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Discussion Starter #61
And another article:

Revised draw offers Hewitt some relief

from AAP, August 23, 2002

The withdrawal of two injured seeds has handed Lleyton Hewitt some welcome relief ahead of his US Open defence starting in New York next week.

Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson (shoulder), the 12th seed and 15th-seeded Argentinian Guillermo Canas (wrist) have both pulled out on the tournament's eve, forcing officials to release a revised draw for the year's final grand slam.

And it would have left Hewitt breathing a huge sigh of relief.

The world No.1 was scheduled to meet Greg Rusedski in the second round - in his first event since the British dangerman dumped the Australian out of the last week's Indianapolis Open in straight sets.

Instead, Rusedski has been promoted to 33rd seed and moved to the bottom half of the draw.

Hewitt will now face a lucky loser qualifier if, as expected, he negotiates world No.103 Nicolas Coutelot in the first round.

Rusedski, though, might not be as pleased with his amended schedule.

While the big-serving Brit - runner-up to Patrick Rafter at Flushing Meadows in 1997 - won't have to battle Hewitt unless they both reach the final, Rusedski will still have his work cut out progressing through the tournament.

The Indianapolis Open champion has been shifted to a tough quarter featuring third seed Tommy Haas, fifth-seeded compatriot Tim Henman, fellow seeds Alex Corretja, Andy Roddick and four-times champion Pete Sampras, the runner-up the last two years.

Rusedski is on track to meet Sampras in the third round, Haas in the last 16 and Henman in the quarter-finals.

Hewitt is still drawn to meet talented black American James Blake in the third round in what would be a potentially explosive sequel to their heated second-round encounter at Flushing Meadows last year.

Hewitt won in five sets en route to claiming his maiden grand slam title, but also found himself caught up in a messy race row after making controversial remarks to a black linesman during that match.

Blake, the 25th seed, is among the form players on tour, having broken through for his first tournament success last week on hardcourt in Washington.

The highest remaining seed in Hewitt's quarter is 14th seed Jiri Novak, but Spanish nemesis Carlos Moya, the ninth seed, or sixth seed Andre Agassi await in the semi-finals.

4,539 Posts
Discussion Starter #62
And here's another interesting article from the BBC:

Hewitt leaves rivals standing

Hewitt's never-say-die attitude sets him apart

by Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport Online, August 23, 2002

Before winning the 2001 US Open, Lleyton Hewitt was accused in some quarters of not being quite good enough to win the major titles.

It is certainly not an accusation that could be levelled at him now, after the 21-year-old followed up his maiden Grand Slam with wins in the prestigious Tennis Masters Cup and at Wimbledon.

In truth, the world number one has one of the most potent weapons in the men's game.

"There's always a chance you're going to lose, but it never enters my mind when I'm out there playing" says Lleyton Hewitt.

While his fellow young contenders have failed to marry talent with consistency, Hewitt has shown a loathing of defeat which has drawn comparisons with Jimmy Connors.

Even when playing below his best, Hewitt has an ability to harry, fight and retrieve which outshines every other player on the tour.

It is a quality the player himself cites as his greatest.

"A lot of guys would probably opt for the easier option rather than hang out there and keep fighting," he said recently. There's always a chance that you're going to lose, but it never enters my mind when I'm out there playing."

When Andre Agassi first took on Hewitt, then aged 16, he lost in straight sets, saying later: "I didn't give him enough respect - I think I was convinced he would go away."

That forlorn hope has accounted for many more after Agassi but if the combative attitude serves him well on the court, it has not won him favour off it.

Controversy has followed Hewitt throughout his career, not least at last year's Open when he was accused of making racist remarks during a second-round match against James Blake.

But if anything, the fiery Australian thrives on, and perhaps needs, the 'me-against-them' scenario.

No surprise, then, that his hero is the fictional boxer Rocky Balboa, the ultimate underdog.

At the Cincinnati Masters, he became embroiled in an argument with the ATP for his refusal to carry out a five-minute interview with a television broadcaster, and threatened not to play his first-round match.

He made it to the court, though, and thrashed the unfortunate Robby Ginepri 6-0 6-0 before launching into a bitter tirade about what he perceived as unfair treatment.

His testy relations with the media have not helped his popularity in his home country, where comparisons with Patrick Rafter had already shown him in an unfavourable light.

But there is nothing that Australia likes more than a winner.

And Hewitt's current status as the world's best player, along with his devotion to the Davis Cup, cause has gone some way to improving his image.

Not that any of that will bother the player, who craves winning as much as he repels the attention that goes with it.

He refuses to allow external influences to upset his much-vaunted focus, another intimidating part of his increasing armoury.

Add to that a serve which has developed in pace and variety even since last year's US Open win, and it is difficult to argue against another Hewitt victory.

Like Connors before him, Hewitt shows no sign of maturing and softening his attitude towards those who dare to criticise.

But to do so would blunt the very weapon which has him peering down at his rivals from a very lofty height.

4,539 Posts
Discussion Starter #63
forgotten to post this:

In the weekly power rankings of CBS Sportsline, Lleyton is at number 10. :rolleyes:

Their top 3 is Rusedski, Blake and Srichaphan.

Here's what they say:

('s Power Rankings feature 10 players based on the past weeks' performances. It is not an official ranking based on points but takes into account the strength of schedule and the quality of play of each player during that period.'s Power Rankings will focus on the hard court tournaments before the U.S. Open.)

10 Lleyton Hewitt (coming from # 2 last week)
Hewitt has been overwhelmed by Rusedski's serve. He remains a comfortable leader of the ATP Champions Race, but hasn't won since Wimbledon.

22,537 Posts
Host of big names eye New York silverware

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The men's tennis circus decamps at Flushing Meadows for the final grand slam of the year next week, and a host of big names will slug it out for the most open major in years.

Defending champion Lleyton Hewitt heads the field but with eight different winners in the last nine grand slam events, there is no clear favourite in New York.

Hewitt's form since winning Wimbledon last month has been patchy with a first round defeat in Toronto, a finals appearance in Cincinnati and a third round loss in Indianapolis.

The Australian is eager to open his defence, however.

"I think it's obviously going to be a bit of a buzz for me, going back to a place that has changed my life in a lot of ways," he said. "I really look forward to getting back there.

"The U.S. Open holds a very special place for me, being the first place I really performed well in a grand slam."

The player who ousted Hewitt from Indianapolis and went on to win the title, Greg Rusedski, certainly will not be underestimating the dynamic baseliner.

"I think it's so hard to do what he's accomplished," said the Briton, a U.S. Open runner-up in 1997.

"He's the youngest player to be number one, he's won two major championships already, he's got a game where he has to work from the first ball to the last. He beats you with one extra step and one extra shot.


"It's his consistency week in and week out that sets him apart, and his competitiveness.

"He is the favourite to repeat in New York along with Andre Agassi, but it's another story having to come and defend a slam, to win it back-to-back.

"Right now you'd have to say it's Hewitt, Agassi, Carlos Moya depending on how quick the courts are at the U.S. Open.

"There are very few serve and volley players who are doing well. Maybe I can be one of the dark horses."

Moya beat Hewitt in the final of Cincinnati earlier this month and, having put a nagging back injury behind him, is intent on making up for lost time.

