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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hewitt takes heart from progress

Photo Titled Hewitt points to the sky
Lleyton Hewitt tries to out-serve his quarter final opponent Andy Roddick.
Despite the disppointment of losing a top-drawer, five-set quarter-final against Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt reflected on a good performance overall at Wimbledon, which gave him hope for the future.

By getting this far in the competition, Hewitt is expected to break into the top 45 for the first time since mid-August. Hip surgery at the end of that month resulted in him dropping out of the top 100 by February, and he has been rebuilding his ratings since then.

But the Australian is looking ahead confidently to his next big challenge. “Obviously the US Open will be the next focus. For me it's just about getting my body right and being able to compete there again. It will be nice to go back to Flushing Meadows. It's one of my favourite tournaments.” The Australian won it in 2001.

Despite being conscious of his thigh at points during the match against Roddick, Hewitt was able to maintain the intensity through five gruelling sets. “I was a little bit sore stretching out, on my serve as well. That was probably the biggest issue. But still [I] was able to go the distance and go five sets.”

And the 28-year-old is bullish about his chance of surviving the rigorous requirements of Grand Slam tennis again. “I've had to put myself out there and try and play a lot of tournaments this year to get back in that routine of playing a lot of matches.

"Even though I lost this one today, I came through the tight match against [Radek] Stepanek and the clutch match against [Juan Martin] Del Potro. Even though I played a lot of those years ago, you still got to get back in that routine.”

As for Roddick's semi-finals chances, Hewitt struck a cautious note. “It's gonna be a tough one for Roddick to win. When I've seen Andy Murray at his best, he matches up extremely well against Roddick.

"A couple years ago I saw them play here because they were in my section, and Murray took care of him convincingly. And Murray's a lot better player now than he was then. Roddick's gonna have to play a hell of a match to beat him.”

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