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View Full Version : Hewitt triumphs over negativity!!!


treufreund
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:08 PM
SORRY JAMES but after that guy screamed that Lleyton was a racist I could not go against Lleyton.

LLEYTON HAS THE HEART OF A TRUE CHAMPION and he proved the haters wrong!!!!!! :bounce:

wongqks
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:11 PM
well done Hewitt, it is a very diffcult match and you got through you shows you are a true champion, how classy are both players when they have that little talk towards the end

I hope Lleydon go all the way, he is truly the champion out there today

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:13 PM
OMG treu....you make me want to vomit sometimes.

Hi Quentin :)

Well done to Lleyton :)

treufreund
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:13 PM
James and Lleyton are great players and sports and don't hate each other but the press and the crowd especially want someone to crucify. Lleyton showed their asses!!!

treufreund
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:17 PM
VSFan,

sorry but what that guy said to Lleyton was cruel. The inability to forgive and the desire to crucify Lleyton is much uglier than Lleyton's UNCLASSY actions in the heat of the battle. The fact is that the linesman last year was being biased in his calls. (It's not a fact actually but a strong likelihood) Why was he doing that if he were not perhaps racist himself?

Lleyton ideally should have held it in but easier said than done when you feel that you have a chance to win your first Grand Slam and you feel that a person is ROBBING you of the match. Just like last night with Rusedski. :(

irma
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:18 PM
but after that guy screamed that Lleyton was a racist

James never said that:(

harloo
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:18 PM
Dont front Treufrend you weren't for James in the first place. It's not his James fault that Hewitt is viewed as a racist by some people. People scream out all type of things during matches, it's no big suprise someone said that considering what Hewitt did last year. Get over it!

James played his heart out, and gave the defending champion something to think about. Hewitt did a good job!

Good win for Hewitt! Congrats to Blake for a tough battle, and displaying class with defeat something a few players on the ATP need to learn.

Becool
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:19 PM
James lost? I can't believe it...

irma
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:19 PM
or you must be talking about somebody else

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:19 PM
I am one of the few to support Lleyton last year.....he felt like he was being discriminated against, and he stood up for himself. Applauds to him.

However, unless you were on the same spot as that linesman and know for a fact that he was blatantly miscalling foot faults, then you have absolutely zero right to say whether or not that linesman was being racist........that is called slander.

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:20 PM
BTW - this is like the only ATP match I have watched all year long...what a treat!

Cam'ron Giles
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:21 PM
Originally posted by treufreund
VSFan,

sorry but what that guy said to Lleyton was cruel. The inability to forgive and the desire to crucify Lleyton is much uglier than Lleyton's UNCLASSY actions in the heat of the battle. The fact is that the linesman last year was being biased in his calls. (It's not a fact actually but a strong likelihood) Why was he doing that if he were not perhaps racist himself?

Lleyton ideally should have held it in but easier said than done when you feel that you have a chance to win your first Grand Slam and you feel that a person is ROBBING you of the match. Just like last night with Rusedski. :(

What a f'ing idiot you are...My lord, is there any end to your bullshit?

TheBoiledEgg
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:24 PM
James just doesn't have the peeling qualities just yet, he's too on/off
and way too many UE's

there aren't many peelers left at all now :mad:

only Tommy Haas and Roger Federer will be able to Peel him but whether they make it that far is another story.

treufreund
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:25 PM
I would report you to the moderators for calling me that but fuhgeddaboutit cuz you know that what Lleyton did was wrong but his side of the story does not get told. The linesman was wrong and that IS important.

I would have been for James Blake in the first place but it was important for Lleyton to prove the haters wrong. And yes there was HATE in that stadium.

irma
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:27 PM
people screamed we want Blake:)
that was the only thing I heard!

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:29 PM
LOL....who are you talking to? Go ahead and report to the moderators this entire thread.........I ain't scurred.....

And since you always pull for the player that has a lot of hate surrounding them, I hope to see you pull for Venus and Serena because a lot of crowds are going to hate to see another all Williams final, and quite a few people will be hating Venus and Serena in the next few matches....

Just be consistent.....

rated_next
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:29 PM
Well done :)

Freefall
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:32 PM
Both guys did GREAT! Both showed a TON of class & 1st rate Tennis! :)

Let the haters choke on their hate.

