Lleyton Hewitt still hungry despite defeat

Jun 27, 2013, 08:19 IST | AFP

Lleyton Hewitt fancies another crack at Wimbledon next year at the age of 33, saying he still has the buzz despite his age and rotten catalogue of injuries that would have seen many players give up years ago

The 2001 US Open champion and 2002 Wimbledon winner has been in good form since coming back from a radical toe operation, despite seven surgeons telling him his career would be finished.

Though he knocked out Swiss 11th seed Stanislas Wawrinka in the first round, Hewitt was beaten in the second by dreadlocked German qualifier Dustin Brown 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2.

Lleyton Hewitt plays a forehand against Dustin Brown yesterday

Hewitt underwent a radical operation in February 2012 when he had bone cut from the big toe of his left foot and two screws and a metal plate permanently locked in.

The surgery — and persistent problems since his comeback — meant his ranking had slumped to 233 by July last year but the World No 70 is now at his highest ranking since May 2011.

Hewitt confirmed he will have a pretty full schedule ahead of the US Open which gets under way on August 26, and will be spending the coming months in the United States for the hard court season.

Asked if he would be coming back to southwest London this time next year, Hewitt said: “Yeah, definitely”, adding that he “always” gets a buzz from playing at the All England Club.

“I don’t think it’s changed a lot in my 10 years or so on tour. The last 10 years, it’s still as physical as it was then.

“Certain tournaments are more physical than others,” he said, talking about the demands on his body.

“I wouldn’t call Wimbledon the most physical tournament out of the four majors, that’s for sure.”

Hewitt was one of six Australians contesting the men’s singles first round — the most since 2003.

He was joined by Bernard Tomic, Marinko Matosevic, wild card Matthew Ebden and qualifiers Matt Reid and James Duckworth.

Tomic is now the only one left, and faces James Blake of the United States for a place in the last 32.

Hewitt said he wanted to see those players push on into the upper ranks.

“They’ve got to take that next step and get into the top 20, top 25 in the world. Bernie’s obviously got the biggest chance out of that next group of guys.

“It’s good that a couple young blokes qualified here. We had a couple more in the main draw,” he said.

Sam Stosur was the only Australian woman in the draw.

The 14th seed is slated to play against Olga Puchkova of Russia in the second round.  

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