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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Lleyton Hewitt 'Has Fallen In Love With The Bahamas'

SINCE he was first introduced to the Bahamas by retired professional touring tennis player Mark Knowles, Lleyton Hewitt said he has fallen in love with the Bahamas.

Now, the former Australian world No.1 player who has purchased a home in Old Fort Bay, is excited about being a part of the Bahamian community.

“It’s been a great base for us. My children go to school here and me and my wife (Bec) love it,” he stated. “I obviously travel a lot, but the reason we decided to come here was because we wanted to have a base outside of Europe and close to the United States. We met Mark Knowles, his mother, Vickie (Andrews) and his sister, Samara, they invited us here, we came, looked at it and loved it.”

The 32-year-old Hewitt, at the age of 20, was the youngest player to be ranked at No.1 in the world. He is the owner of three major titles, winning the Wimbledon singles in 2002, the US Open singles in 2001 and the US Open doubles in 2000 with Max Mirnyi.

In total, Hewitt has collected a total of 28 singles career titles, played in 16 other singles finals, added two doubles career titles and appeared in five more doubles finals. He is currently ranked at 59 in singles and has posted a 24-18 win-loss record this year with his latest performance coming in Vienna, Austria, on October 14 where he lost in the round of 32 to Vasek Pospisil of Canada.

“Obviously, I had a lot of success. I’ve been world No.1, won Grand Slams and played on Australia’s Davis Cup teams,” Hewitt said. “Now I’m getting to the last chapter in my career, so I’m just trying to finish as well as I can. I’ve had five surgeries in the last 4-5 years, so I’m just trying to come back from those.

“They were some career ending injuries, but I’m trying to work through those and I feel as long as I feel good out there, I will continue to play. I don’t know how long I will play, but the Grand Slams are work I play for and Davis Cups as well. We’ve gotten back into the World Group at Davis Cup with some younger guys, so it’s still important for me to stay around and try to help these guys become better players.”

Hewitt, wearing a Sands Beer logo on his jersey during the US Open in Flushing Meadows, New York, teamed up to play with Knowles, who was enticed to come out of retirement to play together for the first time.

The duo, however, didn’t get past the first round of the prestigious Wimbledon Grand Slam in London, England. For Hewitt, it was a dream come true to be on the same side of the court with Knowles, even if it was just for one match.

“I spoke to Mark a lot. We get along very well. We both have wives that are about the same age and we both have three children with very similar ages as well, so it’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “We played Wimbledon together this year and it was a lot of fun. We were pretty relaxed and we tried our best.

“He’s in a different phase of his life. He’s moved on, but he was still able to come back and hit the ball, so it was good to get that opportunity to play with him.”

In three months, Hewitt is scheduled to be back home in Australia where he will begin the new years by trying to win the one Grand Slam title that has eluded him - the Australian Open.

“I played in the losing, losing in 2005, so I will see what happens this time around,” he said. “There’s a lot of expectations and pressure playing in front of your hometown fans. It’s not easy, but I always look forward to playing there and trying to put on a good show for the people.”

Although he’s not eligible to play for the Bahamas, Hewitt said he and his family have settled in as residents here and they are enjoying the experience.

“It’s always good when I get back here. I get to put my feet up and enjoy the hospitality that is extended to me and my family,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun and we really enjoy it here. This is now our home and I try to enjoy every moment of it when I come here.”

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Discussion Starter #2
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Lleyton Hewitt doesn't know when he'll retire and wants another shot at Wimbledon

NOT so long ago, thirty-something tennis players were regarded with a blend of suspicion and pity.

Invariably accused of clogging the system, the dinosaurs of the sport were systematically hunted down by the sport's young lions.

At his peak, Lleyton Hewitt was an apex predator, one of the fiercest and most ruthless practitioners of a frenzied kill the sport has seen.

Now 32, Hewitt has long been deposed as jungle king. Injuries and the emergence of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal saw to that.

But, as evidenced by wins over Stan Wawrinka at Wimbledon and Juan Martin Del Potro at the US Open this year, Hewitt remains a highly efficient - and still feared - operator.

Unsurprisingly, Hewitt has no retirement plans as he as he prepares for an 18th Australian Open tilt in January,

"I don't know when I'll be stopping, but I'll be playing out the whole year regardless," Hewitt said of his 2014 schedule.

"I want to have another crack at Wimbledon for sure and I feel if I can get more matches under my belt going into Wimbledon that will hold me in a better stead."

With only two players senior than him in the top 50 - German Tommy Haas, 35, and Czech Radek Stepanek, 34 - Hewitt is part of an increasingly older man's sport, and no less ambitious because of age.

Time was when Hewitt, the youngest year-end No 1 in history when only 21, might have sneered at the old dogs.

Now, he is content simply to be one of them.

In Melbourne to launch the new Swisse low carb protein bar, Hewitt has been able to include daily runs in his training regimen for the first time in years, predicting he can become fitter still and regain some of his famed speed and mobility.

"Even now, I feel like I can go up that little more purely in terms of fitness because back years ago I used to do a lot of running and then I wasn't able to do that because of all the surgeries," he said.

"I just couldn't run on the treadmill or on the road because of my toe, I was in too much pain.

"Now, I've been running most days and feeling great because of it.

"The body's great, really good.

"The last few weeks I had a bit of a wrist issue, but it's settled down now.

"It flared up after Davis Cup time in Poland, but I've had it looked at and it's fine.

"The toe, the legs are all feeling great.

"I've been able to do a whole heap of fitness, so it's all good."

Hewitt finished 2013 ranked 62nd in the world, just 10 places lower than Australian No 1 Bernard Tomic.

Hewitt has a solid relationship with Tomic, offering the Queenslander advice and support.

Eventually, the pair could collaborate in a coach/player partnership in Davis Cup.