"I'm healthy...I'm fit...I know when this happens I can be a dangerous player," he said when asked of his chances in New York.

"But I don't know if it is good to set a goal. Because what I learned this year is that you just have to enjoy on court and when you have the bad moments, you have to think that the good ones are going to come soon.

"I'll just do my best and I'll fight and give 100 percent."

Another player eyeing the silverware is Britain's Tim Henman, still seeking a grand slam breakthrough.

Seeded fifth this year, he said: "I've got to believe in my game and go out there and see what happens.

"Certainly this year, with the way I've played, it's my best chance. But it's no good talking about it now. I've got to get out there and do it on the court."

ROTFLMAO!:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Pete Sampras's preparation for the Open, a title he has won four times and where he has been runner-up for the last two years, has hardly been encouraging, but he still believes he has what it takes to add to his record 13 grand slam titles.

"You have to remember who I am and where I'm playing next week," he said.

"The U.S. Open is where you shine, and that is where I hope to shine.

"My goal is to win another major and, hopefully, destiny will be on my side."

LMAO! :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

186 Posts
HI. I found this one on ESPN.COM for the 9/02 issue...I think...

August 21, 2002
Aussie Rules
By Curry Kirkpatrick
ESPN The Magazine

The new face of men's tennis was going to be Russian, a huge grinning wolfhound swatting the game into untold nether reaches of muscle and power. Or Spanish. Or Argentine. Or Brazilian, its happy-go-lucky personality sauntering to a samba backbeat. Or maybe -- post-Sampras, post-Agassi -- the new face of men's tennis was going to be another American, a tall, strong hero from the heartland who would not only Save the Men's Game but might even stand a chance of whipping those You-Know-Who sisters after they got bored pounding the poor women and took on the other half of humanity. But because of strain or pressure or hormonal disorder or the stock market, all those new faces seem to have faded into the rearview mirror on tennis' road to perdition. Instead, rising from the ashes of a sport that has longed for the days of Borg and Connors and even the best-selling author, TV commentator and America's Psycho Guest McEnroe, comes a kind of conglomeration of all of them.

There's no love lost between Hewitt and well, everyone.
His name is Lleyton Hewitt. A former surf baby from Australia, he's a straggly-haired, cap-backward, boulder-on-his-shoulder malcontent who has won both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon without most people outside tennis knowing much about him. Or caring. And that's just the way he wants it.

"I choose what's right for me," Hewitt said at Wimbledon after he'd almost lost to Dutchman Sjeng Schalken, then pulverized poor homebody Tim Henman and finally eliminated everybody else, ending with Argentine David Nalbandian, for the championship. "I'm not going to go out and do every interview. That's not right for my tennis, not in my best interest. Off the court I'm shy, more private than a lot of people."

Well and good. Given their druthers, wouldn't most of our sporting legends (save Charles Barkley and Tatum's ex-hubby) rather just hit their home runs, swish their baskets, score their TDs and spend their millions while skipping all those media and commercial and fan obligations? Sure they would, and Hewitt -- bless his enormous, fighting heart that seems four sizes bigger than his bony, 5-foot-11 (sure!), 150-pound (when soaked!) body -- does something about it. Namely, nothing.

Perceptive, even pleasant in the mass interviews required of him at the Grand Slams, Hewitt has almost surreptitiously (but absolutely) dominated his sport over the past year while denying face time to, among others, the trio of Australian beat writers whose job it is to report on him daily, a couple of Australian TV channels and, remarkably, The Times of London -- the latter slap setting off a somewhat hilarious huffy fit, to wit:

Hewitt's agent, Tom Ross: "You've dug yourself a very large hole with Lleyton."

The Times' Neil Harman: "If he doesn't want to speak to the most important newspaper in the world, you can both f-- off."

Pretty much the same treatment has been afforded The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Sports Illustrated and -- speaking of the most important publication in the world -- this magazine. Okay, we're the media. But ESPN? Before the Tennis Masters Series in Cincinnati, which the network televised? Now that's getting downright ornery.

It's all happened so quickly: taking over the game with the panache of Borg, the heart of Connors and the 'tude of Mac ... changing coaches in midstream ... romancing the universally popular Belgian Top-10er, Kim Clijsters ... endearing himself to all the classic Aussie gentlemen stars of the past even while wallowing in politically incorrect, even racist, controversies in the present.

A couple of years ago, Hewitt was thought to be too short and scrawny, too lacking in the solid weapons needed to survive among the game's Big Bashers. He was even nixed as a mixed doubles partner by none other than Anna Kournikova for being "not accomplished enough." Last year he was just another one of those "New Balls Please" poster boys for an ATP Tour praying for somebody to replace the two-headed Sampragassian cash cow. One of his few press defenders, Richard Evans of The Sunday Times in London, described him as "a grunting, fist-pumping young pup with an attitude ... [who] thought winning necessitated behaving like a starving rottweiler."

Last September, when Hewitt shocked Sampras in straight sets to win the Open, the prevailing notion was that the old champion was running on empty after grueling battles against Agassi and defending titleholder Marat Safin. Even after he became, at 20, the youngest No.1 in ATP history by beating mentor-idol-countryman Pat Rafter at the Tennis Masters Cup in Sydney last November, it seemed obvious Hewitt was simply the beneficiary of everybody else reaching senility, suffering injury or not caring. After all, here was this skinny, blond, ever-yapping ("Come on!") kid who called himself Rock after the Rocky movies, who stayed on the baseline and hardly ever volleyed and who, in his first Slam after gaining the top rank, lost in the first round of the Australian Open to Alberto Martin of Spain because of ... chicken pox!! This guy couldn't be the best player on the planet, could he?

Well, yeah. And by a lot.

After all, Hewitt first drilled Agassi way back when he was a 16-year-old high school junior, stunningly winning his hometown Adelaide tournament. (He never went back to class.) He first thrashed Sampras two years ago when he won the Wimbledon warmup event at Queen's for the first of his three-peat titles there. "This guy is the future of tennis," Sampras said then, obviously unaware of how soon that future would arrive.

Even though he didn't grow up on grass -- unlike the other legends of Oz, Laver and Emerson and Newcombe -- Hewitt now seems more at home on it than on any other surface. "Several months ago, I just had a warm feeling about Wimbledon, coming back to it," Hewitt said in London. "I knew the victories at Queen's, even my prior losses on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, would help me this time."

In his first Centre Court visit, in 1999, when Hewitt was beaten by Boris Becker, the typically emotional roustabout was uncharacteristically in awe of the setting and in restraint of himself. "It was the 'class factor,'" he said then. "I've always tried to get in my opponent's face. Bring the aggression and passion from football to my game. But at Wimbledon, the Centre Court doesn't let you be you. It was like a church, a morgue. The place is intimidating. But then so was Boris."

Hewitt, who was a promising Aussie Rules footballer, still worships his hometown Adelaide Crows. "Competitiveness, fire, never giving up has always been in my blood. Aussie Rules is a pretty punchy sport, and I learned to survive. I'm one of the most mentally tough guys around. Other people hate to play me because they know I'm never-say-die."

