London: Lleyton Hewitt insisted he still feels young at heart after the Australian recaptured his glory days with a surprise 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 win over Argentine third seed Juan Martin del Potro at Queen's Club on Friday.
Hewitt moved into his first ATP semi-final since Newport last year with a performance that brought back memories of his heyday when the former world number one won Wimbledon and lifted the Queen's title four times.
The 32-year-old is bidding to become the oldest man to win the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event, surpassing American legend Jimmy Connors, who lifted the trophy aged 30 years and 284 days in 1983.
Over the last five days, Hewitt has beaten the likes of del Potro, former Queen's champion Sam Querrey and highly-rated youngster Grigor Dimitrov.
Asked what kept him going through several years struggling with injuries and the resulting surgery, Hewitt revealed he still feels like a 20-year-old when he steps out on his favourite grass courts.
"With the amount of tennis I have missed in the last four or five years, I probably don't put those years on to my age anyway. I just keep telling myself I'm in my 20s," he said.
"In the back of my mind I knew I could still do it. If everything fell together I knew I could play well.
"Pretty much once I was out of the Australian Open, I was focused on this tournament and Wimbledon.
"Obviously there are times of the year I look forward to, especially at my age now and the stage of my career that I'm at.
"These are the times that I want to be playing my best tennis."
Hewitt made his Queen's debut as a 17-year-old in 1998 and lifted his first title at the event in 2000 when he defeated Pete Sampras in the final.
The Australian, who plays defending champion Marin Cilic in Saturday's semi-finals, can still recall how it felt to beat Sampras and he sees no reason why he can't savour the same sensation this year.
That would be a record fifth title for Hewitt, beating the total he currently shares with Andy Roddick, Boris Becker and John McEnroe.
"The thing I remember is beating Pete. It was a really hot weekend, which is surprising in London!" he said.
"I remember in the warmup the court being really quick and Pete's slice backhand was just knifing through and I thought I could be in for a really long day, but I played a great, clean match.
"I enjoy playing on grass, obviously and I really enjoy coming here.
"Cilic is going to be another tough one, very similar to my match against Del Potro.
"In terms of that I have had good preparation for playing him, but he's the defending champ here."