and Wimbledon.

"He is doing everything in his power to compete in both grand slam tournaments,'' Hewitt's manager David Drysdale said. "Grand slams are well and truly the highlight of a tennis player's year, particularly an athlete as competitive as Lleyton.

"He hasn't given up on them, but is just frustrated that he can't be already out there competing and preparing.''

http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,23693013-5012689,00.html
 

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Hewitt still hoping to play French Open and Wimbledon
Mon 19 May, 02:47 PM

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt will travel to Paris to begin preparations for the French Open, the Australian hoping a nagging hip injury will clear by the start of the tournament on May 25.

The former U.S Open and Wimbledon champion said he would be assessed daily by coach Tony Roche and trainer Ivan Gutierrez while practicing on the clay at Roland Garros.

"I thought it best to go to Paris and start my originally planned preparation, in the hope that the hip will be okay for me to compete," Hewitt said in a statement on his Web site (http://www.lleytonandbechewitt.com )

"I am being optimistic about playing the French and also the grasscourt season, especially Wimbledon.

"I've now just got to prepare as well as possible and hope the body holds up for me."

Hewitt has not played in more than a month because of the injury and said he would give himself until the first day of the second grand slam of the year to decide whether he would compete.

The injury is the latest in a series of setbacks that have plagued the 27-year-old since he lost the world number one ranking in 2003.

He won the U.S. Open in 2001 and Wimbledon the following season but has not won a grand slam title since and has steadily slipped down the rankings to 26th.
 

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I'm ok with him missing RG if it would allow the injury more time to heal and for him to gain back his form. I would just hate for him to miss the whole grass season.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I just hope he feels well, whether he plays the FO or not. Althought I do think it is a bit risky to play it ... I just hope he takes care of himself.
 

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I'm ok with him missing RG if it would allow the injury more time to heal and for him to gain back his form. I would just hate for him to miss the whole grass season.
that's how i feel as well, as long as he is able to play the grass court season, still looks he'll ahve tot ake the surgery someday though.
 

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Hewitt confident of playing

May 23, 2008 12:00am

INJURY-dogged Lleyton Hewitt was today confident he will be able to contest the French Open after a couple of days on the practice court.

The former world No.1 had a hit with Frenchman Nicolas Mahut at Roland Garros in preparation for his first competitive match in six weeks after being sidelined with a hip complaint.

"I should be fine to play,'' Hewitt told the French Open website after his workout under the watchful eye of coach Tony Roche.

Hewitt, who has not played a competitive match since the Davis Cup win over Thailand in April, will wait as long as possible before confirming whether he will start in the Open which gets underway on Sunday.

The 27-year-old hasn't played on the ATP tour since the Miami Masters in late March and has seen his ranking slip to No.26, still good enough to be among the Open seeds to be announced Friday along with the draw.

He reached the quarter-finals of last year's French Open, losing to Rafael Nadal, who is chasing his fourth consecutive title.

http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,23745390-5001023,00.html
 

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He IS playing after all! Mahut in R1, Fish or Calleri in R2 *remembers last year's USO and panics*
 

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He IS playing after all! Mahut in R1, Fish or Calleri in R2 *remembers last year's USO and panics*
As I've said in basically every post over the last 2 days I'm highly skeptical that Lleyton is fully fit and we may see another dissapointing defeat. If he is fit then I think he could have a great FO campaign!

I would have rather that he gave up the clay season and focused on the grass but hey, he's the pro and I'm the guy sitting at a computer ;)
 

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Hope he is OK. Although clay is his worst surface, he has done pretty good here in the past.
 

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Hewitt aiming for Aust Open

October 28, 2008

LLEYTON Hewitt says the layoff following hip surgery has revitalised him for the last phase of his tennis career and he still hopes to claim an Australian Open title.

The former world No.1 has slipped to a distant 69th in the world rankings this week but is more immediately concerned with preparation for his 13th Australian Open campaign in January.