Wimbledon 1999 was probably the last time a player or court intimidated Hewitt. With drive, talent and focus, as well as an uncanny ability to learn from experience, the South Australian has rarely seemed out of his element since swaddling clothes.

Whomp Todd Martin in his Davis Cup debut at Boston in 1999? Hey, he'd been an "orange boy" (fetching fruit for the mates) on the Aussie Davis Cup team when his hero, Rafter, was pulling off his own Cup heroics. Blitz Henman on the Englishman's own turf? Hey, Hewitt went all the way to Brazil in April 2001 and pounded Guga Kuerten in a Davis Cup match at Florianapolis. Embarrass the all-time majors record-holder, Sampras, in Hewitt's first Grand Slam final, the 2001 U.S. Open? Hey, he'd scared the bejesus out of the Pistol a year earlier in the Open semis, forcing two tiebreakers.

Facing down Wimbledon's veteran baiters from the fourth estate was a piece of cake for a guy who, in the past, has squirreled out of controversies at the French, where he once called an umpire "a spastic," and at Flushing Meadow, where he had to apologize to James Blake. "Are you more likely to be beaten up in the locker room than anyone else?" somebody asked Hewitt during the recent All England Club fortnight. "Doesn't really worry me," said Mr. Aussie Wonderful. "Bit of a silly question, isn't it?"

Hewitt's been taking vicious hits since 1999, when a newspaper columnist called him a "national disgrace." (Angered that an Adelaide crowd cheered against him because he had questioned a line call when he was up 5-0 on some pitiful wild card, Hewitt had uttered the immortal: "It's weird, but it's the stupidity of the Australian public.") Two years ago, an Australian magazine labeled him the country's "least admired sportsperson."

Before his recent press boycott, Hewitt told The Magazine: "I've grown up in tennis. This is what I've dreamed of doing forever. The role models may seem strange, but I always enjoyed watching the Swedes play -- Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg. I remember Connors' comeback in the 1991 Open, when he was so old, watching early in the morning from Australia. I could relate to that. And McEnroe? He took on the crowd, yelled at officials, bitched at everybody. That was his way, and I'm probably a lot like that. I've learned not to be inhibited."

The fist-pumping, chest-pounding and screaming at spectators, officials and players have kept Hewitt in hot water for much of his brief career. In his French Open debut in 1999, he called Argentine Martin Rodriguez an "ass--." Before a Davis Cup match the same year, when Yevgeny Kafelnikov vowed to teach Hewitt a lesson, the teenager kept screaming at the Russian, "I'm not going down!" Then, after winning easily, he held up some cash to mock paying for the "lesson" and said he'd enjoyed "sticking it to somebody who mouths off."

Even the low-key Alex Corretja of Spain calls Hewitt "an unfriendly guy who thinks he's a know-it-all when he's on court." Says Agassi's former coach, Brad Gilbert: "I'd be amazed if somebody doesn't whack him in the locker room."

But it's becoming increasingly difficult to whack Hewitt elsewhere, primarily because of his solidity off the ground and a deadly return game built on the fastest feet in the business. "I used to think Borg was the quickest guy I'd ever seen in tennis," says McEnroe. "Now I'm not so sure."

There were 33 players in the Wimbledon field with faster serves than Hewitt's best (124 mph). But opponents won only 35 percent of their second-serve points against his defense. Last year Hewitt led the tour in points won against second serve with an astounding 55 percent. Over all his matches in the past two years, Hewitt's 35 percent winning return games has also led the circuit. "His hand-eye coordination is just amazing," says left-handed Aussie rocket launcher Wayne Arthurs. "Put him on any surface -- grass, hardcourt, clay, cow paddock, I don't care -- he'll still hit the ball in the middle."

Henman, ever the thoughtful analyst and arguably the preeminent volleyer in the game, describes how it felt to play one of his best matches at Wimbledon, yet be smashed like an overripe strawberry, 7-5, 6-1, 7-5, by the relentless Hewitt: "I tried different tactics, different variations. But his legs are a massive asset. Unless you ace him, serving and volleying is probably a negative because you're playing into his biggest strength. You almost want to border on being negative in the rallies. You want to wait for a short one and then you don't really want to hit an approach shot because if you give him a chance to hit a pass, he'll hit it. You've just got to stay at the baseline and give him no pace. You either hit a winner or make a mistake. Approaching, winning points from the net, that doesn't work against him."

Consider the impression Hewitt made on the retired master, Becker: "What amazes me is the level of professionalism at only 21. He knows when to slow a match down, when to get excited and what levels of excitement bring out the best in him. Much of what I did was instinctive. But this guy has to spend a lot more time thinking on the court. In his attitude -- a street fighter without a timid bone in his body -- he's Connors. But the way he moves, the way he paces the points, he's Borg. He's the classic counterpuncher who also can win free points from his serve. In my mind he can do what Borg did and win Wimbledon five times. He can win five U.S. Opens, too. The guy is a lethal customer." Scion to a rich athletic heritage, Hewitt credits his competitive zeal to a gene pool stirred by his father, Glynn, a former football player with Richmond in the old Victorian League (now the Australian Football League), and his mother, Cherilyn, a phys ed instructor and netball player. (Netball is a combination of basketball and team handball that's hugely popular in Australia.)

"He's almost shy at home, but the court has always brought out the extrovert in him," says Glynn. "As Lleyton went through the club ranks and various divisions, he'd always have to play older men. If he'd get dodgy line calls, thought he was hooked, it wouldn't matter how old the other guy was, he'd let him know it. He's never taken a backward step on a tennis court."

John Newcombe, who's grown to admire Hewitt since bringing him onto the Davis Cup team as one of those orange boys, says he's the man to bring tennis out of its doldrums: "We once worried that his fire in the belly would turn into negativity. But he's beyond that bad stuff, and he's learning more every day. To suggest he's Connors or McEnroe is wrong. Those people were bullies on court. Lleyton's not. He's a lovely young bloke."

A bloke who may be on the verge of dominating the block on all surfaces. Hewitt's lack of a putaway killer shot has hindered progress on the slow, heavy dirt, where he's still learning to power through the ball in the manner of Kuerten, Corretja and Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain. But as he defends his title at the Open, he'll undoubtedly rely on the good memories from last year's event, as well as his victory over the star field at Indian Wells, Calif., in March, when he defeated former No.1 Carlos Moya, Thomas Enquist, Sampras and Henman (losing but nine total games in the latter two matches).

"Reaching No.1, winning Wimbledon, knowing your name will go up on the boards with all the greats, it's what every Australian kid who picks up a racket dreams of," says Hewitt. "For me to be there at the age of 21 is incredible."

Not to mention that the next time he asks Anna K to play doubles, she just might take his call.

4,539 Posts
Discussion Starter #66
It's raining articles LOL

Here's one about what Johnny Mac has to say about Lleyton:

Mac's backing Hewitt repeat

By PAUL MALONE, 24aug02

JOHN McEnroe has backed Lleyton Hewitt to defend his US Open crown but urged him to take a dominant hand in the promotion of men's tennis.

McEnroe, a four-time king of Flushing Meadows, said he could not understand growing American media sentiment that Hewitt would prove a caretaker No. 1.

