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Discussion Starter #81
Lleyton Hewitt looks forward to retirement and spending time with family

LLEYTON Hewitt has a vision of a world without alarm clocks, pain, rehabilitation, airports and expectation.

At 34, Hewitt is a worn, remodelled version of the ruthlessly single-minded tyro who burst on to the international tennis landscape at 16.

Almost two decades on, Hewitt is ready for a new life. When he leaves his rented house sandwiched between the Wimbledon Village and All England Club at tournament’s end, it will be for the last time as a player.

If all goes to plan, Hewitt will help Australia to Davis Cup success before retiring at January’s Australian Open.

As with the majority of athletes who have been lauded and cosseted for their excellence, Hewitt has pondered the inevitable question: What happens next? How will he handle the void; the slow beat of normality after almost 20 years of gallivanting around the globe?

Surprisingly for the meticulous South Australian, renowned for knowing precisely where, when and with whom he has a practice session months ahead, the future is decidedly, and refreshingly, vague.

In response to the question of what he is most looking forward to, he says: “Just being at home with the family.

“Not to have to always think about training and getting your body right and all those one-percenters that you have to do to keep playing on the tour.

“Yeah, I haven’t fully prepared for it,” he acknowledges.

“Now I can just sit back and just chill out for a bit; enjoy not having to set an alarm and go to the gym, and do all the small things.”

Hewitt’s new world will initially revolve almost totally around wife Bec and children Mia, 9, Cruz, 6, and Ava, 4. The family will continue to live in the Bahamas.

Beyond that, Hewitt will indulge his passion for golf and beyond that, perhaps more television commentary. But nothing is assured.

He’s been called Australia’s Davis Cup captain-in-waiting, and it’s a role he wants, but he recognises that tennis politics is a strange beast.

“Yeah, we will wait and see,” he says. “Obviously I’ll be helping out Australian tennis in some way at some stage. I have tried to help out Bernie (Tomic) the last couple of years as much as possible.

“I have a good relationship with Nick (Kyrgios) and know Thanasi (Kokkinakis) really well, and we are playing doubles here and at Wimbledon, as well. I feel like I have a really good connection with those guys. They are quality players.”

Hailed by Andy Murray as one of the great modern era champions, Hewitt wants Australia’s vagabond tennis tourists to use his island home as a training base.

More immediately, though, Hewitt has unfinished business.

In 2002, as the world’s dominant player, Hewitt simultaneously held the US Open and Wimbledon crowns.

Boris Becker predicted a long and glorious reign for a baseliner who traded on lightning speed, deadly counter-punching and chilling instinct.

Then Roger Federer, six months Hewitt’s junior and a former doubles partner, happened along.

Since that unforgettable afternoon when Hewitt rode roughshod over Argentine David Nalbandian in 2002, Federer has proceeded to 17 major titles while Hewitt failed to add to his tally of two.

Injuries that would have ended the careers of others years earlier nearly stopped Hewitt — but never did.

The most serious was a foot operation in 2012, which required the reconstructive fusion of bones and the insertion of screws and a plate.

Then 31, Hewitt had to learn to walk and run again on a battered left foot. It almost beggars belief that he wanted to keep playing, let alone that he could win two tournaments last year.

The first of those came in Brisbane with victory in the final over Federer, no less.

It is a story of steely defiance and unshakable self-belief that continues to resonate even now, when it is obvious Hewitt no longer has the fleetness to combat stronger opponents.

With a 17th main draw appearance at Wimbledon in the offing, Hewitt has been a picture of snarling intensity on the practice court.

As ever, there is no margin for sentiment.

“I don’t think it will be that emotional,” he says of the curtain call.

“You know, just try and enjoy it as much as possible.

“I’m fortunate that not many people in sport get to go out on their terms, and I have always said that I wanted to, if the body held up and the opportunities were there.

“I would love to go out, obviously, on my terms. And, you know, so far it looks like I’ll be able to do that.”

How Hewitt copes outside the bubble remains to be seen.

He is a complex character who was as quiet as a church mouse at school but raucously funny around trusted company and the AFL footballers he admires.

Hewitt’s challenge is to find a new outlet for his passion.

“The motivation obviously for Australian Open, Wimbledon, and Davis Cup — yeah, the motivation is always there,” he says. “That’s obviously what I will miss about hanging them up.”

