Heartbreaks galore but Lleyton Hewitt won't be rushed into retirement

Former world number one Hewitt, who was the champion in New York in 2001 defeating Pete Sampras in the final, went down 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 7-5 to Russian 21st seed Mikhail Youzhny in the fourth round.

Updated: September 04, 2013 08:31 IST
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New York: Lleyton Hewitt won't be rushed into retirement despite the 32-year-old suffering a heartbreaking end to his hopes of making the US Open quarter-finals for the first time in seven years.

Former world number one Hewitt, who was the champion in New York in 2001 defeating Pete Sampras in the final, went down 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 7-5 to Russian 21st seed Mikhail Youzhny in the fourth round on Tuesday.

He had been 4-1 up in the fourth set and 5-2 in the fifth before Youzhny claimed a four-hour win and a clash with top seed Novak Djokovic for a place in the semi-finals.

The defeat meant Hewitt's last appearance in the quarter-finals of any Grand Slam was still Wimbledon in 2009.

But just like five-time champion Roger Federer, who lost on the same Louis Armstrong Court the day before, Hewitt is not contemplating retirement just yet.

"No ideas," was his response when asked if he'd be still playing in New York in years to come.

However, he does recognize that the game has changed since a decade ago when he was world number one and also claimed the Wimbledon title to add to his US Open victory.

"Back then, the way that I moved on the court was pretty good. Obviously the way I counter-punched. The game is always changing as well the whole time," he said.

"I've played through a couple of different generations. You're always trying to work on certain areas of your game. There's a lot of bigger, stronger guys out there dictating play with their serve and forehand. It's 1-2 tennis."

Unlike the days when he would dwell on defeats for days, Hewitt now has other diversions -- he is married with three young children.

"Every loss still hurts, but puts everything in perspective, I guess, and your priorities have changed," he admitted.

"When I'm off court I still do absolutely everything I can to get in and prepare for matches as well as possible, but you don't probably dwell on matches quite as much because you have other things to worry about."

Hewitt also has another priority -- helping Australia regain their place in the Davis Cup World Group by beating Poland in a playoff at Warsaw next week.

Australia are 28-time champions but their last title came back in 2003 and they have been absent from the elite section since 2007.

It will be a tricky task with Poland boasting Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz in their squad as well as the respected doubles pair of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski.

Hewitt is already turning up the heat ahead of the September 13-15 tie being played on indoor red clay.

"It's going to be a tough tie. They chose clay, but I don't think it's their best surface. Janowicz is a quality player and I'm sure he's going to play because if he was that injured he wouldn't have played doubles here," said Hewitt.

"It was one of the silliest things I have seen."

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  • Maria Sharapova
  • Sania Mirza
  • Leander Paes
  • Mikhail Youzhny
  • Lleyton Hewitt
  • Tennis
  • Tiger Woods
  • US Open 2013

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