"I think his dad (banned coach John Tomic) is still going to pull the reins in terms of how Bernie plays and what he does," Hewitt said.

"He (John) obviously knows him (Bernie) better than anyone and Bernie listens to him more so than anyone anyway.

"I know Bernie more and more through Davis Cup but I haven't spoken to him about what he wants regarding a coaching structure.

"I wouldn't do that until I stopped playing anyway.

"Obviously I don't know what I want to do when I stop playing. At the moment it would probably Davis Cup and having a bigger role (captaincy).

"Now, it's more so helping out everyone, and (Nick) Kyrgios and (Thanasi) Kokkinakis make the transition to seniors."

Apart from an insatiable desire to compete at grand slams against the best, much in the mould of Jimmy Connors, Hewitt's over-riding crusade remains Davis Cup.

When, not if, he eventually pushes for the Australian captaincy, Hewitt is desperate for the nation to succeed in World Group company.

And he believes Tomic, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis can provide the foundations of an excellent team.

"I would really like us to stay up in the World Group and really stamp our position and start getting easier draws," Hewitt said.

"Nick has improved a lot in the last two years and he could be a good player.

"Nick's probably got bigger weapons than Kokkinakis but Kokkinakis has got a nice serve, good forehand, reads the play really well.

"Those two guys are probably on par. Kyrgios is a year older than Kokkinakis.

"It will be interesting the next year or so to see how they go."

It remains to be seen how long Hewitt remains active in green and gold.

Already the holder of almost every national record in Cup competition, Hewitt draws much satisfaction from 2013 which included a run to the Newport final and the Queen's Club semi-finals.

The season highlight was toppling world No 7 Del Potro in a night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open, where he not beaten a top 10 player since Pete Sampras in the 2001 final.

"I hadn't played on that court for a couple of years and he's (Del Potro) a top quality player, ranked 5 or 6 in the world and very hard to beat on his day," Hewitt said.

"He's that next guy pushing for a top four spot and he's won a grand slam.

"For me to beat him in a slam, where he's won before and back on centre court, it was just a great feeling.

"It was a night match as well, went five sets and it was an unbelievable atmosphere.

"I couldn't have written it better that night and I guess you appreciate it more because two years ago I didn't know whether I'd have that opportunity again because of how bad my foot was.

"That was the sweetest moment, individually.

"Obviously Davis Cup, getting back into the world group, that was massive."

Hewitt will contest the AAMI Classic at Kooyong from January 8-11 in preparation for the January 13-26 Australian Open.

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014


Twelve years ago today, one of the sport's most outstanding defenders and shot selectors, Lleyton Hewitt, first became No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Aged 20 years and eight months, Hewitt became the youngest player to reach the summit of men's professional tennis on 19 November 2001.

"Growing up, the three things I wanted to do were win a Grand Slam, the Davis Cup and get to World No. 1," Hewitt told 'No. 1', the coffee table book published earlier this year. "In the end, the World No. 1 was the last of the three.

"An even better achievement, I think, was the following year when I held the No. 1 ranking the whole year, and won the Tennis Masters Cup [in Shanghai] when No. 1 was up for grabs again."

The Adelaide native spent a total of 80 weeks at No. 1, before he finally lost the position to Andre Agassi on 16 June 2003. During his tenure, Hewitt had compiled an 86-20 match record and lifted seven trophies.

Agassi, who had a 4-4 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Hewitt between 1998 and 2005, admitted earlier this year, "I played Lleyton and I played him at my best. That guy was rough to beat.

"If you played him wrong, he was virtually impossible to beat. If you played him smart, he was still tough to beat. He was one of the greatest movers we've ever seen; a defensive player. He had a great transition game."

Hewitt won his first ATP World Tour title as a 16 year old at Adelaide in January 1998. He had already won the Davis Cup in 1999 and also captured his first major at the 2001 US Open, with a flurry of winners past Pete Sampras.

Afterwards, Sampras admitted, "The kid is so quick it's unbelievable. I wish I had some of those legs for this old guy. I lost to a great champion. You're going to see this Lleyton Hewitt guy for the next 10 years like you saw me."

In 2002, Hewitt beat David Nalbandian to become the first Australian to win at The Championships, Wimbledon, for 15 years. He finished runner-up at the 2004 US Open (l. to Federer) and 2005 Australian Open (l. to Safin).

But injuries to his knees, hips, hand, wrist, back and feet curtailed his peak performance days. However, his determination remains undiminished.

As a winner of 28 singles titles, including the 2001-02 ATP season finales [now named Barclays ATP World Tour Finals], he has just completed his 17th year as a professional.

He finished 2013 at No. 61 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

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Discussion Starter #4
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Hewitt: “The Grand Slams are the reason I still play the game.”

Lleyton Hewitt is in Argentina, where he will, tonight, face his friend Juan Martín del Potro on the pitch of Gimnasia y Esgrima, in La Plata. Yesterday, the two protagonists met with the media in Buenos Aires and they both had a lot to say.

In Hewitt’s case, it revolved a lot around his career, one for which he has no regrets, not even that of not having won the Austalian Open:

“I wouldn’t give up any Davis Cups or Grand Slams for the Australian Open“, said Rusty, “purely because Wimbledon means so much to me as it is, and the U.S. Open means so much as it is, and they’re special in their own way. I’d give up some of the smaller tournaments. [He laughs] I’ve got a few of those but the other ones are special. Sure I would’ve loved to have won an Australian Open but in 2005 I think I’ve got the toughest draw that I’ve ever had in a Grand Slam ever and was still able to make the final and lose to Marat Safin. For me, I don’t have any regrets.“

The “Older generation”

Coming himself from a great tennis nation, which has seen some of the greatest in the history of the game, and playing in a country which is also rich in tennis history, Hewitt was conscious of the honour he and del Potro have to be taking the court against each other, tonight:

“Australia and Argentina both have such a rich tradition in tennis. We’ve had so many great champions before us! So it’s an honour for, I’m sure, both Juan Martín and myself to be out there representing our countries and playing an exhibition match against each other. I think it’s great. You’ve obviously had so many great players in the past. I’ve played against the older generation, Nalbandian, Coria, and now Juan Martin obviously steps up and it’s fantastic that he was able to succeed in the Grand Slams at such a young age and for his country as well.“

And just how much does it mean, for him, to have been labelled an “enemy of the Argentinian players” for so long because of some epic Davis Cup battles? The recipient of the Newcombe Medal doesn’t hide it: it’s been heated at times.