His career has earned him a place not just in the Australian but also the global sporting pantheon.

The youngest man to finish the season as world No.1 (he was 20 in 2001), he was twice world champion, won two majors, and holds just about every meaningful Austral-ian Davis Cup record.

For all that success, his abrasive on-court personality — which is completely at odds with his off-court nature — irked some Australians.

His trademark “C’mons” and fist-pumping spawned a generation of imitators, but were a jarring distraction for those more used to the measured gentility of Ken Rosewall, Rod Laver and Margaret Court.

Over time, and especially as injuries dulled his effectiveness, that perception changed: Australians began to glimpse another side of Hewitt’s persona and warmed to him.

Commentary with Channel 7 has helped Hewitt convey more of that natural personality, not to mention knowledge, with which those close to him are familiar.

Hewitt, the 12th Australian man to scale the sport’s highest peak with his victory 13 years ago, says that regardless of what happens next week he will leave the All England Club with pride.

“It’s kind of just a massive satisfaction at all the hard work over the years,” he says, reflecting on his landmark triumph.

“Even though I was young (21), I made a lot of sacrifices up until that point as well, to try and be the best tennis player I could be. It’s a relief, I guess, in some ways, too, that you can go out there and enjoy that, yeah. You’re a former winner of probably the biggest tournament there is in the world.

“To me it doesn’t really matter if you win it once or five times. And going back there as a member — it’s a pretty special place.

“This year, being my last, I’ll take more time to suck up the atmosphere, to take everything in,” he says. “I love going to Wimbledon. I always have.

“Being able to use the members’ locker room, to go there to practise, and to use the facilities is a privilege. The tradition and the sense of history is always there.

“I’ll go there to compete this year, and I still feel as though I can do some damage.

“But there’s no doubt this is a very special time for me and my family.”

Slated to succeed Wally Masur as Australian Davis Cup captain, Hewitt intends to return as often as he can.

“I look forward to coming back many times in the future — firstly as Australia’s Davis Cup captain,” he says.

“As a champion, you can come back for the rest of your life and have access to two seats on centre court.

“It’s an amazing privilege. This is the one tournament I wanted to win from the moment I started playing tennis. To be able to do that is an incredible feeling, and something that I will never take for granted.”

Revered for his aggression, speed and laser groundstrokes, Hewitt had no peer as he bridged the generational gap separating Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi from Federer.

HE spent 80 weeks at world No.1 and seemed certain to waltz to the 2002 Wimbledon title without the loss of a set — until encountering the road hump of Sjeng Schalken.

“I should have won the Schalken match in straight sets,” Hewitt recalls of four unconverted match points in the third set, after which he slumped to 2-4 in the fifth.

“It was the wake-up call I needed. I’d had pretty straightforward wins up until then against Jonas Bjorkman, Gregory Carraz, Julian Knowle and Mikhail Youzhny. I was in cruise control and it was the same for the first two sets and almost all of the third set against Schalken.

“I was killing him in the third set and had so many chances to get through in straight sets. Somehow, I lost the third set and then the fourth, and then I was down a break in the fifth.

“I remember hitting an unbelievable forehand winner on the run to break back and ended up breaking again before winning 7-5 in the fifth set. It was the turning point. I hadn’t looked like dropping a set, and I could have lost that day. It was a massive match.”

With Nalbandian and Belgian Xavier Malisse due to contest the bottom-half semi-final, Hewitt and Tim Henman were drawn to face off for a place in the decider. Hewitt says both players — who are good friends — knew exactly what was on the line.

Going into the match against Tim Henman, I was treating the match as a final because I knew the crowd would be on Henners’ side and he was in great form,” Hewitt says.

“I’d just beaten him in the Queen’s final and he was the most dangerous grass-courter left in the draw. The winner had to play Nalbandian or Malisse so there was a pretty good chance whoever won our semi would win the title.

“I returned unbelievably, my passing shots were perfect.

“And once I won a tight first set, it took the crowd out of the match. Henners threw everything at me — he was a bloody good player, especially on grass.”

Hewitt’s recall of the final, and the events leading to it, is characteristically precise.

“It was a strange preparation because Nalbandian and Malisse had to finish their semi-final on the Saturday of the women’s final and I was practising on Court 19 while they were playing next door on Court One,” he says.

“They were both really talented players and it was tough not knowing which one of them I’d play.

“Nalbandian won and I started to prepare to play him.