Hewitt yesterday received the welcome news he had been spared a probable US Open second-round shootout with Greg Rusedski in a men's draw reshuffle ordered due to the withdrawals of injured seeds Thomas Johansson (12) and Guillermo Canas (15).

Australia's world No.1 will now play either a qualifier or a lucky loser in the second round if he negotiates the first step of his New York title defence against France's Nicolas Coutelot, ranked No.103.

McEnroe said Hewitt and men's tennis could both do with a rivalry and named two young Americans in the top 25, Andy Roddick and James Blake, as those who needed to take their games to Hewitt's level.

"He's a one-in-a-million type of guy that has the fire in the belly like a (Jimmy) Connors," McEnroe said yesterday.

"I don't agree with it (talk of him being a short-term No.1) at all.

"He's figured out a way to win and if someone like Roddick or Blake can create a rivalry it would be something the men's game badly needs."

McEnroe said Pete Sampras, seeded 17th, was low on confidence and compatriot Andre Agassi, the sixth seed, was also not a bankable prospect after failing to make the semi-final of the two grand slam events he has contested this year.

"Lleyton is the favourite, but hasn't played that well since Wimbledon," he said.

"Blake is faster and has a better forehand than I thought.

"If he plays Hewitt (in the third round) it would be interesting to see what happens after last year (the match in which Hewitt was accused of making racist comments when calling for a linesman to be replaced)."

Both the ATP and the Hewitt camp are refusing to say when Hewitt's appeal will be held against a $192,000 fine for not giving a pre-arranged television interview.

Hewitt has threatened legal action against the ATP over the fine.

"He's still growing up,' McEnroe said. "He has his parents with him almost all the time and he has a tennis player (Kim Clijsters) as a girlfriend and as far as being sheltered to play his best tennis, it's succeeding incredibly well.

'But as far as taking a leadership role is concerned, hopefully it will come.

"He's only 21, but a lot was expected of the Williams sisters and hopefully Lleyton will realise it's a chance for him to talk about the future of the game.

"It's important to do that when you're the No. 1 player in the world."

4,539 Posts
Discussion Starter #67
And yet another one, from Pat Cash:


By Pat Cash

Sporting Life, August 23, 2002

It's hard to look past Lleyton Hewitt at the US Open.
Lleyton's proved that he's clearly the world's number one player and the player to beat.
His Wimbledon victory was very easy. He did it in style and the hardcourt has always been his favourite surface. He struggles a little bit in the very fast conditions against the big servers which we saw last week against Greg Rusedski who knocked him off. At the end of the day, over five sets, it's going to be a different story. Hewitt's very, very tough to beat and I have him as the favourite.

Hewitt could play Andre Agassi in the quarter-finals.
That should be a great match, but Agassi is starting to show he's just gone over the hill. We've been wondering if that was the case for a year and didn't know for sure. But it's obvious now that he has gone over the hill. If he plays Hewitt, that's always an if of course, I think Hewitt would be too good over five sets - he'd just be too strong.

Similar things can be said of Pete Sampras. Unfortunately even though Sampras did do extremely well at the US Open last year, it's basically the end for him. I can't see him getting through too many rounds or too many tough matches. It's been a fantastic career, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Sampras go out early and announce his retirement. He's certainly getting very close to it.
If he's still willing to put the effort in he can still do well. But I can see him certainly taking short cuts - not willing to put the effort in that he used to, which was a phenomenal effort. I can't really blame him, but I'm also not expecting Pete to do that well.

On the other side of the draw, Tommy Haas is a young German player who's been improving year in, year out.
His ranking has been going up, his game's getting very solid but most importantly he's getting mentally tough. He's always been mentally fragile in the past and didn't used to be able to hang in there and play tough matches. Now he's willing to go that extra mile and play the extra shot to win the point and his ranking has shown that. He hasn't knocked off the top guys consistently yet, but he's one of the guys that you think 'maybe it's his breakthrough tournament'. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get through Sampras and go on to the semi-final.

Andy Roddick is a player who was expected to do very well this year but he hasn't performed at all.
Last year at the US Open if he'd sneaked through the match against Hewitt in the quarter-finals - which had a very dubious line call towards the end which would have given him an opportunity to win the match - I reckon he could have won the tournament. He becomes a better player playing in his home country and in New York the whole atmosphere is electric.
I think he will do well again this year and I'd certainly put him as one of my dark horses. He's a semi-finalist, finalist or even a potential winner this year. These are outside bets, but he's got a lot to warrant making that decision.

Marat Safin is a strange one. He's one of, if not the most talented player there.
He's a better all-round player than a guy like Roger Federer. He's got more power and more shots than a guy like Haas, and more power and more shots than a guy like Hewitt. But he only puts it together every once in a while. And unfortunately you never know when it's going to be. He does take a few short cuts as well in training which catch him out at the end of the day.
He did reach the final of the Australian Open on a similar surface, but just ran out of gas altogether. But if everything goes right for him - he plays at night and has a few easy matches - he could drop into the form that saw him win the US Open in the year 2000.

Carlos Moya was a surprise winner in the Masters Series recently.
Moya is a pedigree player. He can do really well on the hardcourts. He's been in the final of the Australian Open before, but he's had quite a few injuries over the last year or so. Even though he's really a claycourter, I think he's got more penetration on a hardcourt. He's a dark horse for sure.

I don't know how David Nalbandian will come through after Wimbledon and Xavier Malisse, who made the semi-finals there, is a guy with potential and he's one of my favourite dark horses.

But overall I can't see past Hewitt.

He's tough, he's determined and is still young - not burnt out. Obviously he's had a very, very big year but I just can't go past him as a winner.

As for another finalist, well I'd like to say Roddick but I'm not too sure.

(Pat Cash was talking to Andy Schooler).

22,537 Posts
Mac's backing Hewitt repeat

JOHN McEnroe has backed Lleyton Hewitt to defend his US Open crown but urged him to take a dominant hand in the promotion of men's tennis.

McEnroe, a four-time king of Flushing Meadows, said he could not understand growing American media sentiment that Hewitt would prove a caretaker No. 1.
Hewitt yesterday received the welcome news he had been spared a probable US Open second-round shootout with Greg Rusedski in a men's draw reshuffle ordered due to the withdrawals of injured seeds Thomas Johansson (12) and Guillermo Canas (15).

Australia's world No.1 will now play either a qualifier or a lucky loser in the second round if he negotiates the first step of his New York title defence against France's Nicolas Coutelot, ranked No.103.

McEnroe said Hewitt and men's tennis could both do with a rivalry and named two young Americans in the top 25, Andy Roddick and James Blake, as those who needed to take their games to Hewitt's level.

"He's a one-in-a-million type of guy that has the fire in the belly like a (Jimmy) Connors," McEnroe said yesterday.

"I don't agree with it (talk of him being a short-term No.1) at all.

"He's figured out a way to win and if someone like Roddick or Blake can create a rivalry it would be something the men's game badly needs."

McEnroe said Pete Sampras, seeded 17th, was low on confidence and compatriot Andre Agassi, the sixth seed, was also not a bankable prospect after failing to make the semi-final of the two grand slam events he has contested this year.

"Lleyton is the favourite, but hasn't played that well since Wimbledon," he said.