"Probably in a couple of weeks' time I'll actually get on court for the first time,'' Hewitt told Foxsports today. "Rochey (coach Tony Roche) and I will just start lightly in the first couple of weeks and then I'll just build it up.''

Hewitt plans to resume from his post-Beijing Olympics surgery in the Hopman Cup mixed teams event in Perth in early January then play the Sydney International in the lead up to the Australian Open starting on January 19.

The former Wimbledon and US Open champion admitted he may be a little ``short'' on match preparation going into the grand slam event. But motivation is not an issue as he attempts to improve on his 2005 runner-up result behind Marat Safin.

"This spell that I have been forced to have because of the hip surgery, the last three or four months has actually given me time to reflect and freshen up for sort of the last phase of my career as well, the next few years,'' he said.

"To really go out and really have a crack at trying to get back up the rankings but more importantly put myself in contention for the grand slams.''

Hewitt faces a busy time at the end of the year with his wife Bec expecting their second child in late December, shortly before his return to tournaments. "It's just a matter of really trying to prepare as well as possible for the tennis and the baby stuff will take care of itself on the side,'' he said.

Hewitt says his affinity with Melbourne Park and the Open crowds will work in his favour after so many memorable matches there. "I qualified back in 1997 when I was 15 for the Australian Open so it has been a long time I've been going to Melbourne.

"It's somewhere that gives me goosebumps walking out onto Rod Laver Arena. I still feel with 15,000 screaming fans behind me at the Australian Open, it's a wonderful place to play tennis.
``I've had so many good memories there in the past.''

No longer a seeded player, he must take his chances with the draw and hope he doesn't meet players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and defending champion Monak Djokovic early on.

"I wouldn't really want to meet those top three or four guys in the first couple of rounds. But anyone else, bring it on,'' said Hewitt. ''(And) I feel like if I can knock one of those other higher guys off then I can just take their draw and the draw will open up.''

http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,24562110-5012689,00.html
 

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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article5067426.ece

The Net Post: Lleyton Hewitt, the guy who is giving back
Times Tennis Correspondent,
Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent

A big up to Lleyton Hewitt, the Australian former world No.1 (from November 2001, to April 2003) and Wimbledon champion in 2002. He may be recovering from a hip operation, his world ranking is 69 after so long excelling in the top 10, he has played only ten tour events this year and is not sure exactly how long he will have left duelling with the best in the game but he has hardly been sitting around waiting for something nice to happen. He is making it happen.

Now 27 years old - is that not difficult to believe? - the four time Queen's Club champion and Bec, his wife, have been touring Australia seeking to raise funds for Cure Our Kids, a charity supporting children with cancer at the Westmead Hospital in New South Wales. The tennis community has rallied around brilliantly, as have those in other sports and from the theatrical family where Bec spent her teenage years.

"Bec and I have been overwhelmed by the generosity shown by many of our friends both here and on the world stage," Hewitt said. "Rafael Nadal donated the racquet he used to win the Wimbledon final, Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi both donated tennis racquets, while Roger Federer gave us the shirt off his own back."

It is exceptionally assuring to hear that people have been so supportive. For those who might like to join in the fun and offer succour to an excellent cause, they should visit www.eswap.com.au where there are around 100 items to bid for. One of the latest additions is a Manchester United shirt that will be signed personally by Wayne Rooney, once someone has offered more than the A$2215 that leads the way with a couple of days left to bid. Rooney, the Net Post is told, will not sign the shirt until he knows the name of the recipient, a particular quirk of the England footballer.

You can purchase two tickets for next year's Wimbledon women's singles final and the Net Post's personal favourite, an opportunity to meet and greet The Wiggles. For those not of an Antipodean bent, The Wiggles are the most popular characters on television Down Under (Andre Agassi used to swear by them to keep his kids entertained during the Australian Open) and are even funnier than Madge and Harold when they were ruling the roost in Ramsay Street.

As for Hewitt himself, he aims to return to the tennis mainstream at the Hopman Cup mixed event in Perth at Christmas, and then intends to play in the Sydney International the week before the Australian Open before competing in his home grand slam for the 13th consecutive year. Good on him.
 