“On the morning of the final, I thought I warmed up terribly but ‘Stolts’ (coach Jason Stoltenberg) said I hit the ball pretty well. Before the match Newk (triple champion John Newcombe) came in and wished me luck and I think, by then, I’d got rid of most of the nerves.

“When the match started, I felt like I couldn’t put a foot wrong. I won the toss, chose to receive and broke him straight away. I went out there with the mindset that I wasn’t going to miss and it was pretty much a faultless match.

“I went up 5-2 in the third set and kept on telling myself at the changeover: ‘This is not over, this is not over’.

“I got to 40-love match point and for some reason tried to serve-volley first and second serve and double-faulted. I went back to the baseline for the next point and he hit a ball long and it was over. The feeling was unbelievable.

“I remember there were two rain delays — and a streaker. The chair umpire had to grab her. That was pretty funny. Overall, winning the title you’d always dreamt about was surreal,” he says.

“It doesn’t seem that long ago and it is something that will stay with me forever.”

1. Proposed to actor Bec Cartwright the night he lost the 2005 Australian Open final to Marat Safin. The couple met five years earlier at a Starlight Foundation charity tennis function. The Hewitts now have three children.

2. Regularly used Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger as pre-match motivational music. Jimmy Barnes’ No Second Prize is also one of his favourites.

3. Is a fan of the Ocean’s movie trilogy featuring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. Also likes American Gangster with Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington.

4. Counts Michael Clarke, Steve Waugh, Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist among his favourite Australian cricketers. Also enjoys watching India play.

5. Ten pin bowling, golf and paddle tennis are among his sporting outlets away from tennis.

6. Supports several charities including the Starlight Foundation and McGuinness-McDermott Cancer Foundation. Also was ambassador for the Special Olympics.

7. Would have pursued a career in AFL — ideally as a player or in a fitness-related role — if not for tennis. He is No.1 ticketholder at the Adelaide Crows. Former Crow Tyson Edwards and his wife, Mandy, are godparents to Hewitt’s eldest daughter, Mia.

8. His nickname, Rusty, stems from the National Lampoon series. The nickname was first coined by coach Darren Cahill who called the Hewitt family the Griswalds. The boy in the Griswald family is called Rusty. Hewitt’s parents, Glynn and Cherilyn, are both former top athletes. Sister Jaslyn was once ranked No.1 in juniors.

9. Often invites his friends from school days — he went to Immanuel College in Adelaide — to attend tennis tournaments. Several will be at Wimbledon. Hayden Eckerman, one of Hewitt’s schoolmates, was best man at the Hewitt wedding in Sydney.

10. Plays golf off a low single-figure handicap. Has previously played rounds with Greg Norman and Aaron Baddeley. He caddied for Norman at the Australian PGA.

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #82
He's an inspiration to me': Adam Scott's glowing tribute to Lleyton Hewitt after Wimbledon exit

Australian golfer Adam Scott has given close friend Lleyton Hewitt a glowing tribute after the veteran's Wimbledon swansong ended in heartbreak on Monday.

While most of Australia was asleep, Hewitt put in a typical fighting performance in a marathon five-set match against Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.

But despite the Australian's gutsy display that has been synonymous with his career, the 2002 Wimbledon champion perished in the final set after a four-hour slog, going down 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0, 11-9.

Scott, who asked Hewitt to come along to watch him while he was in the United Kingdom preparing for next month's British Open, described the 34-year-old as an inspiration.

"It's typical of his whole career, it sums it up," Scott said after watching Hewitt's dogfight against Nieminen from his corner.

"It's going to end here at Wimbledon today but we'll still see him play some more matches. I've been really fortunate to get to know him well the last few years. He's an inspiration to me. The way he trains at this part of his career is motivational to me.

"I've looked at him on the court, in the gym, where we train, it makes me want to work harder. He leaves nothing at all to chance. He works so hard and has one of the biggest hearts I've ever seen in sport."

Scott and Hewitt, who have been long-time neighbours in the Bahamas, have plenty in common.

Their both former No.1's in their respective sports, but Scott believes people have forgotten just how significant Hewitt's success was for Australian sport.

"He's been huge [for Australian sport]," Scott said.

"He's one of those guys who is just bigger than having an influence on tennis. He carried Australian sport for a bit there. We forget things really easily these days because we live in a fast-moving world but he's still the youngest bloke to be No.1 in the world.