As he mentioned this week: the Davis Cup is one of the most important tournaments for him, and during his prime (just like he does now), he was never running from a good battle for his country: ”I had a couple of runnings with Nalbandian, Chela, Coria, and we played some heated Davis Cup battles, but each one of us was playing for our country and wanted to leave it all on the court. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, especially in Davis Cup competition which obviously meant a lot to us in playing those matches. I still feel like I have a lot of fans here in south America when I have played here or even when I have travelled around the world and a lot of South Americans come up to me, which makes it easy for me to come when I get offered to come and play against Juan Martín here in Argentina.“

For the Slams… until the next injury?

A player whom Roger Federer admitted, a few months ago, to admire because he is now playing for the sheer pleasure of it, regardless of the rankings, the Aussie doesn’t hide that he has only one priority in the last miles of his career: “I’m playing as much as I want to play“, he said. “For me the Grand Slams are the priority. That’s the reason I still play the game. And to play people like Juan Martín on Centre Court at Grand Slams, it’s still a lot of fun for me to go out there and play those matches. And the smaller tournaments are sometimes harder to get motivated for but I just try to get as many matches as I need in the smaller tournaments before the Grand Slams.“

With a career marked by injuries, the former n°1 doesn’t hide that his next injury might push him into retirement. At 32, he admits that the road has not been easy for him: “Obviously when I was number one in the world at such a young age I really had no injuries for a long time there so my body was in great shape else I wouldn’t compete. Then when I got to 27-28 I started having a few surgeries. I had five surgeries in four years. That was the toughest thing to come back from.“

A fighter to the core, Rusty doesn’t hide that this fight is what he is still out there for: “I get asked all the time when I’m gonna retire but if I’m still able to go out there and give 100% and compete against the best guys around the world, especially in the Grand Slams, it’s what I play for now. Yeah, I still enjoy doing it.“

Can there be a better model than this older, battle-hardened Lleyton Hewitt?

Inspirations for an inspiration

His rival, tonight, never hid that Lleyton Hewitt is one of his idols growing up, for “his passion, his fighting spirit, and his attitude.” If del Potro has not taken after Hewitt as far as the game style is concerned, the Aussie being one of the best grinders on the ATP World Tour, who, then, are those who resemble him the most when it comes to game?

In other words: who are the inspirations of such an inspirational player?

“Rafa, obviously, with his “never say die” attitude”, admitted Hewitt. “He’s someone that I even look up to now. He never ever gives up, obviously. Doesn’t matter how he’s feeling out there. And David Ferrer is probably another one. Obviously he’s over 30 now but the way he still moves on the court. So there’re probably the two closest [to my game style].“

Even inspirational players have inspirations of their own…

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Discussion Starter #5
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Lleyton Hewitt motivated to inflict 'damage' on world's top-ranked players

LLEYTON Hewitt is as motivated as ever to inflict "damage" on the world's top-ranked tennis players.

Fully fit for the first time in years, the former world No.1 arrived in Brisbane yesterday for a two-day workout to begin his preparations for the Brisbane International.

The world No.51 is fresh and insists he can still take down tournament seeds, and he will have an opportunity to do so in Brisbane, which for the first time has secured Roger Federer in the singles draw.

More than a decade after he was the world's top-ranked player, Hewitt is driven to compete for titles and add lead Australia to one more Davis Cup trophy.

"Once the motivation's gone it's easy to retire," the Australian veteran said.

"But the opportunity to play in the Davis Cup world group, and the Grand Slams, is what I play for.

"I still feel like I can do damage in the slams."

It has been a hectic week for the 32-year-old, coming off an exhibition match in Argentina against Juan Martin Del Potro, several days of training in Sydney and then a whirlwind visit to Brisbane.

Hewitt is over the foot problems that have plagued his tennis for several years and is now able to throw his body into the conditioning sessions that once gave him the strength and endurance to wrestle down some of the game's greats.

"This year I've been able to go back to how I trained four or five years ago, when I trained pretty hard in the pre-seasons," said Hewitt who will train again in Brisbane this morning before returning to Sydney.

"I've been able to do pretty much anything."

Hewitt will play singles and doubles, with Chris Guccione, in Brisbane before turning his attention to the Australian Open.

He will share the billing at the Queensland Tennis Centre with six of the world's top-10 women, headed by Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka.

His Grand Slam commitments complete, the South Australian will join Bernard Tomic in a Davis Cup first-round tie against France in Paris.

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Discussion Starter #6
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Lleyton Hewitt laughs off idea of Australian Open swansong

THE thought of playing his final Australian Open in 2014 made Lleyton Hewitt laugh in Brisbane on Friday.

Then again, the revitalised former world No.1 can see the funny side of things after finally reaching full fitness for the first time in years.

Hewitt, 32, was the first to admit his only focus these days was preparing for grand slams and Australia's Davis Cup campaign. Yet Hewitt could not help but chortle when asked whether the curtain was drawing on his stunning career ahead of his 18th Australian Open.

"It won't be the last," he said of the year's opening grand slam during his visit in preparation for this month's Brisbane International.

"I can't see myself finishing at the end of the year at the European indoor tournaments.

"I am just going out there and enjoying it."

And he has heaps of fun planned for the Brisbane International starting on December 29.