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This article's a little bit old but Sydney is still saying he's playing so fingers crossed that I'll see him live once more at least!

http://www.tennis.com.au/pages/News.aspx?NewsID=4872&PageId=11478&SiteId=4&HandlerId=2

Hewitt to play Medibank International


Sydney, 07 October 2008
Tennis Australia

Lleyton Hewitt will be in action at the Medibank International Sydney in January 2009.

The Medibank International Sydney has always been a brilliant day out and great value for the whole family and in 2009 tennis fans and Sydney’s social set will find it even more so. And kicking things off for next January’s event is the news that Lleyton Hewitt is the first of the big names to be announced.

Tournament Director Craig Watson said: “I am delighted that one of Australia’s most dedicated champions, Lleyton Hewitt, a four-time winner of the Medibank International, is our first big name to be announced. Sydney will be the first official ATP tournament he plays in his comeback.”

“Over the next few weeks we will be announcing a line-up of players that will produce arguably the most exciting field we have ever hosted at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre.”

Hewitt won the title in 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2005. In the Open era he has won this title more often than any other male player.

“My recovery is going well and I am really looking forward to the Australian summer,” said Hewitt. “It is an exciting time for me; I am already feeling refreshed, reinvigorated and excited about the challenge ahead.”

“Sydney is a happy hunting ground for me. I have won here four times and would love to make it five. Some good hard matches in Sydney will certainly help me in my preparation for the 2009 Australian Open.”
 

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Hewitt up for one last stand

By Chris Wilson
December 14

LLEYTON Hewitt is slogging it out like a man who makes his living on a football field rather than one fighting to save a tennis career.Grand slams or grand finals, Hewitt knows his make-or-break season starts the first week of January and there's optimism he can be standing with the best at season's end.

"I want to have a crack at trying to get top 10 and get in the Masters Cup for the end of next year,'' Hewitt says. "But you've got to play a lot of tournaments to be able to do that and that's where it comes back to the hip holding up, and every other body part.''

It's the big question for Hewitt, whether his stellar career is cooked. Hewitt is working hard on his answer. It's why, after a hip operation in August, Hewitt has been swimming, running, cycling, climbing stairs and stretching, all before picking up his racquet, which he did two weeks ago.

The 27-year-old has no doubt his tennis will still stack up, provided his body can stay in the game. He is training up to six hours a day, half of that on court. He is ranked 67 in the world, but sweating with the desire of a player who has never won a grand slam or seen the view of world tennis from the very top.

"I actually enjoy it, it's like a pre-season in football,'' Hewitt says. "If you're fit you're playing most weeks on tour. So this is a good opportunity for me not just to look at the Australian summer, but also the 2009 calendar. Hopefully, I can get my body in as good a shape as possible to see me right through next year.''

The injury
Bundled out of the Beijing Olympics by Rafael Nadal in straight sets, Hewitt finally had surgery on a left hip that had bothered him all year. Hewitt was restricted to 11 tournaments in 2008. He couldn't even bare to watch the US Open, the first major he had missed since the French Open in 2005.

"I basically tried to go out this year and play the grand slams probably 70 per cent really,'' Hewitt says. "It's obviously tough to come back from any kind of surgery and especially with my style of game, with a lot of running, scrambling and getting a lot of balls back.''

Hewitt says he has talked to friends at the Adelaide Crows about training and rehabilitation. "I think I train more like a football player than a tennis player in a lot of ways, which has helped me in the past,'' he says. "I'm trying to strengthen the muscles around the hip again. The last couple of weeks have been getting better and better each day.''

The comeback
When Hewitt plays German Nicolas Kiefer in the Hopman Cup on January 5, it will be his first match in 146 days. He is guaranteed at least two more matches in Perth, against Dominik Hrbaty and James Blake. But Hewitt's acid test will be the Medibank International in Sydney from January 11-17.