"What he did when he came out in his career is unmatched so far. You think back to that, it's a hell of an achievement. He's played with that determination for 20 years.

"He loves it, I know it. It's his passion, it's everything to him. I've seen the way he works at it when he's not here. It's an inspiration to me, I just love being around the guy. He's so positive ... It's not a sad day, it should be celebrated."

Hewitt finishes his Wimbledon career equal with Roger Federer with the most appearances (17) at The All England Club, but he will almost definitely finish second with Federer likely to continue playing on.

The two-time grand slam winner said he spent a lot of time in the build-up to Wimbledon reflecting on his achievements.

"Yeah, as much as possible, I think," Hewitt said.

"Even yesterday I just went and sat in the stands of Centre Court, you know, just soaked it up and listened to music in there ... one of my close mates, Peter Luczak went in there, one of my coaches. He went off, and he sort of understood it was my time just to sit there.

"I've always loved the tradition of the game. I've never hidden that. That's something that I love being around.

"I'm fortunate that the Australian greats, we have so many with that tradition and history of the sport, especially here at Wimbledon. I love nothing more than catching up with the old guys and having a chat with them about certain stuff. I think it's great."

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #83
Davis Cup: Lleyton Hewitt’s parents reflect on son’s career ahead Australia’s clash with Kazakhstan

RETIREMENT-BOUND Australian tennis great Lleyton Hewitt did not admit to shedding tears after his last Wimbledon singles match this month — but the same can’t be said for his mother.

His parents, Cherilyn and Glynn, are in Darwin this week to watch the former world No. 1 contest what could be his final Davis Cup tie, against Kazakhstan, ahead of his 20th and last Australian Open.

The Adelaide couple, ever-present figures during Hewitt’s emergence as a teenager, were also on hand for his emotion-charged, five-set Wimbledon loss to Finn Jarkko Nieminen.

“The crowd gave him a wonderful, long ovation and I had a tear in the eye,” Cherilyn told The NT News.

“That was special, just because the crowd was so appreciative of him and applauding, and it sort of gave you goosebumps and was lovely.”

Cherilyn and Glynn leave most tennis spectating duties these days to Hewitt’s wife, former Home and Away actor Bec, and children, Ava, Mia, and Cruz.

But they were torn when asked to list their fondest memories of the dual grand slam champion’s career.

Glynn could not go past Hewitt’s Davis Cup feats, knowing what the competition means to Australia’s Davis Cup captain-in-waiting.

Cherilyn opted for her son’s breakout week at Adelaide’s Memorial Drive in 1998, when the then 16-year-old stunned the likes of Andre Agassi, Jason Stoltenberg and Mark Woodforde en route to the first of his 30 ATP titles.

That week began with his parents hoping he avoided the ignominy of losing without winning a game, and ended with Hewitt’s first glimpse of the limelight.

“I couldn’t believe the reception he got when he had to go to the airport for the Sydney tournament, after Adelaide,” Cherilyn said.

“There were journalists, photographers — it was almost like for a movie star … I will never forget that day.”

Neither expect Hewitt to play much before the 2016 Australian Open, although Glynn thinks Australia’s Davis Cup fate in Darwin could play a pivotal role in his scheduling.

“He’s still hitting the ball well; it’s just he probably doesn’t play enough matches to be match-hardened and win the big points when you’ve got to win them,” Glynn said.

“He may end up playing a few matches through the US summer, just with the view of getting some match practice before the next Davis Cup tie.”

Australia’s Davis Cup quarter-final tie against Kazakhstan begins on Friday and continues until Sunday at Marrara Sporting Complex.

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #84
Davis Cup: Lleyton Hewitt guides Australia into semi-finals

Lleyton Hewitt has extended his record-breaking Davis Cup career by at least one more tie, combining with Sam Groth to rescue Australia's 2015 campaign and vindicate captain Wally Masur's brave but contentious selection decisions in a stirring 3-2 quarter-final defeat of Kazakhstan.

Only once before, in 1939, had Australia recovered from a 2-0 deficit, and after dispiriting losses from young pair Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios on the opening day, there seemed little prospect of a sequel. Enter the fading veteran Hewitt and slightly unfashionable Groth, who doubled-up after Saturday's spirited doubles success to claim both of Sunday's reverse singles, and inspire an ecstatic group hug on the Marrara grass.

