Let Lleyton decide when it’s time to go

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By Elie, Elie is a Roar Rookie

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    Lleyton Hewitt is temporary coming out of retirement for Australia's Davis Cup showdown with USA. (AFP PHOTO/Luis Acosta)

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    If there was ever a time to reflect upon the state of Australian men’s tennis, it would be now. Currently the hopes of Australia rest on the shoulders of controversial teen Bernard Tomic, Manrinko Metosevic, and up-and-comer Matt Ebden.

    Tomic, who has slid to 42 in the world, is the spoilt star sensation of Aussie tennis who never fails to stay out of the media’s sight, whether good or bad.

    Ebden on the other hand, has been viewed as the quiet achiever, a person who Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter describes as, “a player who is always willing to learn”.

    In the midst of this, one Aussie legend has been left out to dry. People say he’s had his time in the sun, and should call it quits. He begs to differ. That’s right, I’m talking about the Aussie terrier Lleyton Hewitt. Sound familiar?

    9/11 scarred the year of 2001, but that didn’t stop Hewitt from reaching the pinnacle of men’s tennis. He captured the US Open and the Masters Cup, thus earning him the privilege of being acknowledged as the best in world.

    A year later he followed the footsteps of his childhood icon Pat Cash and won Wimbledon. He also became the youngest world number 1 at the age of 20.

    But it’s not all been a glorious ride for Hewitt. He had that racial spat with James Blake in 01, then a verbal contest with Guillermo Coria in 2005, as well as the spitting and bumping incidents at the 05 Aussie Open.

    After a torrid time with his body, Hewitt earlier this year found himself languishing at 233 in the world. As a result, many stated that Hewitt was finished, a spent force, whose duty as a father had caught up with his tennis aspirations.

    In that case, what type of legacy has the South Australian left us with? A troubled star was always on the wrong side of the media and other players, or a fighter, a typical Aussie counterpuncher who refused to surrender and who motored across the court, retrieving balls with sense of passion and desire which never faded?

    In my opinion he should be remembered as the fighter, the stalwart who never failed to give 100%. For you see, those same qualities have enabled Hewitt revive himself.

    At Wimbledon in 2009, Hewitt turned back the clock to send Juan Martin Del Potro packing. Then in the fourth round, he produced a trademark comeback from two sets down to beat Radek Stepanek and enter his first quarter-final of a major since the 2006 US Open.

    Then a year later he conquered arguably the toughest task in tennis. He shocked Rodger Federer at the 2010 Halle Championships in Germany, a tournament in which Federer had not been beaten in his past 20 matches. This saw Hewitt snap a long and painful losing streak against the Swiss maestro, dating back to his heroic and pulsating victory in the 2003 Davis Cup semi-Final.

    This year alone at the Australian Open, Hewitt defeated serving sensation Milos Raonic at the 2012 Aussie Open, a tournament in which no one expected Hewitt to get past the first round, let alone set up a clash with world number 1 Novak Djokovic.

    In that match alone, few rated Hewitt a chance of troubling Djokovic. But again Hewitt defied the odds. He pushed Novak Djokovic to his limits by erasing a 3-0 deficit in the third set, winning it 6-3.

    Ultimately he succumbed, but his efforts were deemed to be the perfect way to close the curtains. He was sore, battered and forgotten but rose to produce a display that people could hardly forget.

    The tears dripping from his eyes after the Raonic match exemplified the pain he was in, but at the same time showed he had shut the critics up. He had run down Raonic on one leg and had given Djokovic his toughest fight. What more could you ask for?

    Even at the Olympics, where Bernie had a tournament to forget, Hewitt stood tall and gave Djokovic a fright. As always he fed off the crowd’s energy and thrived in the midst of adversity. Poor old Bernie was caught up in a tanking row, not only with John McEnroe and a journalist, but even Pat had a go at him.

    So “C’MON!” For all he has been through and achieved, let Leyton Hewitt decide when it’s time. Surely that’s fitting enough for a true legend of Australian tennis.

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • November 6th 2012 @ 1:38pm
      clipper said | November 6th 2012 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

      Totally agree, as long as he’s competitive he can keep going. Tommy Hass is 36 and going well and Federer is the same age as Hewitt and was No.1 last week. The behaviour of Tomic makes Hewitts indiscretions seem minor and even those aren’t in the rape, bestiality or assault category, yet you don’t see the apologists come out in support, and rightly so. History will look kindly on Hewitt – he never gave up and was always passionate especially when playing for Australia.

    • November 6th 2012 @ 4:13pm
      Bludger said | November 6th 2012 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

      Can we sack him? Not like cricket over in the tennis world, so I believe we are lumbered with him and his soapie gf for another January.

    • November 6th 2012 @ 8:43pm
      Sam said | November 6th 2012 @ 8:43pm | ! Report

      Ps if temperamental Topic can emulate Leytons on court deeds ill kiss his butt

      • November 6th 2012 @ 10:45pm
        Bludger said | November 6th 2012 @ 10:45pm | ! Report

        If he gets close to what the Poo achieved I would be surprised. The Aussie press needs to hang it’s head in shame, they have built this fella up too much.

        He is too slow getting around the court, not desperate enough and club level power in his shots.

    • November 7th 2012 @ 12:39am
      Matt said | November 7th 2012 @ 12:39am | ! Report

      Tomic at the Australian Open this year proved that he is capable of having a fighting spirit as he did in coming two sets behind to win in 5 sets against Fernando Verdasco. Also against Alexander Dolgopolov to win in 5 sets to set up a clash with Federer in the 4th round.
      But the second half of 2012 proved otherwise. He was lacking in energy and looked a second rate player who would be lucky being ranked in the top 120. Perhaps he will have a good look at himself and redeem himself and be the player is he is capable of. After all he does not reach the Quarter finals at Wimbledon 2011 and 4th round at the 2012 Australian Open is he is no good. There certainly is some talent but he needs to be prepared to put in the effort to get the results.

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