"You're always going to be nervous, I guess. But it's a happy hunting ground for me, I've always played extremely well there,'' the four-time Sydney winner says. "I think the ball striking will come back quite quickly. Even on the practice court now, I feel like I'm hitting it sweetly. It's probably just the footwork and structuring points again.''

The Open
A spiralling ranking won't afford Hewitt any favours on his return. But he says he has no fear about entering the Australian Open unseeded for the first time since 1999.

"If you draw a lot of those lower top-10 guys, I've still got winning records against nearly all of those guys,'' Hewitt says. "Obviously you'd prefer to stay away from those top three or four guys that are the real standouts, especially on a hardcourt surface. But if you can knock out one of the other seeds early on, the draw can open up for you. I still feel like against the better guys I've definitely got a good shot.''

The competitors
A new breed has entered the world's top 10, with 20-year-olds like Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro. There's even a new king, for the first time in more than four years, with Nadal taking over from Roger Federer. "You can't take Roger out of the mix,'' Hewitt says, denying tennis has a new world order.

Hewitt also refuses to concede he no longer belongs in the top 10. He made the fourth round at the Australian Open last year, losing to eventual champion Djokovic. He did likewise at Wimbledon, losing to Federer. At the French, he was beaten in a third-round marathon by Spanish clay-court specialist David Ferrer.

Hewitt says he has more potential to realise under coach Tony Roche. "We went out with a little bit different style of game plan on the clay court (this year) which really helped. I was pretty aggressive, I mixed it up, used angles. Then Wimbledon, I played well too. Rochey obviously knows a lot about those majors and how to play under those circumstances. I'm fortunate to have him in my corner.''

Aussie pride
Hewitt credits Roche and John Newcombe for teaching him about national passion through Davis Cup.

Hewitt says it still stands, despite the depression in Australian tennis. A Davis Cup winner in 1999 and 2003, Hewitt will lead Australia against Thailand in March in the Asia/Oceania play-offs.

"It's not quite as exciting (next) year as other years when we've been playing in semis and finals. But that's a huge priority, to get back in the world group for 2010. Hopefully, a couple of the other younger Australians can really step up by then as well. I want to lead by example. But it's a matter of those guys wanting to play for their country as well, the passion's got to come from within.''

The future
Hewitt chooses his words carefully but he labels this the "last phase of my career''. Still, he has no finish date in mind.

But here are some numbers to ponder. Hewitt didn't win a tournament this year, for the first time in a decade.
His last title was in Las Vegas 21 months ago, while he won his majors at the US Open in 2001 and Wimbledon in 2002.

"It's still grand slams, that's what drives me. I'd love nothing more than to win another major,'' Hewitt says.
"I really want to have a proper crack at it in the next few years. A lot probably depends on the body as well, how I feel.''

There's that question again. Not long now until we get the answer.

http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,24796079-5012689,00.html
 

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Don't write off Hewitt, warns Newcombe

Lleyton Hewitt has next month's Australian Open in his sights.
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LLEYTON Hewitt will attract his normal band of ignorant knockers wanting to criticise his every move when he struts into the Australian Open.

Hewitt has drawn on every inch of his fitness, willpower and glorious combativeness to raise himself into the elite of world tennis but not everyone is willing to praise this Herculean feat. One commentator routinely calls him "Little Lleyton" in the most condescending manner but has never even bothered to meet him.

Hewitt screams and gesticulates to rev himself up and the knockers say his behaviour is a disgrace. He tones it down and barely makes so much as a grunt and they bag him for going into his shell.

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of opinion, the theatre is magnificent and Hewitt is working his backside off with Tony Roche in Sydney for another assault on his national championship at Melbourne Park next month.

"He started working with Tony three weeks ago," Australia's former world No. 1 John Newcombe said this week.

"The last 10 days they've really picked it up and worked hard, and his biggest problem lately — his hip — is responding well.

"He wants to go hard for another two years, at least, and he believes he can get back into the top 10."

Hewitt became the youngest male world No. 1, at the age of 20, in November 2001. He spent 80 weeks on top of the mountain and even if he never returns, his Wimbledon, US Open and Davis Cup crowns are carved permanently into the history books.