When Groth upstaged the Kazakh No.1 Mikhail Kukushkin in four sets, the scenario was tailor-made for his 34-year-old teammate, who is retiring next January, but stubbornly and passionately refusing to draw the curtain on his cup career quite yet. For their efforts, both can now diarise a September 18-20 semi-final, against Britain away or France at home. Bernard who?

Hewitt has won only one singles match while playing a limited schedule this season, but loves grass and adores playing for his country, and - for reasons of circumstance, mostly - the act of winning a decisive fifth rubber was one of the few gaps in tremendous a 17-year representative career.

"This is up there. I love a back-against-the-wall situation and that's what we had after day one. Everything didn't go our way over this weekend, but we had to rally together and find a way," a jubilant Hewitt said after the 7-6 (7-2), 6-2, 6-3 defeat of Aleksandr Nedovyesov, the world No.115 who was so impressive against Kyrgios on Friday but failed to replicate that level against superior grasscourt opponents over the following two days.

"I've always said some of my greatest wins are in Davis Cup, and probably all my toughest losses are in Davis Cup, so I'm going to enjoy this one. We've worked so hard to get ourselves in a position to be in the world group again, and you don't get opportunities like this all the time: a quarter-final, playing at home, obviously this is what dreams are made of, and we've given ourselves a chance to be in the semi-finals later in the year."

The selection decisions, though, were not unanimous. Masur admitted before play started that he, coach Josh Eagle and key adviser Tony Roche were "not all in agreement on who should play what on this fifth day", but that the call was ultimately his to make.

"I just want to say it was not the tie for the young boys this time. Their tie is coming, so just give them a bit of love, give 'em a hug," said Masur, on court, prompting orange boy John Millman to embrace a slightly uncertain but soon smiling Kyrgios.

"This is a good team, and it's only going to get better, so look out." To emphasise his point, Masur repeated: "This is a team. We did it as a team and we'll do it as a team in the semis."

Masur's preferred options, Groth instead of Kyrgios, and then Hewitt in place of Kokkinakis for a live fifth rubber, was communicated to the players late on Saturday afternoon. Both the Ks had performed below expectations on Friday, Kokkinakis having failed to adapt to the conditions, and Kyrgios admitting he felt drained and unprepared mentally after a challenging month. Judging by the number of racquets broken during and after Friday's match, the 20-year-old may - literally - have been ill-equipped, anyway.

Groth, in contrast, was buoyed by his first live rubber success in Saturday's doubles, after a successful English grasscourt season that culminated with a third round at Wimbledon against Roger Federer in which the Victorian was the only player not named Novak Djokovic to take a set from the great Swiss this year at the All England Club. Still, Masur made a huge call to replace the Australian No.1 with a journeyman who has never played a live singles, and also to call on a man who has won only one of his eight singles matches at Tour level this year for the contest that would decide the tie.
The captain said in advance that hindsight would prove him right or make him look silly. So, then. Right, he was.

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #85
Hopman Cup 2016: Two Australian teams to compete; Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Murray confirmed

FORMER Hopman Cup director Paul McNamee has slammed the tournament’s decision to trial two Australian teams this summer.

The mixed teams event will house two local teams at January’s tournament in a bid to increase crowds and interest at Perth Arena.

Retiring veteran Lleyton Hewitt will include Perth in his farewell summer tour of the nation, with the 34-year-old to partner Casey Dellacqua for ‘Australia Gold’.

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #86
Tennis: Season over for Lleyton Hewitt, but the last hurrah still to come

Hewitt aggravated a slight thigh strain during his final Davis Cup tie, last month's 3-2 loss to Britain in Glasgow, in which he and Sam Groth lost a high-quality five-set doubles rubber to the Murray brothers. The 34-year-old will not seek wildcards into any more official tournaments this season, and will resume training next month before swansong appearances at the Hopman Cup and then a record-extending 20th Australian Open.

In the meantime, the nation's most successful Davis Cup player will this week formally apply for the captaincy he was originally handed last January, before a Tennis Australia backflip prompted by criticism from several former players that led belatedly to a more transparent appointment process. Businessman Don Argus will head the interview panel, with applications closing this Sunday, and Hewitt still the overwhelming favourite to succeed interim skipper Wally Masur in the coveted courtside chair.