"Blake is faster and has a better forehand than I thought.

"If he plays Hewitt (in the third round) it would be interesting to see what happens after last year (the match in which Hewitt was accused of making racist comments when calling for a linesman to be replaced)."

Both the ATP and the Hewitt camp are refusing to say when Hewitt's appeal will be held against a $192,000 fine for not giving a pre-arranged television interview.

Hewitt has threatened legal action against the ATP over the fine.

"He's still growing up,' McEnroe said. "He has his parents with him almost all the time and he has a tennis player (Kim Clijsters) as a girlfriend and as far as being sheltered to play his best tennis, it's succeeding incredibly well.

'But as far as taking a leadership role is concerned, hopefully it will come.

"He's only 21, but a lot was expected of the Williams sisters and hopefully Lleyton will realise it's a chance for him to talk about the future of the game.

"It's important to do that when you're the No. 1 player in the world."

The decision of Johansson (shoulder) and Canas (stress fracture of right wrist) to pull out of the Open meant Rusedski, the highest ranked unseeded player at No. 33, and Finn Jarkko Nieminen were moved from their previous places to seeded positions.

Rusedski, the winner in Indianapolis last week when he claimed Hewitt's scalp in a third-round upset, is now seeded in Canas's spot and could meet Sampras in the third round.

1,544 Posts
Other Side Is Mr. Hide
The Hewitt you don't see is shy 21-year-old who is miles from Connors-type character who prowls the court as if it's his war zone


PALO ALTO -- "Come o-n-n-n!" he squeals, sounding like a wounded wombat, pumping his fists and cursing at the imaginary adversaries he has invented on his way to the top of his sport. And his sport just sits there, wondering what to make of this impudent kid in the backward baseball cap who has turned men's tennis on its head.

"Come o-n-n-n!" Lleyton Hewitt shouts, and the rest of tennis does a double take, giving serious thought to a question that has yet to be sufficiently answered: If Hewitt's doing the leading, are we really sure we want to go with him?

There are champions of the moment--Marat Safin, Thomas Johansson, Albert Costa--instant lottery winners who take their prizes, do their news conferences and fade quickly into the background. Staying power is a rarity. Men's Grand Slam champions of late seem to come equipped with ticking clocks.

Hewitt has changed this time-share arrangement at the top, apparently having settled in for the long haul. Top-seeded this year, he won the U.S. Open last year, becoming the youngest No. 1 in ATP history at 20, then added a Grand Slam bookend with his Wimbledon title in July at 21.

He wins and he snarls. He loses, less frequently, but the snarl remains. Consistency is both Hewitt's strength and his weakness. His world is a simple one, divided neatly into casts of supporters and enemies. Chair umpires, linespeople, reporters, opponents, tour officials, who you are doesn't matter--if you're not with him, the way Hewitt looks at it, you are most assuredly against him.

"I'm competitive. I'm the first to admit that," he says. "That's me. It doesn't matter if I'm swimming against [Olympic champion] Ian Thorpe, I'll try and win. I know I can't, but I'll try and do my best.

"That's probably one reason why I've probably been able to do as well as I have, because I go out on the court and try and give everything I've got every time."

That much the rest of tennis learned long ago. But what else do we know about Hewitt, the economy-sized firebrand from Adelaide, Australia, with the formidable groundstrokes and the attitude to match?

Rather than providing clues, Hewitt's triumph at Wimbledon only heightened the mystery. Australian writers, deprived of easy access during the tournament, were holding secret meetings with his family to help improve the situation. Reporters from other countries joined the pursuit. One was spirited into the house of Hewitt's entourage at Wimbledon to speak with his parents, Glynn and Cherilyn, in the basement, but was asked to stay in hiding because Lleyton had unexpectedly arrived with his girlfriend, tennis pro Kim Clijsters.

The Wimbledon title--taken with the loss of only two sets in seven matches--accelerated the unveiling of Hewitt. Then, after he'd pulled out of an event in Los Angeles because he was sick, his people were willing to make him available at the Stanford women's tournament where Clijsters was playing.

There the Hewitt we've come to see on the court was missing.

Where was the tennis brat columnist John Feinstein had recently compared to Barry Bonds, calling them champions who were "absolute chumps as human beings?"

Where was that rumored chip the size of New Zealand on his shoulder?

The heir apparent to John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and early Andre Agassi was polite, reflective and even modest about his abilities.

This had an almost "Wizard of Oz" feel. On a bench near the practice courts at Stanford, Hewitt--the screaming, polarizing No. 1 who'd once called an umpire "a spastic" and had slid into a racially tinged controversy while playing African American James Blake at the 2001 U.S. Open--seemed more like a shy, skinny kid looking for the area's best skateboarding park.

"I think you learn from your mistakes now and then," Hewitt said. "Then again, sometimes people try to find the negative thing out of anything to write about. That's the disappointing thing."

So little was known about Hewitt, and outside of a couple of acquaintances in the media in Australia, he had little reservoir of goodwill when various controversies hit in the last year or so, including the break in December with respected coach Darren Cahill. He has been revealed in fits and starts, meaning that his story remains hard to tell.

"I'm probably more shy off the court than people probably think," he said. "I'm not the biggest fan of going there and standing up and telling stories about myself."

To that end, he has spoken a couple of times to the most outgoing and affable of previous Australian champions, John Newcombe, who was also Hewitt's first Davis Cup captain.

"Talking about yourself, I find that a little bit tough," Hewitt said. "I spoke to Newk a couple of times about it because he talks so well. He has so many stories to tell over the last 50 years he's played this game. He said when I'm his age, I'll have stories to tell as well. It's tough for a 21-year-old to go out there and stand up in front of a lot of people. That comes with experience."

The dual Hewitts are not a new development. His agent, Tom Ross, learned this from Hewitt's mother when he was recruiting the youngster.

"She would often say there's two Lleytons," Ross said. "There was the Lleyton on court, who is this fiery personality and an incredible competitor.

"Off court, you wouldn't recognize him. He's this shy little kid who sits in the back of the class."

One consistent thread was his passion for winning--at everything.

Hewitt says he got his body type and endurance from his mother, who was a netball player, and his quickness from his father, a former Australian rules football player. Competitiveness came from both sides.

Oftentimes, junior players go through periods of petulance--tanking a match or throwing a set or simply retiring. Hewitt looked stumped when asked if that ever happened in his childhood.

"I always gave 100%. I can't remember once, I honestly can't," he said.

This, combined with his counterpunching abilities, makes him a fitting successor to Connors, who, like Hewitt, won his first Wimbledon at 21.

Beyond that, he shares Connors' fighting spirit on the court and the ability to raise his level in hostile circumstances.

"He's pretty strong-headed," said Patrick McEnroe, ESPN commentator and U.S. Davis Cup captain. "That's why he's No. 1 in the world. He's always reminded me of Connors. When he first came on the tour, the way he played, a me-against-the-world type of mentality.

"Which, quite honestly, isn't the worst thing to have for a tennis player. He thrives on that. Jimmy was like that in a lot of respects, 'I'm going to screw everybody, and show everybody.' In tennis, you can get away with that."