Congrats to James & Lleyton on a SUPER match!! :D


Now, GO AGASSI!!! :bounce:

treufreund
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:35 PM
uh duh of course it was phony but I don't think James is exactly happy about the situation.

Irma, a guy did scream out "don't let him do it James, he's a racist." Hewitt was visibly hurt by that and lost several points in a row. To me this kind of situation is almost as ugly as the situation at Indian Wells. after that I just felt so bad for Lleyton cuz I honestly don't believe for one second that he is a racist . Believe me I have had that word thrown at me on this board and it's ugly and deeply offensive. People just don't get it. If you a racist at heart you CANNOT BE OFFENDED by being called one. It's a part of my ethical code that racism is INHERENTLY wrong. But these days everyone and everyone is taken to the nth degree to call people racist. And it's disgusting.


For my part I was wrong about "fronting". At the beginning of the match I was naively hoping that the good sportsmanship that both guys were displaying would keep the vultures at bay and that I could just enjoy the match but Lleyton is my fave and so I got on the defensive and wanted him to win so badly. I caved in to political correctness by fronting and that is the worst thing I could ever do. I suspect I am not the only one who does so. I am trying to be always completely honest even when people don't like my opinions and sometimes that is not so easy.

Cam'ron Giles
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:36 PM
Originally posted by treufreund
I would report you to the moderators for calling me that

OMG, how old are you? What a punk...:eek:

treufreund
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:38 PM
Yes I am a punk and proud of it, you freak!

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:38 PM
Good treu....you should always be completely honest with your opinions and then you have respect.....

Just be consistent.....you pulled for Lleyton because of all the hate.......u going to do the same for Venus and Serena?

Hulet
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:44 PM
Originally posted by VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Good treu....you should always be completely honest with your opinions and then you have respect.....

Just be consistent.....you pulled for Lleyton because of all the hate.......u going to do the same for Venus and Serena?

LOL - I can imagine what his/her reaction would be if Venus and Serena uttered the same sentence Lleyton did last year.

Originally posted by Freethinker82
OMG, how old are you? What a punk...

Not only a punk but a hypocrite too. I read too many of his/her posts where he/she called people worst that what you wrote in response to this ridiculous thread. I guess he/she has been reporting her own messages:o

treufreund
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:49 PM
I don't agree that people HATE venus and serena but at Indian Wells I did feel for Serena. :D

Don't worry I am not reporting to the mods. I have been called all sorts of names and punk is actually a compliment to me. :D

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Aug 31st, 2002, 09:54 PM
People do hate Venus and Serena......I have seen it first hand.....

One of my dad's friends said, "I hope those ****** girls lose."

Is that hate? I think so. You know there are people whose intentions are just the same in the stadium.......

But why won't you pull for V & S? And I'm not insinuating that you are a racist.......(cause I know you have a paranoia of that).

I just really want to know why you would not pull for V & S even if they have the same "hate" around them that Lleyton has.

Thanks :D

harloo
Aug 31st, 2002, 10:02 PM
Truefrend, I've noticed something about your posts. You are not genuine, and flip from one extreme to the next. Your opinions are mostly based on your own negative experiences which most of the time makes your accusations void.

Futhermore, don't act like Lleyton's slate is clean. Hewitt was expecting this since his last year fiasco. And maybe you are ignorant or something, but I don't see where you get off saying Hewitt was discriminated against when he outright said his racial comments in front of the camera. He created this mess, and I take it he doesn't care. He was unapologetic, and told everyone to f#@! off.

IMO, Treufrend you are fake. You are so outraged by someone saying something of that nature about Hewitt. However, if some deragatory remark about the sister's is said you are the first one to give that person praise.