Hewitt's manager, David Drysdale, confirmed that the dual grand slam champion "had a little niggle" in his right leg after the US Open, where he lost to Bernard Tomic in the second round, and tweaked the injury during the doubles marathon in Glasgow.

"He still played extremely well, but he just thought it was best not to play again this year and get his body right so he can play well in January," Drysdale said. "It's just pulled up a little bit sore, so he's having a little bit of a rest at the moment and he'll get back into training in November.
"With the thigh strain he needed rest, so we've made sure he's having that rest now so that he can be fit for January, for the final hurrah. He's looking forward to it."

Drysdale said Hewitt would share his training between his Sydney home and the National Tennis Centre in Melbourne, and will make a brief trip to London to be honoured at the ATP World Tour Finals, where he is also due to attend a meeting of the former champions' advisory panel formed last year.

He is unsure if he will be required to present in person for the Davis Cup captaincy interview, but is prepared to fly from his home in the Bahamas to pursue a position he so badly wants. It is likely to be a small field, with Pat Cash – the most vocal critic of the closed shop that was opened to reveal Hewitt's original appointment – having publicly ruled himself out via Fairfax Media, Masur considered unlikely to apply for the permanent position and Paul McNamee also not expected to stand.

There are six Australian men in the world's top 100, headed by Tomic (21) and Nick Kyrgios (41). Sam Stosur shares equal billing with Tomic as the highest-ranked, ahead of Jarmila Gajdosova (97), although citizenship-pending imports Daria Gavrilova (37) and Ajla Tomljanovic (54) are also in double figures on the WTA's list.

Hewitt has slipped to 287th after a limited schedule designed to maximise his Davis Cup prospects led to a 3-9 record in tournament play, but two crucial victories in Australia's dramatic come-from-behind quarter-final win against Kazakhstan in Darwin in July. The fairytale did not extend to Glasgow, but the last page in a final chapter of tournament play remains to be written.

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #88
Davis Cup: New captain Lleyton Hewitt gives qualified support to Nick Kyrgios

Lleyton Hewitt has not always had the shiniest public image, and says he knows what it is to learn from one's mistakes. For that reason, and others, Hewitt believes he can help Nick Kyrgios fulfil his potential as a future grand slam champion and one of the game's most exciting young stars.

Hewitt, whose long-expected appointment as Davis Cup captain was confirmed on Tuesday, had been supported publicly and privately by Kyrgios to assume the role filled on an interim basis in 2015 by Wally Masur. After a troubled season, Kyrgios was left out of the semi-final team that lost to Britain in Glasgow, and said recently he would feel "a lot more comfortable" playing under Hewitt, who has been a mentor to the 20-year-old in recent months.

Asked whether Kyrgios needed to tone down his personality, or just be himself, Hewitt said: "He's got to be who he is to a certain extent. I don't think Nick realises how powerful his image can be. He is so good for the sport of tennis in so many ways if he can control it to a certain line because he brings so many different people to watch our great sport, and he does it not just in Australia but across the globe.

"And in some ways he is like a basketball player trying to play tennis, and it's a great image for our game as long as he does it in the right way, and that's obviously what we're trying to put in place with him."

Hewitt is in regular contact with Kyrgios, who is playing under the threat of a 28-day ban suspended for six months by the ATP World Tour. He received code violation warnings in his last three matches in China, and was scheduled to play German qualifier Daniel Brands in the Valencia opening round for what will be his penultimate tournament of a headline-heavy year.

"When I came on [tour] I didn't always have the best image out there, either, so it's about dealing with that and learning from the mistakes that you've made over time, and then obviously becoming not only a better person off the court but also a better tennis player as well, and Nick's, I think, really finding himself at the moment," Hewitt said.

"But he has massive upside, as well, and I think with the right people around him and the right team around him I think he can really improve the next year or two in leaps and bounds and hopefully hold up a grand slam trophy."

Hewitt, whose playing career will end after his 20th Australian Open, said he was pleased to be starting the season alongside Kyrgios at the revamped Hopman Cup, and plans to have one of his regular conversations with the Canberran later this week.

"He's got to concentrate on his job at hand and try and finish off the year strongly the next couple of weeks. But I've been in contact with Nick, anyway, about his game, for the last few months, ever since I was helping him through the US summer and obviously the US Open as well, and he's got areas of his game that he still needs to work on and become a better player, but there's tremendous upside with these young kids as well.

