I had to pinch myself, says Lleyton Hewitt after beating Del Potro
Eighteen months after undergoing radical foot surgery, Lleyton Hewitt admitted that he had surprised even himself with his five-set US Open win on Friday over 2009 champion Juan Martin Del Potro.
The 32-year-old’s 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-1 second-round victory against the Argentine sixth seed recalled his golden days, when the Australian was number one in the world and collected the 2001 US Open and 2002 Wimbledon titles.
“It’s an amazing feeling. For me, just going back in the locker room afterwards, I sort of had to pinch myself,” said Hewitt, now down at 66th in the world. Yeah, I keep going back to it, but a year and a half ago I got told I would probably wouldn’t play again with the surgery I had,” Hewitt said.
That surgery in February 2012 meant undergoing a radical operation which required bone being cut from the big toe of his left foot and two screws and a metal plate permanently locked in. “I must have seen seven, eight different surgeons worldwide. At least six of them told me to retire if you have it done. I’m very thankful that I found the guy that I believed in.”