I found that comment to be uncalled for from the audience member, however crowds do and say what they wan't and the players have no control over it. So, don't act as if it's something new, because we all have heard some pretty nasty things from alot of crowds.

villa
Aug 31st, 2002, 10:05 PM
Why are you lot even bothering to talk to truefrend....the guy talks from somewhere that isn't his mouth....:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

angele87
Aug 31st, 2002, 10:34 PM
I want to comment on this thread but I feel like I'd just be stepping in the middle of an arguement that really has nothing to do with Lleyton, James or the match today :(

Canek
Aug 31st, 2002, 10:34 PM
congratulations Lleyton, i am very happy because you have beaten in a great match, James, showing who is mentally stronger(again):bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

treufreund
Aug 31st, 2002, 10:47 PM
harloo,

it's not worth me trying to defend myself. I am fickle or sometimes write things before thinking. Of that I am guilty. But I know it's pointless for me to try to change your mind.

treufreund
Aug 31st, 2002, 10:49 PM
villa you are right, I speak from my heart which is sometimes dangerous around here. :)

Althea
Aug 31st, 2002, 11:18 PM
Treu
Why imply what the linesman's intentions were, yet be upset because others have made implications about Hewitts comments.
YOu seem to be hating on the linesman and not want anyone hate on Hewitt?

Also You feel for Jennifer and Hewitt because they receive so much hate, do you feel for Venus and Serena as well? (started to ask you this in the thread in GM about feeling sorry for Jennifer) but since you're feeling for someone being hated/seeminly being hated today to go ahead and ask.
------
Anywayzzzzzz........

What a game from both of these fellas!!
I rarely ever, ever watch the entire of any of men's games... so glad that I did so today (yes, the controversay did influence be initially):o

I am sooooooo proud of James ... He really played his butt off... well for the most part. At one point near the beginning, I thought it was all over for him but he came back strong, just not strong enough. He really gave Hewitt quite a run.

The majority of the supporters of James spent their energies rooting for James and not displaying any type of hate for Hewitt. So even if I wasn't in a questionable state regarding Hewitt's comments last year, I still wouldn't feel to bad for him as it seems that only one person in the crowd yelled out against him directly.

James thanked the crowd for their support and mentioned how it really helped him to make it as far as he did. Both James and Hewitt gave a little racket clap at various times when the other really made a great shot.

James said he did not want to be remembered simply for the incident regarding himself, Hewitt and the linesperson last year.

After today's match I'm sure he will be looked upon/remembered for the great challenge he presented to Hewitt today. Many will now look forward to him building on his game and becoming one of the tennis greats.
Hugs and Kisses James....

Like him or Dislike him Hewitt did keep his cool today.

Whoever missed this game, missed a great treat!

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Aug 31st, 2002, 11:20 PM
Treu.....why aren't you answering my question?

Scotso
Sep 1st, 2002, 12:46 AM
Get over it HATERS!

LLEYTON won! BALEE DAT!

Martian KC
Sep 1st, 2002, 12:52 AM
Congrats to LLEYTON!:D

Bella
Sep 1st, 2002, 12:56 AM
treufreund: What is "fronting"?

Viva
Sep 1st, 2002, 09:54 AM
Originally posted by jp
oh please "hate in the stadium" ? People were supporting James, period.

The little talk at the end was a bit fake, I think Hewitt want to improve his image in the US, not really having little talk with James. Since when do players start conversation right after the match?

GO JAMES, !!!

Actually Lindsay had a conversation with Serena Williams after their QF match. She also has had a conversation with Kim Clijsters at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon she had a conversation with Alicia Molik after beating her. Pat Rafter has had conversations with Andre Agassi and other opponents at the net.

Scotso
Sep 1st, 2002, 09:56 AM
It was James that initiated the conversation. And James himself apologized for the crowd. So, if James thought they were bad... well, you must be wrong, jp. ;)

irma
Sep 1st, 2002, 10:01 AM
james is just total class :hearts:

Viva
Sep 1st, 2002, 10:19 AM
See, when James initiates conversation it's good but when Lleyton Hewitt-devil child does it is questioned and seen as inappropriate!

ASTRID
Sep 1st, 2002, 10:33 AM
well done lleyton

James You are gorgeous !!!!!!!!

deftman
Sep 1st, 2002, 10:56 AM
Williams fans ,you guys must be ashamed if you are defending the crowds' behaviour yesterday.
Werent you guys complaining about the behaviour of the people at Indian Wells last year?
And werent you against Seles being booed at Miami 2 years ago?
Well according to them, Seles "deserved" to be booed that day.