Finally free of the foot problems that plagued his career for years, the world No.60 admits the thought of tangling with Brisbane newcomer Roger Federer was music to his ears ahead of the Australian Open.

"You don't want to play him early on but if you get into the weekend and get a crack at him that would be great," Hewitt said.

"He's still one of the top players and the No.1 seed here.

"He's still a benchmark for this sport."

Yet Hewitt has already received an accurate yardstick - and he likes what he sees.

Hewitt said chalking up top-10 scalps such as Juan Del Potro and Stanislas Wawrinka this year at grand slams had provided renewed hope ahead of 2014.

But he said the priority would be Australia's first appearance back in the Davis Cup's elite World Group since 2007, when they take on France.

"That's special, especially with my mate Patrick Rafter as captain," Hewitt said.

"But beating guys like Del Potro and Wawrinka - two form players in the top seven in the world this year - gives me a lot of confidence that over five sets I can hang with the best of them. "However, my goals are the same. World rankings are the least of my worries.

"I am not trying to get back into the top five in the world.

"I just prefer preparing for the grand slams and the Davis Cup.

"I would rather spend a lot of time with my family."

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Discussion Starter #7
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Hewitt's experience sees him through first round

On New Year's Eve, victory for an old-timer. Before 2013 had quite ended, Lleyton Hewitt started the 2014 season with a 6-3, 7-5 defeat of a future Australian star, 17-year-old qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis in the Brisbane International tennis tournament.

Playing his first ATP tour-level match, Kokkinakis was not overawed by the former world No.1, but faltered slightly in the middle stages of the first set, and then was unable to serve out the second at 5-4. as Hewitt ran through the last four games to win in an hour and 40 minutes.

Before a holiday crowd at Pat Rafter Arena, Hewitt was made to work for his round one success, and a second round appointment with another veteran, Spanish sixth seed Feliciano Lopez. But Tuesday night's contest was between the last great South Australian player and, surely, the next.
"It's nice to get through. First match of the year's always tough,'' Hewitt said.

"A couple of days ago I found out I was playing a qualifier, it could have been anyone. It's really awkward, obviously, playing Thanasi, he's an up-and-comer, he's got great potential, this is his real breakout week, in a tour event qualifying, beating quality players, so he's had a great week.

"He's only going to get better, and it's tough for me to come out and play my best match against a guy who's got nothing to lose. He obviously got a little bit tight in the big stages, the ends of both sets... In the end I was just happy to get away with a straight sets win.''

Wearing the type of backwards cap still favoured by Hewitt himself, the powerful 192-centimetre Kokkinakis served well for the most part, and was two points from levelling at one-set-all before Hewitt's experience proved as decisive as his own lack of exposure at the top level.
Still, there is much to be encouraged by, and look forward to, and Kokkinakis will travel to France at the end of the month for Australia's world group Davis Cup return.

Captain Pat Rafter has indicated that, just as fellow prospect Nick Kyrgios earned his debut in the September playoff by beating all-comers on the practice court in Poland, Kokkinakis will be given the same opportunity.

"He's our boy that we want there as water boy, but I think he's put himself in contention to actually be part of the team,'' Rafter told Channel Seven at courtside.

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Discussion Starter #8
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Hewitt's body and fighting spirit united as he dispatches fellow evergreen

Regardless of whether or not this is Lleyton Hewitt's farewell tour, the 32-year-old's next stop is the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International. After the second-round defeat of sixth seed Feliciano Lopez on Thursday night, only Romanian qualifier Marius Copil stands between Hewitt and his first semi-final in Australia since 2005.

''He's there for a reason, though,'' said Hewitt of the big-serving Copil, who upset third seed Gilles Simon with an identical 7-5, 6-3 scoreline. ''He's obviously won three matches in 'qualies' and then another two quality wins in the main draw, so you don't take anything for granted.

''I'm old enough to know that anyone can beat anyone on any given day, so I'll just do all the right things tonight, recover, and hopefully back up well tomorrow.''

Hewitt's mind has always been willing, but his body compromised in recent years by injuries, most seriously to his toe. He will obviously never scale the heights he reached more than a decade ago, but is still sustained by his thirst for the contest, and now powered by a body capable of carrying him along for the ride.

''I feel like I can last as well as anyone out on the court and I'm 33 in a month's time,'' said 60th-ranked Hewitt, one of 30s over-30s to finish the season in the men's top 100. Lopez, also 32, is another. ''So for me to be feeling this good, it's a good sign obviously leading into the Australian Open.''
Hewitt's finest tennis moments in Queensland have come in Davis Cup play, most notably on the so-called ''potato field'' that hosted Russia back in 1999, and only last year did he make his Brisbane International debut. But the follow-up to that second-round appearance is a place in the last eight, where success would carry Hewitt into the path of either Kei Nishikori or Marin Cilic for the chance of a berth in Sunday's final.

The 28th-ranked Lopez failed to close out the first set at 5-4, handing back the advantage with a double-fault on break point, and then serving two more from 30-all at 5-6 as Hewitt won four consecutive games to turn the match around. ''I really just tried to fight and hang in there and find some rhythm, and by the end of the first set I was able to do that,'' Hewitt said.

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Discussion Starter #9
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Lleyton Hewitt continues charge towards Brisbane International title

Lleyton Hewitt was the last Australian man to win a tournament in the season's opening week, and he could yet repeat what he achieved as an emerging superstar in his home town of Adelaide 14 years ago.

Hewitt reached the Brisbane International semi-finals by defeating Romanian qualifier Marius Copil 6-4, 6-2.

Second seed Kei Nishikori is next.
Some like it hot? Hewitt does - which is just as well, as Saturday is forecast to exceed 40 degrees.

Some said he would struggle to play tennis again after multiple toe surgeries? Hewitt demurred. As if.
Some wonder how Australian tennis will replace him when he's gone? He is going, still, and plans to stay for a little while yet.

