Australian Open

Hewitt hangs on for now

2015-01-23 10:49
Lleyton Hewitt (AFP)

Melbourne - Lleyton Hewitt is not quitting tennis just yet after his latest early exit from a Grand Slam tournament, this time in the second round at his cherished Australian Open.

The indefatigable warhorse, who turns 34 next month, faced the inevitable questions after he threw away a two sets lead to go out to fellow journeyman German Benjamin Becker in five sets on Rod Laver Arena late Thursday.

It continued a run of outs for the two-time Grand Slam champion and former world number one, winning only three matches at his last eight major tournaments.

Significantly, the Becker loss was Hewitt's fifth in his last six matches over five sets at Grand Slams.

Given it was his record 19th consecutive Australian Open - he lies just three behind American Jimmy Connors' record of 22 appearances at a single Grand Slam (US Open) - Hewitt is closer to the finish line.

But getting him to admit it is an altogether different proposition.

"I don't know. As I said the whole time, I haven't been kidding anyone, really I don't know," he told reporters after his latest loss.

"I've just tried to focus on what I've wanted to do, to get the best out of myself this year. I'll sit back and assess everything after this tournament."

Hewitt, who has been mentioned as a future captain of Australia's Davis Cup team, is looking to be a mentor for the country's three rising young guns - Nick Krygios, Bernard Tomic and Thanasi Kokkinakis.

"Obviously the Davis Cup is the next main thing. Now that we've got some guys playing really good tennis at the moment, it's an exciting time," he said.

Australia have been drawn to face the Czech Republic in Ostrava on March 6-8 and Hewitt is keen on his country's chances of victory.

"Yeah, we have a good chance to possibly pull off an upset away. That's the next focus," he said.

"It would be great to play when Nick and Bernie and Thanasi are possibly top 10, 20 players, you get a free ride winning Davis Cups.

"That ain't going to happen straight away. I've always said that for me to stick around in Davis Cup is to help these guys more as a mentor, teach them what Davis Cup's all about."

He added that Australia now have a lot of options in Davis Cup.

"It's a key I think to trying to win Davis Cup ties, especially in the World Group. You need options," he said.

"I feel doubles-wise I've played some of my best tennis in Davis Cup doubles over the last five, six years since I've really had to play doubles nearly every tie."

Read more on:    australian open  |  lleyton hewitt  |  tennis


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