"They do have a lot of talent out there but I still feel like there are a lot of areas where possibly some of my strengths, that made made me as good as I could be ... if some of those small things rub off into their game then the sky is the limit."

The other problem child has been Bernard Tomic, who was dropped for the quarter-final tie as punishment for his Wimbledon outburst against Tennis Australia. Following a 10-hour stint in a Miami lock-up after being arrested on charges of trespassing and resisting arrest that have since been dropped, the 22-year-old has attained a career-high ranking of 18th.

"I think Bernie's matured a lot, and I think he's really on the right path at the moment," Hewitt said. "We've really seen him claw his way back - after those two tough hip surgeries it took him a little while to come back to play his best tennis, but for him to be now inside the top 20 in the world, he's at a career-high ranking going into the Australian Open, which we know he plays so well here in Australia, so I'm looking forward to helping Bernie.

"He has spoken to me a lot about trying to put a team in place that he can take that next step and try and get into the top 10. Plus with Bernie he's played so well in Davis Cup so I'm looking forward to sitting next to him on the sidelines and trying to get him to take that next step and actually beat the likes of Federer and Murray and these guys. They're the only guys he's lost to in Davis Cup."
Pat Rafter, Tennis Australia's performance director, expects Hewitt to be a fine captain/tutor, who has learnt from experience and will do his best to instil his own values in the emerging generation. "Hopefully as we get older we mature a little bit," Rafter said.
"I've gone through it; certainly, when I was coming through. Lleyton had to go through it as well, and Nick and Bernie are no different. So I hope in time [with] the maturity and everything that comes through that Lleyton can have a fantastic team and Nick and Bernie are well and truly part of that, I hope. "

Davis Cup: New captain Lleyton Hewitt gives qualified support to Nick Kyrgios

7,936 Posts
Discussion Starter #89
ATP World Tour Finals: Hewitt honoured ahead of Australian Open retirement

It was slightly odd watching Lleyton Hewitt flanked by John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Mats Wilander in a courtside line-up of tennis greats in London on Wednesday, but also a reminder that, for Australia's only grand slam men's champion of the 21st century, the difference between current and former is only an Australian Open farewell away.

The ATP's big screen tribute at the 02 Arena illustrated Hewitt in his many forms: from abrasive long-haired prodigy to the older and wiser head that his more closely cropped self has become; from the lad who, c'mmmoooon, even Australia struggled to love, to the two-time grand slam champion who bled for the Davis Cup cause he will soon captain.

Pat Cash, Hewitt's most recent Australian forebear as Wimbledon champion, led the appreciation society. "I really do think he's the greatest warrior I've ever seen on a court. He's been great for Australian tennis. Everybody respects Lleyton for what he's done and what he's achieved in his career."

Continuing the Australian flavour was former top-tenner Peter McNamara. "I've never seen a guy try so hard and work so hard to achieve what he's done. He deserves every tribute that anyone wants to give him. There's no other player that's worked that hard. He'll look back on his career and think 'yeah, wow, I gave it everything and look what I got out of it'."

Plenty. Including prizemoney of more than $28 million and the US Open and Wimbledon crowns among 30 singles titles in a career that housed him for 75 weeks at the summit after the 20-year-old became the youngest-ever season-ending No.1. The honour came at what was then called the Tennis Masters Cup, and is now the ATP World Tour Finals, to which Hewitt returned – briefly – on Wednesday.

He departed with a framed photo of a backwards-capped Hewitt in his prime, plus a personally labelled magnum of French bubbly – but only the recognition mattered, really. The aforementioned Australian voices were joined by Andy Roddick, another contemporary, plus the still-going trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. As you would expect on these occasions, kind words from all.

From Federer: respect. "It was incredible to see his rise in the rankings as a player, as a smaller guy, so feisty, to really change the game for everybody. Congratulations on an amazing career."

From Roddick, advice: "Be prepared, be mentally tough, fighting every time. Those are all things you can teach someone and show someone, and he's the example I would use. I have all respect for Lleyton as a player."

Nadal stayed behind after his straight-sets defeat of Murray to join in the ceremony, having acknowledged Hewitt's attitude and will to win as an "inspiration". The pair, although five years apart in age, held star billing on several long-ago Saturday nights at Melbourne Park, and share an affinity, still.