The first element of a rare Australian quarter-final treble, Hewitt's victory preceded Sam Groth's 7-5, 6-4 loss to French eighth seed Jeremy Chardy in the Victorian wildcard's breakthrough event, and Marinko Matosevic's match-of-his-life opportunity against the incomparable Roger Federer in the evening session on Pat Rafter Arena.

Indeed, the first ATP tournament in a decade to boast three Australians among the last eight featured Hewitt as the common element.
As the 2004 Sydney International champion, he shared the quarter-final stage with Mark Philippoussis and long-gone former junior Wimbledon champion Todd Reid.

That was then. Now, times are leaner, but Hewitt endures, having finished the season back inside the top 75 for the first time in three years, fit to compete again after a career-threatening toe injury, and still scampering and bellowing and fist-pumping with all the vigour of his famous youth.

''I feel sharp at the moment,'' said Hewitt, who went down an early service break before working out and wearing down Copil's free-swinging game.
''Yeah, I feel like I've been able to do all the hard work. I did every training session that my trainer and coach wanted to put me through. Didn't miss a beat.''

The last time Hewitt started a season so successfully was in 2005, when he reached the Australian Open final against Marat Safin.

''I went all right that year in all three tournaments in Australia. It's been a while since the body's felt this good. I've been able to do a good hard pre-season November, December, and hopefully the results pay off.

''In reaching the quarter-final from qualifying, Copil has already won twice as many tour-level matches this season as in all of 2013, so the world No.147 can also be well-satisfied with his week.

So, too, Nishikori, who was forced to retire from last year's Brisbane semi-final, but feels comfortable in the country where his 2012 Australian Open quarter-final appearance stands as his best grand slam result.

''It's not like I love this condition, but I have to handle (it) well. It's hot weather, but I always play good in Australia. Plus, I feel a little bit home,'' said Nishikori, after ousting Marin Cilic in three sets.

Hewitt won the pair's only previous meeting, in the first round of 2011 Wimbledon.

''He's always tough to play. He doesn't miss much. Obviously he gives a lot of good things for the tennis tour,'' Nishikori said.

''Especially his home country, that's not easy, but hopefully I can enjoy the match... I really have to be aggressive and keep moving the balls.''
Hewitt will be ready.

"This is still why you play the game, to have a crack at the best guys out there. Obviously every match gets tougher. Nishikori tomorrow is going to be tougher again. Another step up in class. He looks it can hitting the ball well at the moment and really clean out there. It's obviously great preparation for the Australian Open, but I wanted to do well here this week. So far so good.''

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Discussion Starter #10
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Lleyton Hewitt downs Kei Nishikori to reach Brisbane International final

LLEYTON Hewitt will bid for a first Australian title in nine years on Sunday in the Brisbane International final and could finish his home circuit restored as his country's top-ranked player once again.

Hewitt's resilience and a Brisbane heatwave turned the blowtorch on Japan's Kei Nishikori, the world's No. 17 player, for a 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 win in their Pat Rafter Arena semi-final.

Hewitt, a fearsome and well-trained competitor even at age 32, took to draping a towel packed with ice around his neck after just seven games in temperatures measured at 42C at the Tennyson stadium.

But in the 2hr30min slog, the former world No. 1 was stronger than Nishikori, eight years his junior, as their Brisbane International match moved past the two-hour match mark.

"I love the battle,'' he said.

"It's a true fight, a one on one battle and why you do all the hard work.''

Hewitt will play the final Sunday afternoon against the winner of the second semi between Roger Federer, his career nemesis, or France's eighth seed Jeremy Chardy.

The 32-year-old is defending second-round rankings points at the Queensland Tennis Centre and so will make a jump from No. 60 when the new standings come out on Monday.

He will make an immediate charge at finishing the Australian circuit with the national No. 1 mantle, with Bernard Tomic (No. 51) defending champion points at the Sydney International, starting on Sunday, and third-round points at the Australian Open.

Hewitt last won a tournament in Australia in 2005, in Sydney, and his win over Nishikori means he has won all nine tour semi-finals he has played on home soil.

Hewitt's 2005 home circuit was a memorably rousing one, culminating in a heartbreaking four-set loss to Marat Safin in the Melbourne Park final, the closest he came to winning the Australian Open.

"You are a long time retired and mentally it's a massive win today to go the distance like that,'' he said.

"I feel sharp at the moment and I've been able to get a good pre-season in November and December,'' said Hewitt.

Under the shade at Pat Rafter Arena, the two baseliners had to contend with a blanket of hot, still air enveloping them.

As the first set wore on it was noticeable that Hewitt did not have the usual power in his legs as he stepped into his groundstrokes against an opponent eight years younger.

But in the second set, the Australian foiled Nishikori when the 24-year-old second seed held two break points at 4-all, hitting an ace and then benefiting from an error.

Nishikori was showing signs of fatigue and a rash of three backhand errors handed a grateful Hewitt the second set in the next game.

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Bulldog Hewitt downs baffling Federer in Brisbane final

The early clues for Lleyton Hewitt's stunning 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 upset of Swiss great Roger Federer in the Brisbane International decider on Sunday lay in the opening game on Pat Rafter Arena.

Federer lined up the most regulation of backhand slices, ripped downwards and came up with nothing but air.
He studied his racquet for evidence of gaping holes but the answer evaded him, as did his form in a crucial lead-up to the Australian Open.
It took just 27 minutes for Hewitt to win the opening set, dropping just one game and the jaws of almost everybody in the sell-out crowd.

This was a complete humbling nobody had predicted and Hewitt, a bulldog still, went on with the job.

Federer dug in his heels in the second set, wrestling with his own game as much as that of his opponent.

But when he fired three aces, then struck a sublime, dipping forehand winner, to close it out, it seemed as if he had finally flicked the switch.
Hewitt doesn't make a habit of going away.