A spate of injuries has him at No. 67 and he's been out of the top 10 since June 2006, but he's still top 10 where it matters — in his own head.

The bullish Rafael Nadal, the mercurial Roger Federer, the cocksure Novak Djokovic and the curmudgeonly Andy Murray have taken over the men's game, but in Hewitt's favour is how the Australian Open has become the biggest lottery of all the grand slams.

Players are coming off lay-offs and/or injuries and normal formguides can go out the window.

Newcombe suspects Murray may be the man to beat on Rod Laver Arena, but is adamant an injury-free Hewitt can reach the top five by the end of the year.

"Top four might be hard for him at the moment, but certainly he can beat anyone you want to name outside that top four," he said.

"Give him 12 months, and if he stays healthy, I'd be surprised if he's not in the top 10. Outside that top four, there's no one else there who you would say, 'Well, that guy is a champion.' Even (world No. 5) Nikolay Davydenko, he did play some great tennis at the Masters, but I've never ranked him as a really top player. All those guys outside the top four, I think of them as grand slam quarter-finalists. They're not winners when we get to the grand slams. Lleyton is a proven winner."

Newcombe has three words of advice for Hewitt: attack, attack, attack.

"If Lleyton plays defensively and relies on counter-attack, he's not going to get back in the top 10," he said.

"If he goes out and backs himself, hits a number of backhands down the line, gets his forehand going down the line and doesn't get stuck in this thing of hitting everything cross-court, he can do anything.

"With someone who volleys as well as Lleyton does, getting into the net has to be a serious option. He has an all-court game he can use to break up the baseliners. He can chip, he can come in, his instincts on a tennis court are exceptional.

"So many of the guys now hit the ball so hard off both sides that you have to take them out of their comfort zones. Lleyton has such a great all-round game that he can do it."
 

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Hewitt must perform in Hopman Cup

December 31, 2008

LLEYTON Hewitt's moment of truth in tennis is nigh. The former world No. 1, absent from competition since August's Beijing Olympic Games, returns to battle in Perth's Hopman Cup on Monday. After months of uncertainty over his fitness, Hewitt has emerged strongly from hip surgery. Manager David Drysdale yesterday said his client would get an accurate insight into his Australian Open prospects at the Cup.

"He's guaranteed three matches in Perth and they are three good matches," Drysdale said of the round-robin event at Burswood Dome. "He'll play (Nicolas) Kiefer, (Dominik) Hrbaty and James Blake. And he's obviously got the mixed doubles as well with Casey (Dellacqua). If they do well, they could make the final and there would be more matches."

Hewitt and Dellacqua face a frenetic schedule in the doubles. Opening against Germany's Kiefer and Sabine Lisicki on Monday, the Australian pair will clash with Slovak players Hrbaty and Dominika Cibulkova on Tuesday. They then back up two days later against America's Blake and Meghann Shaughnessy, who has come in to replace Serena Williams.

Drysdale said Hewitt had coped well with coach Tony Roche's practice court workload - and with the arrival of new-born son Cruz. "Everything is good at the moment," Drysdale said. "Lleyton's practising hard and everything is going well. He's looking forward to the fact he's going to be back on court real soon. He's been working hard at his home court with Rochey and he's had a lot of different people to hit with there, including (Chris Guccione). The preparation has been good and the hip has held up well. So far, so good."

Hewitt, 27, will chase two important milestones next season. The former Wimbledon and US Open champion is only 14 wins away from his 500th match victory at grand slam, ATP and Davis Cup level. And the South Australian will be bidding to notch his 30th tournament victory - his first since Las Vegas in 2007 - as he attempts to make up for his lost 2008 season.

Hewitt was restricted to only 13 appearances at the highest level last season because of the chronic hip injury that eventually drove him off the tour in August. He dropped down to No. 67 in the world rankings as a result of his injury and the ensuing extended absence from competition.


http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,24856786-5012689,00.html
 
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