Said Hewitt: "There's a few times when people tried to hop on the train, and try bagging you. It doesn't worry me. It doesn't affect my tennis. I don't think people really realized that until probably the U.S Open last year.

"It's happened so many times in Davis Cup. I was getting bagged before I played in Spain. I went out there and beat [Albert] Costa in five sets in Barcelona. The crowd doesn't worry me when I go out there. I'm able, for some reason, to block it out and play my best tennis."

The similarities to Connors don't end there. When Connors won at Wimbledon in 1974, he was dating Chris Evert. Their engagement was viewed by many as the class rebel hooking up with the leader of the pep squad. Hewitt has been seeing Clijsters since he met her at the Australian Open in 2000, attending as many of her matches as possible. Clijsters is well liked by media and her peers on the tour.

"Watching Kim affects me," Hewitt said. "I want her to win every time she steps on the court. It's tough. When you're out there, you don't feel those same sorts of pressures. You're sitting off the court and you're thinking, 'Get a first serve in here,' and then they miss it. I couldn't do it week in and week out."

Like Hewitt, Connors had his media problems and conflicts with tour officials in his day, even filing a $40-million antitrust lawsuit against the ATP officials and others, charging a conspiracy to monopolize pro tennis.

Hewitt's difficulties with the ATP aren't quite of that nature, but even on the eve of his U.S. Open title defense he was prepared to spar with that organization. He was fined $105,650 by the ATP for refusing to conduct an interview with ESPN this month before his first-round match at Cincinnati.

There is an appeal pending, but Hewitt hired counsel in Indianapolis this week, Barnes & Thornburg, to handle the matter should legal action be required. His camp felt an arrangement with the parties had been reached before the matter exploded at the tournament.

"Based upon Lleyton's experience with the tour to date, it's not hard to understand he felt the need to engage a litigator," Ross said. "There was some extremely bad judgment used by certain tour staff--and Lleyton paid the price."

One of the members of the appeals panel used to be Patrick McEnroe. He has stepped down from the position, citing his Davis Cup position as well as his broadcast responsibilities. McEnroe speaks highly of Hewitt as a performer and personality, but says that being No. 1 carries extra responsibilities.

"The tour has got to have some power here," he said. "The Lleyton Hewitts of the world have a lot more being asked of them. You need to do more when you're at the top of the sport."

For Hewitt, the good still outweighed the bad a few weeks ago at Stanford. This was before the ATP feud, long before he'd told an Australian newspaper that the men's tour was a badly run "circus."

On this day, there was still a Wimbledon afterglow and the thrill of holding the No. 1 ranking, talking about his favorite band, Midnight Oil, and getting to play on Tiger Woods' collegiate golf course.

So, what would the top tennis player want to ask the top golfer?

"The way that he handles himself every tournament he goes into, everyone expects him to shoot 65 every day," Hewitt said. "That's an extraordinary thing. The way he's been able to block everything out and concentrate on going out there and doing what he does best. If there is a secret for him doing that, I'd like to know it, to try and keep my ranking and majors going as long as I could."



*--* Quick Study Lleyton Hewitt at a glance: Country: Australia Age: 21 Recent U.S. Opens: 2001-won, 2000-semis, 1999-3rd, 1998-DNP Notable: At 5 feet 11, 150 pounds, he doesn't overpower many players but chases down just about everything an opponent hits. ... Few players return serve better. ... At 20, finished 2001 as youngest year-end men's No. 1 2002 REVIEW Singles record 45-10 Singles titles 4 Doubles record 4-6 Doubles titles 0 Prize money $1,863,989 CAREER Singles record 240-77 Singles titles 16 Double titles 2 Prize money $8,107,404 Times Wire Services


22,537 Posts
Thanx 4 the article Duck! :)

Hewitt eager for New York return

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Twelve months ago Lleyton Hewitt was jostling for position among a new generation of players, with a bright future ahead of him but still to prove himself on the big stage.

When the Australian steps into New York's Flushing Meadows arena next week he will be defending a grand slam title for the first time and is, most certainly, the man to beat in men's tennis.

In a whirlwind 12 months the explosive baseliner has won the 2001 U.S. Open and this year's Wimbledon, finished the year ranked world number one and contended with a bout of chicken pox.

Now he cannot wait to get back to an arena he loves.

"The U.S. Open holds a very special place for me, being the first place I really performed well in a grand slam," he says, looking forward to the fourth and final slam of the season.

"I made my first semi in a slam there, won the doubles there and my first grand slam singles title so I hold that place pretty dear."

Defending a grand slam brings with it different pressures, but Hewitt shrugs them off with typical confidence.

"It's my first time. I'm not going to go in there with anything different to last year.

"I'm still going in there with the same attitude that I've got to beat seven guys to hold up the trophy again.

"I think it's obviously going to be a bit of a buzz for me, going back to a place that has changed my life in a lot of ways.

"I really look forward to getting back there."

New York is a different place since Hewitt's last visit after the September 11 attacks, and the 21-year-old knows a different atmosphere will prevail at the raucous major.

"I think it's going to be a different feeling on and off the court," he said.

"It's a weird feeling, I guess. I was probably very fortunate not to be in New York at the time. I could very easily have been stuck there.

"It's going to be a different feeling for the fact that one day I was driving around in a limousine with a trophy in my hand and having a lot of photos taken around Manhattan, and 24 hours later the whole world had changed.

"I think it's going to be different, not just for myself."

Senior Member
27,371 Posts
Is that a new quote about Kim in the second to last article? The one about watching her play? I don't think i'd ever heard that before!

4,539 Posts
Discussion Starter #73
I think I've read that at the time of San Jose this year...

4,539 Posts
Discussion Starter #74
Article from Sydney Morning Herald, August 24, 2002:

Like we know him, he's not really friendly towards Lleyton, to put it politely, however there are a few cynical quotes in this article worth reading.

Some truths for Hewitt and other tennis asylum inmates to ponder

By Richard Hinds

Everyone seems to agree Lleyton Hewitt "owes something to the sport". Perhaps it is time tennis officials started to make it clear exactly what that is.

As Hewitt readies to defend his United States Open crown, the vague notions about player responsibility - and the sometimes equivocal rules and regulations governing them - led him to play victim in his dispute with the ATP.

Since the letter of the law was invoked in Cincinnati and Hewitt fined a seemingly disproportionate $200,000 (the size of fine reflected Hewitt's performance in the tournament, not necessarily the offence) for his failure to do a pre-match interview with a cable television network, he has blamed everyone except himself.

Hewitt has blown smoke about how certain tour officials are out to get him, whined he has been vilified by the press and even tried to put a gun to the tour's head by threatening to play fewer events.

This is not quite the dire threat some would have you believe. Given his commercial appeal has been limited by his on-court antics and off-court hibernation, Hewitt is clutching a starter's pistol - not a bazooka.

However, he does have one genuine cause for complaint. Hewitt and the other inmates in the tennis asylum constantly hear that old line: "You owe something to the sport." What their parents, coaches, agents, the press and tennis officials fail to tell them is just what that is

So, for starters ...

~ You owe it to the sport to talk to the media. And not just at the mandatory press conferences or when you are pushing a new sponsor because, like it or not, the media is the window through which your fans see you.