Even though his best days are in the past, the 32-year-old remains Australia's leading man.
He could sniff ATP tour title number 29 and would not be denied in front of home crowd urging his every move.
Hewitt secured the crucial break in the fifth game of the final set and with the stifling humidy bearing down, must have felt the longer it went, the better his chances of outlasting his old rival, who was coming off a six-week break leading into the tournament.
The telling moment arrived with Hewitt serving at 4-2.

Federer had two chances to break back but Hewitt attacked on the serve, surviving a pair of break points before forcing the error on the Federer backhand.

Federer made Hewitt serve it out and the South Australian obliged, completing a superb week in the Queensland capital and sending his world ranking rocketing from 60 to 43 ahead of the first Grand Slam of the season.
"We've been through a rough few years. Five different surgeries and to come out and play this kind of tennis, I want to thank everyone," Hewitt said.

Federer said he would have loved to take out the event but felt largely satisfied with his hit-out as he plans his Australian Open assault.

"I've got a busy year ahead of me with a baby coming but I can assure everyone I'll try my best to come back," Federer said.
Federer might have known he was in for a long and strange afternoon when he managed to hit the on-court announcer in the head with a ball during the warm-ups and player introductions.

That was about as accurate as he got at the start of the match.
Federer's first set must rank among the worst he's ever played since taking command of his sport.
So wonky were his unwieldy groundstrokes that pundits were wondering if he had concealed an injury or ailment heading into the match.
But focusing on the woes of Federer does a disservice to Hewitt, who many felt had overachieved simply by making the final in Brisbane, let alone take it out.

He played aggressive, confident tennis and rattled Federer from the start.
For all of the talk about the next generation of Australian male players coming through, it's doubtful anyone bar Hewitt could have pulled off a heist like this.

It was 16 years ago that Hewitt tasted his first tournament victory, when he won his hometown event in Adelaide as a teenager.
All these years later he's at it again, taking his career tally against Federer to nine wins and 18 defeats.
Federer had looked assured and happy with his play before the final, not dropping a single service game as he cantered through the earlier rounds.
But defeat at the hands of the evergreen Hewitt must cast his Australian Open aspirations into serious doubt as the big guns start to arrive in Melbourne

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

A cautious Lleyton Hewitt pulls out of Kooyong Classic ahead of Australian Open

LLEYTON Hewitt has decided not to defend his AAMI Classic title at Kooyong this week, opting out of the round-robin event as a safeguard ahead of Monday's Australian Open.

The former world No. 1 will instead face Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in an exhibition on Friday at Kooyong.

Hewitt's decision is expected to be soon confirmed at a media conference.

Buoyed by a confidence-boosting victory over Roger Federer in the Brisbane International final on Sunday, Hewitt does not want to run the risk of further depleting his reserves ahead of his 18th Australian Open tilt.

The South Australian, 32, is likely to be replaced in the Kooyong invitational by Jordan Thompson.

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Lleyton Hewitt bows out in marathon match

Expect Lleyton Hewitt to be back, for he is adamant he is not finished, but the 32-year-old has departed the Australian Open at the first-round stage for the second successive year. In brutal conditions, Hewitt held a match point, but lost 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 7-5 to Italian Andreas Seppi. Farewell. For now, anyway.

The late-afternoon slot on Rod Laver Arena has been Hewitt's haunt for so long that only on debut, as a 15-year-old, has he played anywhere else. The times have varied, but never the attitude of leaving it all out there, and so it was again. The 32-year-old trailed by two sets to love and a break in the third before gritting and sweating his way into a fifth, the 53rd match in his career to go that far. Six times before, he has won from 0-2 down, but not this one.

Starting and finishing in 40-plus degree temperatures, it did not end until long after the evening crew, and the next generation represented by Bernard Tomic, should have already moved in. That, though, should have come as no surprise, for the former world No.1 is fit and sound again, and as determined as he ever was to eke all that he can from whatever time is left.

Indeed, a measure of how far Lleyton Hewitt has come along the road back from the near-oblivion of five surgeries and a ranking that had ballooned into the 200s, is the fact that the world No.43 started as a warm favourite to beat the No.24. But warm was not the day's keyword; try brutal, scorching, cruel, even dangerous, according to some who succumbed, fainted, vomited, or just suffered.

The match was the longest of the first round, lasting four hours, 18 minutes, and chair umpire Pascal Maria was forced to search for a last can of balls before the seventh game of the deciding set. It was, indeed, almost decisive in another regard, for Hewitt broke back for 3-4, as Seppi started to tighten, push his serve in, struggled to get the job done.

At his 18th consecutive Open, extending a record run that started when he was a young punk with attitude and a seasoned opponent named Sergi Bruguera, the South Australian was forced to save one break point at 4-4, and Seppi conjured an ace when match point down in the 10th game.

Hewitt's own ace count - 23 - was a career-best, and free points meant plenty on a day when so much else came at a huge physical cost.

It was when Seppi was ahead that the 29-year-old struggled most. The biggest test, naturally, came when he served for the match at 6-5 in fifth set, but he passed it, with three good first serves, and then a final forehand error from Hewitt. How bitter that defeat must have tasted, after coming from such a long way back. Not that he was ever going to fade away.

''It was a really tough match,'' said Seppi, who is more, and probably better, than he seems, and was not able to overpower Hewitt, but playing a controlled, efficient game, mostly doing what he had to against an opponent who was unable to conjure quite the same inspiration that had carried him to the Brisbane International title 10 days earlier.

''I was struggling at the beginning of the third set. cramps. I don't know how I played two more hours. Against Lleyton, you have to do this. He's such a great fighter, especially here in Melbourne.

''I tried just to stay focused on my game, and fight until the end. I was a little bit lucky. You need a bit of luck.''

