Wimbledon Hewitt’s best bet for Slam success
Following on from his fourth round exit at the Australian Open, Lleyton Hewitt had surgery to repair a torn labrum cartilage in his right hip.
The surgery is expected to keep the former US Open and Wimbledon champion out of action for three months.
It is the last thing that Hewitt needed following a somewhat positive showing at this year’s Australian Open.
Having attained straight set victories over his first three opponents, Hewitt ran into eventual champion Roger Federer in the fourth round, in what proved to be a difficult night for the Australian.
Despite playing a solid match, Hewitt was bested by an irresistible Federer in straight sets 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.
Although the 28 year old found himself totally outclassed for the majority of the contest, Hewitt should take heart from his showing in the third set.
Having been broken by the Federer serve, Hewitt immediately broke back and provided the world No.1 with some tight moments before succumbing.
Indeed Hewitt’s showing in the third set was perhaps the highlight of his tournament, as it demonstrated the Australian still has what it takes to ,at least, compete against the best players on the ATP tour.
Having been seeded No.22 at the Australian Open, Hewitt’s fourth round finish has enabled him to climb into 19th position on the ATP rankings.
The surgery on his right hip however will no doubt hinder Hewitt’s quest to perhaps break into the world’s top fifteen.
The former world No.1 will now miss a lot of key tournaments, including the critical ATP Masters events in Indian Wells, Monte Carlo, Miami and Rome.
If all goes well in his recovery, Hewitt may find himself fit for the Madrid Masters, which is just two weeks before the French Open.
Despite making the quarter-finals on two previous occasions (2001,04), Hewitt will not be expected to go beyond the first week at Roland Garros, due to the fact he may still not have approached match fitness in time for a major assault.
Those in the Hewitt camp however will be hoping the Australian is in peak condition for the grass court season, which culminates in the Wimbledon championships.
Many think this is the Australian’s best opportunity to go deep into a Grand Slam tournament, as emphasised by his great performance at Wimbledon last year.
Hewitt knocked out Juan Martin Del Potro in the second round in straight sets before defeating Radek Stepanek in five tough sets in the fourth round.
He was eventually ousted by eventual finalist Andy Roddick in five sets – a respectable loss given the American’s great performance against Federer in the decider.
No doubt Hewitt will draw immense confidence from his efforts last year to ensure yet another positive showing in the most prestigious tournament Tennis has to offer.
While another solid showing at the US Open is not out of the cards, Hewitt’s style as a defensive counter puncher has often reaped dividends on grass, as evidenced by his solid showings against Del Potro and Roddick.
If Hewitt can replicate his third set performance against Federer in this year’s Australian Open, the 28 year old will give himself every chance of bettering last year’s quarter-final performance at the All England club.
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