Yes, sometimes you'll get misquoted or misrepresented - but probably no more often than you misrepresent your own motives or intentions by telling half-truths or outright lies in press conferences.

Yes, those reporters can be odious, prying creatures and God knows who dresses them. But offer them a strong mint if they come within five metres, open up a little and it may not be the most unpleasant 30 minutes of your life.

~ You owe it to the sport to be a role model. It's a daggy term but it doesn't necessarily mean you have to escort little old ladies across busy roads or put on concerts for orphans. Not unless you're a saint or Pat Rafter or both.

What it does mean is you have to be five times more responsible than your old high school mates because simple indiscretions can have outsize consequences. For you, questioning a linesman's parenthood or blowing .06 after getting pulled over in your new Porsche are hanging offences.

Yes, it is unfair. As unfair as the winner of a tennis tournament pocketing $600,000 and the nurse in a cancer ward taking home $25,000 a year after tax.

~ You owe it to the sport to lose even better than you win. And we're not talking about the way Tim Henman loses Wimbledon. We mean showing that at your moment of greatest disappointment your are, publicly at least, at your best.
It matters because sport is supposed to breed people who would rather play their best game and lose rather than play their worst game and win. We all know it isn't true, but you can at least get back to the privacy of the dressing-room before breaking five racquets over your knee.

~ You owe it to the sport to turn up. It says something about tennis that the ATP had to introduce big fines and ranking-point penalties to ensure players would appear for some masters series events. Still, some would rather cite a bogus injury than go to Hamburg or Montreal to collect a guaranteed $10,000 first-round loser's cheque.

OK, golf is a lot less strenuous than tennis. But you might still heed the words of Peter Lonard, who will play the US and European tours this year then come home for at least three local events: "I don't think it's going to hurt that much, playing golf. That's what we do, isn't it?"

~ You owe it to the sport to shut up. The media will give you the opportunity to pass judgement on anything from Elle Macpherson's pregnancy to the Bolivian tax system. That doesn't mean you have to, though.
Yevgeny Kafelnikov's carping about underpaid tennis players' ingrained prejudices held against the sport and, therefore, hurt his fellow players. So tell them that you think Elle should have stopped at one bambino if you have to - but think about it first.

~ You owe it to the sport to chase down every ball. On this score at least, you have a great role model. Goes by the name of Lleyton.

1,544 Posts

Hewitt hints at schedule cuts
By Maria Hawthorne
August 25, 2002

TENNIS fans should prepare to see less of Lleyton Hewitt next year, the world No.1 hinted again on the eve of his US Open title defence.

Wimbledon champion Hewitt, a hot favourite to win back-to-back grand slam titles, is still incensed at the prospect of a massive fine from the ATP Tour following a disagreement over a television interview at the Cincinnati Masters a fortnight ago.

The 21-year-old is considering slashing his ATP Tour tournament schedule to concentrate even more on the four grand slams and Davis Cup, which are organised by the International Tennis Federation.

It would probably mean sacrificing his No.1 ranking and risking potential sponsorship deals.

But Hewitt, who has won more than $US6.5 million ($A12 million) in prizemoney on top of a reported $A30 million in product endorsements, said he wanted to concentrate on the grand slams and the Davis Cup, which he helped to win for Australia in 1999.

"I love the grand slams," Hewitt said.

"Two slams, No.1 and Davis Cup - it doesn't get much better than that. Wimbledon meant an awful lot. An Australian hadn't won there for 15 years.

"Going into majors now is the priority and that's going to be the priority for the rest of my career.

"This is what I'm playing tennis for at the moment ... (and) it's lucky that the majors are still run by the ITF."

Hewitt's lawyers are considering legal action if the ATP Tour follows through with a potential $A193,065 fine - a record for any Australian athlete - for failing to do a television interview before his first-round match at Cincinnati.

He spoke out for the first time a week ago, describing the tour as a badly run "circus" and saying: "I'll change my schedule next year if the ATP keep up with this garbage. Next year I couldn't give two hoots about No.1."

Hewitt said he would temporarily put thoughts of the fine to one side as he prepared his bid to emulate his good mate Pat Rafter by winning consecutive US Open titles.

"I couldn't give two hoots about it at the moment," Hewitt said.

"I'm coming into a grand slam and that's pretty much where my focus is."

Hewitt spent the Saturday afternoon before his opening round match against unseeded Frenchman Nicolas Coutelot hitting balls around with 20 disabled athletes from the Special Olympics.

He appeared to genuinely enjoy the experience of playing against partially-sighted, mentally impaired and/or deaf athletes from New Jersey and New York, at one point smacking his racquet into the ground when his service return went into the net, and later tumbling over trying to win a point.

"It's pretty stressful when you're out there practising, so for me to come out and see these guys enjoying themselves so much, you really half-forget that you're out here preparing for such a big tournament in the next couple of days," Hewitt said.

"I came out here, I've enjoyed myself and I just relaxed."

Hewitt is one of three Australian men in the main draw, with Mark Philippoussis playing 24th seed Sjeng Schalken and big-serving lefthander Wayne Arthurs playing seventh seed Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Australian Davis Cup coach Wally Masur said Philippoussis has been showing great promise in recent tournaments.

"He's been playing a fair bit so his knee's in good shape and that's obviously the main thing," Masur said.

"Mark is a quality player. If his legs are right, five sets will suit him. You can go walkabout in a tour event and you lose a set and suddenly you're in a dogfight in the third.

"In a five set match, there's a few more ebbs and flows and the best player tends to win. He certainly can do well here."


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Cash predicts second U.S. Open win for Hewitt

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash is confident Australia's Lleyton Hewitt will successfully defend his U.S. Open title at the tournament starting in New York this week.

"Unless he gets tired out mentally, I'd feel very confident in him getting his second U.S. Open in a row," Cash said in an interview aired on Australian television.

Australia's Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion, said world number one Hewitt, 21, would be able to set aside his clash with the sport's governing body ATP.

Hewitt was fined half his $206,000 runners-up prize money in Cincinnati earlier this month for refusing to conduct an interview with host broadcasters ESPN before his first round match.

Hewitt was quoted in Australian newspapers as saying he has threatened to ignore ATP rules in future governing how many tournament a player is obliged to compete in.

He added that he would play where and when he wanted, and called men's tennis a badly-run "circus".

The world number one collected his second grand slam title with victory over Argentine David Nalbandian in the Wimbledon final in July.

"He's able to absorb that (ATP fine) and just move on," Cash said.

"He's just so tough to beat over five sets. The class isn't really there in the (U.S. Open) tournament.

"(Andre) Agassi and (Pete) Sampras have definitely gone over the hill.

"They are still certainly capable of playing great tennis, but to win another grand slam, I'm just not too sure."

22,537 Posts
McEnroe questions Hewitt future

John McEnroe has revealed that he does not think world number one Lleyton Hewitt is big enough to dominate the game.
McEnroe told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper that it would be a "tall order for him physically" to have a long reign at the top.

But despite his reservations the seven-time former Grand Slam champion admits he considers Hewitt the clear favourite for the US Open.

And McEnroe goes on to compare Hewitt to the young Pete Sampras.

McEnroe respects Hewitt's fighting qualities

"As the reigning US Open and Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt is definitely the man to beat," said McEnroe.