Hewitt is due to return to the court, Hisense Arena this time, for a later-afternoon collaboration on Wednesday with his Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter.

It will be ridiculously hot again, and even in doubles, Hewitt will be absurdly tenacious, and competitive, like he always is, with everything. Good-bye for the moment. Bravo, as well.

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Lleyton Hewitt commits to International Premier Tennis League (IPTL)

Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt has committed to the tennis equivalent of cricket’s Indian Premier League, set to launch in November.

The inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) season, from November 28 to December 20, will involve teams in Bangkok, Singapore, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, plus one or two more yet-to-be-confirmed cities, at least one of which will be in the Middle East.

While Hewitt confirmed his involvement in Melbourne on Tuesday, organisers were unwilling to give away other names ahead of what they said would be player announcements in coming weeks.

But stars including Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Serena Williams have previously expressed some interest, with past greats such as Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi also reportedly interested.

Co-founder Mahesh Bhupathi, a successful doubles specialist, said players were excited about the potential boost to their earnings.

‘‘From a player’s perspective, players have been shouting about more prize money for a long time. This is a very positive impact for the players,’’ he said.
Teams must include between six and 10 players, with a salary cap of $US10 million ($A11.4 million) and minimum of $US4 million ($A4.55 million).

Each match will include one set each of men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles and legends’ singles.

The games will have no-advantage scoring and the sets will have tiebreakers at 5-5 to keep them short, so the five sets combined will take about three hours to suit broadcasters.

Teams will play each of their rivals home and away, before the top two play off to decide the champion.

Hewitt said the chance to play alongside legends and be part of a team environment, during what is normally the tennis off-season, excited him.
‘‘For me to get quality matches in the month of December, sometimes it’s very hard those first couple weeks going in before the Australian Open. In a lot of ways, it’s huge positives,’’ Hewitt said.

A draft will be held on March 2 in Dubai, with players to be separated into categories such as legends, icons and the future of tennis, each with their own pay scale.

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Lleyton Hewitt hits out at drug testing as Australia falls to France in Davis Cup tie

LLEYTON Hewitt went down fighting on the court, gave the International Tennis Federation drug testing procedures one of the biggest serves of the weekend off it, and refused to answer questions about whether he has played his last Davis Cup match for Australia.

It was a fitting end to Hewitt's typically combative participation in Australia's first appearance in the Davis Cup World Group in six years, played against France in the western town of La Roche sur Yon.

With the French winning Saturday's doubles to add to a clean-sweep in Friday's singles, the tie is lost and Australian captain Pat Rafter will rest Hewitt and give 17 year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis his first Davis Cup start in Sunday's reverse singles.

At one point in the hard-fought doubles match it appeared that Hewitt might yet get a shot at world number nine Richard Gasquet in Sunday's singles.

He and Chris Guccione came back from three games to nil down to take the first set 7-5 and rattle the French pairing of Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga but couldn't keep the momentum going, eventually losing 7-5 6-7 (7-4) 2-6 5-7.

The gritty performance in front of a vocal crowd at Vendesport stadium was vintage Hewitt, his never-say-die attitude lifting Guccione to the stage where Gasquet and world number 10 Tsonga appeared to be losing their way early in the second set.

But with Gasquet not confident at the net, Tsonga stepped up, holding back the Aussies with his big serve and athleticism. The rocking French boat steadied, Gasquet was spectacular from the back court and the tie was theirs.

For Hewitt though, the fun was just starting. For an unexplained reason the ITF broke from usual protocol and chose to drug test players midway through the tie rather than after the final match. The Australians were told they could not shower and forced to wait while the home team was tested first.

Hewitt was then directed to give numerous samples as his best efforts were judged to be unsatisfactory. After a wait of over an hour and a half the Australian team emerged from their dressing room stony faced.

Hewitt left a French TV crew in no doubt about his mood. He later told Australian media he found the process "mindboggling".

"I was happy with the way we played and left everything on the court but I'm disappointed at the drug testing and what went on behind the scenes," he said.

"It kept you guys waiting and us waiting. I've only been playing Davis Cup for 17 years. I've done a few drug tests in my time but to have to go three or four times and keep going all night is ridiculous. It's just not on. It should be done tomorrow, after the tie.

"Our two juniors (Nick Kyrgios and Kokkinakis) had to do drug testing literally before we walked on the court for doubles today and they weren't allowed to watch the start of the match, which is just a joke. I think the ITF have to have a good hard look at what they're doing."

With the soon-to-be 33 year-old Hewitt in full flight one brave reporter then asked if he intended to be part of the qualifying play-offs held later in the year to determine if Australia stays in World Group.

"Oh no, that's it now. I'm not playing any more, " he said, rolling his eyes.

Pat Rafter then entered the debate.

"Actually I was interested in that question too. I was going to ask the same question."

Hewitt: Were you?

Rafter: You'll be there.

Hewitt: Oh really?

Rafter: Especially if we go back to Uzbekistan.

Hewitt: Yeah can't wait.

Uncomfortable silence.

"Any more questions?" the French media director asked. There may have been, but nobody was game to ask them.

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Hewitt, too, has been physically compromised in recent times, having withdrawn with a shoulder injury one set into his all-Australian clash with Marinko Matosevic last week at Delray Beach.
Hewitt will rest and continue with strengthening exercises ahead of an exhibition next Monday in Hong Kong, with Indian Wells and Miami to follow.

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Lleyton Hewitt triumphs in "awkward" match with compatriot Matthew Ebden at the Paribas Open

Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt survived an "awkward" all-Aussie encounter at the Paribas Open Thursday, holding off Matthew Ebden 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-3.

Hewitt, who won back-to-back Indian Wells titles in 2002 and 2003, said all of his clashes with younger compatriots feel awkward now he is something of an elder statesman in the sport, closing in on his 600th career match win.

"It's not something I look forward to at all now, playing the other Aussies," Hewitt said.

