Where there’s a will, there’s a Hewitt way
It took the 31-year-old war-torn warrior Lleyton Hewitt to fly the national flag this weekend as both Bernard Tomic and the Australian cricketers fell in a lifeless heap.
Hewitt has spent more time on the operating table than the practice court in the last six years, but his bigger than Phar Lap heart has never been questioned.
He had to call on all of that tremendous ticker to beat Gilles Muller 3-6 5-6 6-7 7-5 6-4 in a tense 4 hours 35 minutes battle to move into the third round of the US Open at Flushing Meadows and a meeting with fourth seed David Ferrer.
Hewitt was gone for all money at least a dozen times with Muller dominant, but somehow the little Aussie battler managed to win critical points against the odds and a far more powerful opponent. He found a way to win.
Not so with Tomic, and the cricketers.
The 19-year-old Tomic has been hailed as Australian tennis’ next big hope. Heaven forbid.
With America’s favourite son Andy Roddick declaring the day before on his 30th birthday this US Open will be his farewell tournament, centre court was chockers in case his clash with Tomic was his game, set, and match.
It never looked like it with Roddick cruising home 6-3 6-4 6-0 in an hour 27. Tomic was so pathetic it prompted tennis legend turned television commentator John McEnroe to accuse Tomic of “tanking”, or throwing the match.
There’s no more derogatory an accusation in the tennis world than being dubbed a “tanker”. Tomic denied the claim saying he was overawed by the occasion.
Utter bollocks. If it’s too hot in the kitchen hang up the racquet and play draughts or tiddly winks.
The Australian cricketers weren’t nearly as bad as Tomic. But they turned in an amateur performance in Abu Dhabi, losing to Pakistan by seven wickets for only the fifth time in 25 meetings.
The Aussies set Pakistan 249 to win the 50-over ODI and promptly bowled an inexcusable 20 wides. Six of Australia’s eight bowlers used were offenders – paceman Mitchell Starc the worst with five, Glenn Maxwell with three and he’s an offie.
“There was a lot of dew on the ground that made for a slippery ball. But that doesn’t excuse our execution,” was how captain Michael Clarke described the 20 gifts.
Nor does it explain the plethora of rank long hops that were savagely dispatched with four sixes, and 14 fours.
So Lleyton Hewitt stands tall, the saving grace in watching Australian sportsmen in international action this weekend.
He is still the youngest male in tennis at 20 to be ranked number one in the world. A decade on and that fighting heart of his is beating just as strongly.
The cricketers, Tomic, and the Wallabies could all do with a “Hewitt-plant”.