"But, as for dominating the game in the same way that Sampras and Agassi did in the 90s, it is going to be a tall order for him physically.

"There is no question he is the fastest player around and a great competitor, probably the greatest since Jimmy Connors, which is quite a compliment.

"But his sheer size will make it difficult for him to lord it.

"What you can say is he is as good as Sampras was at the same age."

Hewitt could have met Britain's Greg Rusedski in the second round at Flushing Meadows but Rusedski's promotion in the draw means that will now not happen.

22,537 Posts
Hewitt leaves brash demeanor on the court

Copyright © 2002 AP MegaSports

NEW YORK (AP) - Lleyton Hewitt's fighting spirit has helped him become a Grand Slam champion and the world's top-ranked player. It also gets him into trouble.

He's been fined for yelling at linesmen, lost a point for throwing a ball near an official and was criticized for what was perceived as a racially influenced outburst during a match in last year's U.S. Open.

Away from the court, though, Hewitt can be affable and even shy, seeming very little like the brash player who wears a backward baseball cap and peppers his matches with shouts of "Come on!"

He's the defending champion and seeded first at the U.S. Open, which starts Monday. Neither Hewitt nor Venus Williams, who is trying to become the first woman to win three straight U.S. Opens since Chris Evert took four in a row from 1975-78, plays on the opening day.

Top matches Monday include Williams' younger sister, top-ranked Serena, against Corina Morariu, who'll be playing her first Grand Slam match since returning to the tour after fighting leukemia for more than a year.

Serena is aiming for her third consecutive major title, after beating Venus in the finals of the French Open and Wimbledon.
Others playing Monday include two-time Open champion Andre Agassi, fourth-seeded Lindsay Davenport and French Open winner Albert Costa.

Hewitt can't wait to get on court. His first-round match is against 103rd-ranked Frenchman Nicolas Coutelot.

"I love competition and I love getting out there, working hard," Hewitt said. "To come out and compete in the toughest environments, especially the U.S. Open, it's sort of what I put my mind to."

Listed generously at 5-foot-11 and 150 pounds, Hewitt is the perfect antidote to the popular notion that the modern tennis player has to be as oversized as today's rackets and can succeed only with a power game.

Hewitt wears down opponents by chasing down everything that comes across the net. He just never stops. It's superb defensive tennis, highlighted by a fantastic return and complemented by an improving serve. Last month that package made him the first baseliner to win Wimbledon since Agassi in 1992.

"I love the Grand Slams, and you don't need much motivation to get up for them," Hewitt said. "That's what I'm playing tennis for at the moment."

His smooth game comes with a snarl, however. It's as though he steps on court with a mental enemies' list containing many more names than just that of his opponent. Fans, linesmen and the media all are fair game.

Hewitt was docked $1,000 for calling a chair umpire at the 2001 French Open a "spastic." He upset fans in his hometown of Adelaide, Australia, by calling them "stupid" for rooting for his underdog opponent during a 2000 match.

Most recently, the ATP Tour fined Hewitt half his winnings at a Tennis Masters Series event in Cincinnati - more than $100,000 - for not doing an interview with ESPN, which was broadcasting the tournament. He's appealing the penalty.

In typical fashion, Hewitt went out in his next match and beat his opponent 6-0, 6-0.

"It helps him that his natural competitiveness comes out on court," said Hewitt's coach, former tour player Jason Stoltenberg. "He's actually eased up a little bit compared to when he was younger."

During a second-round victory over James Blake in the 2001 U.S. Open, Hewitt demanded that linesman Marion Johnson be removed after calling two foot faults. Blake and Johnson are black.

"Look at him, mate," Hewitt said to the chair umpire, referring to Johnson. "Look at him and tell me what the similarity is." Hewitt said his use of the word "similarity" referred to both faults being called by Johnson.

Hewitt and Blake could meet in the third round this year.

Winning the U.S. Open title helped Hewitt, then 20, finish 2001 as the youngest year-end No. 1. A 45-10 match record and four tournament titles this year kept him there, putting at least a temporary stop to the merry-go-round nature of men's tennis.
Eight Grand Slam titles had been won by eight men until Hewitt added Wimbledon to his U.S. Open breakthrough.

"If you can do it once at a Grand Slam, you can do it again," said Agassi, who is seeded sixth. "He's shown the mindset to give what it takes to be at the top."

A kinder, gentler Hewitt was on display during a clinic Saturday with local Special Olympics athletes. For an hour, in the rain, the 21-year-old Australian played points, offered tips, exchanged high-fives and drew smiles.

He even persuaded one boy to turn his cap backward.

Nothing brash about that.


4,539 Posts
Discussion Starter #79
Thanks for the articles!

Senior Member
27,371 Posts
Tennis Champion Lleyton Hewitt Picks a 'Career Doubles Partner'
Sunday August 25, 12:04 am ET

FLUSHING, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 24, 2002--Defending U.S. Open Champion Lleyton Hewitt today announced his commitment to join Special Olympics in its campaign to double the number of Special Olympics athletes worldwide. A million athletes strong, Special Olympics looks to grow the movement by another million athletes with mental retardation by the year 2005. Hewitt will support this by spreading the message of athlete and coach recruitment for the worldwide Special Olympics movement throughout his international tennis travels.

"Lleyton will be instrumental in helping Special Olympics reach the next generation of Special Olympics athletes," said Tim Shriver, President and CEO of Special Olympics. "As one of sport's brightest young global stars, his commitment to Special Olympics is a tribute to our athletes and a clarion call to the world's youth that Special Olympics athletes deserve admiration and respect. Lleyton's personal dedication will help bring the joy of sport and achievement to a million more Special Olympics athletes worldwide."

Hewitt launched the partnership today at the U.S. Open with a tennis clinic for Special Olympics athletes as part of the Arthur Ashe Kids' Day. Special Olympics athletes from New York and New Jersey received tennis tips from the No. 1-ranked Hewitt. Next, he will most likely hit the athlete-recruitment trail with a stop in China in November to help launch the country's tennis program. A trip home to Australia will follow where Hewitt plans to incorporate a Special Olympics' component into his International Tennis Camp.

"I've been fortunate to have earned the title of champion in tennis, but Special Olympics athletes earn that title every day of their lives," said Hewitt. "Their courage and success over daily challenges is the true definition of 'champion.'"

Hewitt was first introduced to Special Olympics in 1998 by his former coach Peter Smith. Smith would host tennis clinics in Adelaide at which Hewitt would speak and play with the Special Olympics athletes. In 1999, Hewitt was featured in a South Australian-based advertising campaign with SPARC (Sport Art & Recreation Council Disability Foundation) to raise funds for Australian athletes with physical disabilities. Hewitt's interest in supporting sport opportunities for all people globally has helped mold his decision to join Special Olympics' campaign for growth.

Special Olympics

Special Olympics is an international year-round program of sports training and competition for children and youth with mental retardation. More than 1 million athletes in more than 150 countries train and compete in 26 Olympic-type summer and winter sports. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with mental retardation continuing opportunities to develop fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with other athletes, their families and the community. There is no cost to participate in Special Olympics.

Visit Special Olympics online at
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