"I'm trying to help these guys out now. I hit with these guys all the time."

In fact, Hewitt had to cancel a planned practice session with Ebden when the two were drawn to face each other in the first round.

The victory over the 26-year-old Ebden was number 599 for Hewitt's career.

He will get a chance to reach number 600 against 17th-seeded South African Kevin Anderson in the second round, but Hewitt places little stock in the milestone.

"It means I'm getting old, that's all," said the 33-year-old, who would become just the third active ATP player, along with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, to notch at least 600 match victories.

"Obviously, it means I've had a lot of success, but it's not something I'm focused on at all," he said.

Hewitt will likely have to step it up against Anderson to get that victory here.

He let a 5-1 first-set lead slip against Ebden, and also served for the match at 5-1 in the third only to drop his serve before finally putting the match away with a love game.

"Whenever I was up in sets I didn't put my foot down," Hewitt said.

Hewitt said he is still feeling the effects of the right shoulder injury that forced him out of a second-round match against compatriot Marinko Matosevic in Delray Beach in February after one set.

Hewitt said he had aggravated a shoulder injury the previous week in Memphis, and since Delray Beach had been receiving treatment.

"It's not 100 percent yet," he said.

"If it was a smaller tournament, I don't think I'd be playing."

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Athletic DNA Inks Lleyton Hewitt

Kirkland, WA (March 25, 2014) – Athletic DNA is thrilled to announce that two time Grand Slam singles champion Lleyton Hewitt has joined the Athletic DNA family. The partnership is focused on bringing Athletic DNA to a global audience while working to continue the success Hewitt has made with his C'mon Brand.

"I am thrilled to be in partnership with Athletic DNA, they are an emerging company and I look forward to helping them grow their brand world wide," said Hewitt. "I like the feel and design of the clothes, and that they produce children's clothing, therefore promoting tennis wear in a cool way to the younger generation."

Hewitt embodies the attributes central to Athletic DNA including focus, intensity, enthusiasm, respect, competitiveness, and excellence. He has been called the “the toughest competitor … ever seen," a “little mongrel” for his refusal to be beaten, and a "racquet-wielding Energizer Bunny”.

"Lleyton's name and body of work speak for themselves, he has been and still is one of the best competitors in the world. As we are growing ADNA the opportunity to work with Lleyton, who carries the core values of our brand, and can now send that message on a global level was important to us," said Evan Zeder, Vice President of Tennis.

The 33-year-old Hewitt has accomplished countless milestones throughout his career. He won the 2001 U.S. Open and 2002 Wimbledon singles titles, making him one of seven current Grand Slam singles champions. He is currently ranked No. 44 in the ATP World Rankings and holds the record as the youngest male to be ranked No. 1 in the world, a feat he accomplished at age 20. Earlier this month, he became the 21st player in ATP World Tour history to win 600 Tour-level matches and joined Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the only active players to reach that milestone.

Hewitt created and built his C’mon brand and it will become a part of Athletic DNA. Starting in 2015, the C’mon brand will make a much more prominent appearance on Hewitt’s gear.

"Seeing Lleyton's passion for the youth with his C'mon brand made the decision beneficial for both parties as ADNA has built our brand through the youth movement," Zeder continued. "The core of our business is working with and supporting youth sports, and having someone like Lleyton on board to grow that is a big part of our partnership."

Athletic DNA is an American sports apparel company. Founded in Seattle in 2007, ADNA has built its brand by focusing on youth tennis across the United States. ADNA has sponsored several male pros since it was founded, including Hewitt's coach and former player Peter Luczak, who was one of the original ADNA pros. The company released its first women’s clothing in 2012.

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Re: Rusty Articles and News 2014

Fully-fit Hewitt optimistic at French Open

Wimbledon remains the ultimate goal for Lleyton Hewitt but the Australian veteran is confident he won't simply be making up the numbers at the French Open.

Hewitt begins his 14th Roland Garros campaign on Monday or Tuesday and, for the first time in several years, has arrived in Paris fully fit and feeling capable of making his presence felt in the men's draw.

"The last few years I've come in really underdone and a couple of times it's been basically my first tournament back post (toe) surgery," Hewitt said.

"I haven't really given myself a chance of getting through too many matches and it was more about getting miles in my legs for the grass court season."

The 33-year-old says this year feels different.

"The body's feeling good and I've been able to hit a lot on clay without wearing myself out," Hewitt said.

"Obviously the bigger picture is the grass for me but I'm still enjoying (Roland Garros) and hopefully I can go out there and cause a few upsets."

Hewitt, equal third on the list of French Open appearances among active players, last won a singles match at Roland Garros in 2010.

His best performances at the slam played on his least-favoured surface are quarter-final appearances in 2001 and 2004 but it's often taken great claycourters to see him off.

He was eliminated by the king of clay, Rafael Nadal, four times between 2006 and 2010.

"Early on in my career it felt like I lost to the eventual winner nearly every time I played here," Hewitt said.

"I've missed a few (French Opens) through injury over the years but for the most part I've turned up and performed pretty well."

Hewitt, ranked 44th, has been dealt a tough first-up assignment in Argentine Carlos Berlocq.

The world No.48 beat Tomas Berdych in the final of a claycourt ATP event in Portugal last month.

"I've never played against him but he's a tough player, especially on this surface," Hewitt said.

A win could set up an intriguing all-Australian second round clash should Bernard Tomic pull off a big upset against French 12th seed Richard Gasquet.

Hewitt and Tomic have never played each other on tour but the veteran says he's not entertaining the idea at this stage.

"I'm blocking that out so whatever happens, happens," Hewitt said.

"I'd love to see Bernie get up obviously but he's going to have a tough one."

With Hewitt not defending any ranking points in Paris, some wins would likely help push him closer to the top 32 and possibly put him in the frame for a seeding at Wimbledon next month.
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