From another sport, Greg Norman weighed in. "He's someone who every young kid should look up to. If I was a father with a kid who was six, eight or nine years old today, I would actually make him watch what Lleyton has done and see how he has done it."

And finally from Hewitt. How did he feel. "I feel old," the 34-year-old quipped, having just watched the Nadal's renaissance continue with a 6-4, 6-1 defeat of Murray, that did not just build on his recovery but confirmed for the fifth-seeded Spaniard a semi-final place once Stan Wawrinka had despatched David Ferrer 7-5, 6-2.

Ever the game's student, and now a teacher. Hewitt noted the way his specialty subject has evolved from when he won the season finale, then the Tennis Masters Cup, in 2001-02. As, it should be remembered, the game's youngest. Such a phenomenon. And, for the father-of-three and all of us who have followed his every metronomic backhand and topspin lob, all so yesterday, yet also so long ago.

"I'm looking forward to finishing at the Australian Open but I won't be playing another ATP tournament," Hewitt said, acknowledging the ATP's tribute. "The tour has been such a big part of my life for so many years. I've loved absolutely every minute of it out here. Thanks to everyone for supporting me."

ATP World Tour Finals: Hewitt honoured ahead of Australian Open retirement

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Discussion Starter #90
Retiring Australian tennis champion Lleyton Hewitt believes Nick Kyrgios can reach his full potential in coming years

RETIRING tennis champion Lleyton Hewitt is confident countryman Nick Kyrgios can reach his full potential in the coming years and break into the world top 10.

The 20-year-old Australian made headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2015, from his racquet-throwing tantrums to his infamous ‘girlfriend’ sledge to Stan Wawrinka.

But Hewitt, who will work closely with Kyrgios in his new role as Australian Davis Cup captain, believes the world No. 30 has got what it takes to climb the rankings.

“He certainly can (reach the top 10),” Hewitt said.

“He really hadn’t played that many tournaments until last year.

“He can match it with the best guys in the world and on his day he’s capable of beating anyone.

“That’s the kind of power and talent that he has out there — it’s just a matter of doing that week in, week out.

“But the big thing with Nick is he likes playing on the biggest stages and the biggest tournaments, and that’s big for Davis Cup and grand slams.”

Hewitt said the pair had a respectful relationship, with the two-time grand slam champion playing a mentor role.

“I started working with him throughout the US summer,” he said.

“I feel like Nick and I have a real good respect for each other, I know his game pretty well (and) I know how things work.

“He’s obviously going to learn a lot over the next couple of years, but right at the moments he’s got a great platform to build on over the next three to five years.”

On his own career, which comes to an end at this month’s Australian Open after 20 years, Hewitt is hoping for a memorable finish.

“For me I’m such a competitor. I’m still going out there trying to lay it all out on the line and put on a good show,” he said.

The 34-year-old will team up with Jarmila Gajdosova for Australia Gold in his eighth and final Hopman Cup.

Their first assignment is against Czech Republic pair Karolina Pliskova and Jiri Vesely on Sunday evening at Perth Arena.

“I’ve played some pretty good matches in the past here,” Hewitt said.

“I played Roger (Federer) once and got a win over him, we were both pretty young at the time.

“Alicia (Molik) and I probably could’ve won it one year and I got the chickpox when I was playing bloody well.

“We were in the final and couldn’t play the final.”

For the first time in the tournament’s history, there will be two Australian teams.

Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova will make up the Australia Green team.

Australia’s last successful pair was Mark Philippoussis and Jelena Dokic, who won the event in 1999.

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Discussion Starter #92
Former Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt to play part in BBC's SW19 coverage of The Championships for first time

Former Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt is set to be a major part of the BBC's Wimbledon coverage of The Championships for the first time.

The 35-year-old Australian, who retired earlier this year, will be part of a team of analysts that will also include Annabel Croft and Jim Courier making their debuts.

Hewitt, who won at the All England Club in 2002 and was also world No 1, has been one of the successes of Channel Seven's coverage of the Australian Open in his home country.

Lleyton Hewitt to play part in BBC's Wimbledon coverage of The Championships for first time | Daily Mail Online

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Australia's Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt will help unveil the new-look No.1 Court at Wimbledon

Australia's Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt will help unveil the new-look No.1 Court at Wimbledon next month.

Hewitt, who won the 2002 championships, will join several former winners including John McEnroe, Goran Ivanisevic and Martina Navratilova in a test event for the court's new roof on May 19.
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