I'll tell you what , that is completely wrong. You can always cheer "more" for one player than the other, like in the final of US Open 1999 , where everyone wanted Serena to win , but you must atleast "clap" sufficiently when the opponent wins a point!
Yesterday I initially wanted Blake to win, but when Hewitt won ,I felt a deep sense of satisfaction ,that the crowd was not succesful in manipulating the result after all.

I was reminded of FO 1999 when I saw yesterday's match. Whenever Hewitt won a point we heard some faint claps ,and when he won a set , some faint boos. However when James won a point ,the entire crowd arose and screamed their way into Hewitt's ears! I think it's completely unethical to jump on your opponent's errors ,and I was sorry to see the crowd doing that yesterday.
And what was worse everytime Hewitt was serving we heard slogans like "Go Blake Go!" ,which I am sure even left James embarassed for his fans.

I thought such behaviour was restricted just to the crowds at FO , Henman's fans at Wimbledon ,and Indian Wells ,but yesterday the crowds at NYC definetily proved that wrong :fiery:

I have always maintained that the crowd has every right to express themselves, but only under limits ,where it would not affect the perfomance of the player.I believe MINUS the crowd Hewitt would have won in 4 sets yesterday. The crowd at NYC definetily went over the top just like IW 2001 .I repeat ,cheering for your opponent's errors is not the right thing to do at all :fiery:

And I must say I have started liking Hewitt a bit more after yesterday . After the 4th set , I thought the crowd was going to help Blake pull a Henman , but Hewitt did hold his cool and won it 6-3.

tennisvideos
Sep 1st, 2002, 11:16 AM
Bravo to both players for a sterling performance. Great for the sport and the men's game.

These guys have moved on from the past, and it is a shame that some people can't (referring to some sections of the crowd and some of the posters on these boards). It is appalling to witness crowds like that one - it reminded me also of when Pat Rafter was mercilously (spell?) booed after retiring hurt one night in NYC a few years back. I mean, nobody should be cheering a player's faults & errors so passionately....

JP - as Viva pointed out, James Blake instigated the chat at the net after the match - and it was a wonderful gesture. I think James deserves the highest accolades for his performance and his classy behaviour on and off the court.

Kudos to Lleyton as well for such a gutsy performance in the face of adversity.

villa
Sep 1st, 2002, 11:17 AM
Deftman..the crowd wasn't particularly against hewitt..one man called out soemthing nasty that was it...the crowd cheered for blake but his american so it makes sense.....

No one should be coming in here making hewitt look like a poor victim of the crowd becuase apart from one person there was no hostility towards him..and even if what the man said was nasty hewit caused it upon himself and should face the negativity....
What he did last year was nasty....

lies
Sep 1st, 2002, 11:19 AM
Well said,deftman!!!!

there always going to be hewitt-haters,whether he does something good or bad.But I always wonder why they are waisting their time here ,at fan-threads:rolleyes:

Well done James and Lleyton!!!!:drool:

deftman
Sep 1st, 2002, 11:39 AM
I have seen several American vs. Non-American matches ,but the crowd has never stooped to the level of cheering for your opponents errors,which IMO is not only discourteous ,but also distracting. That is something that I have only seen in FO 1999 and IW 2001.
And there can be no justification for bad behaviour on the crowd's part. If you say he deserves it ,then probably Venus deserved her boos as she withdrew and had the money of the audience wasted in the IW 2001 semifinal.

I repeat ,no matter how much you hate a player ,you have NO right to try and manipulate the result, and make him lose.
You do have a right to hope he loses ,but not use cheering tactics to beat him down mentally and hope that he loses. Hewitt did an exceptional job standing up to the crowd yesterday ,and he definetily deserves lot of praise for that.

Hulet
Sep 1st, 2002, 11:48 AM
Poor Hewitt. I feel so sorry for him. :sniff: :sniff:

LOL. That lasted for two msecs. I can't stand him for more than that.

Originally posted by deftman
I have seen several American vs. Non-American matches ,but the crowd has never stooped to the level of cheering for your opponents errors,which IMO is not only discourteous ,but also distracting. That is something that I have only seen in FO 1999 and IW 2001.
And there can be no justification for bad behaviour on the crowd's part. If you say he deserves it ,then probably Venus deserved her boos as she withdrew and had the money of the audience wasted in the IW 2001 semifinal.

....

You forgot to mention CO2000 semi-final and final in montreal, where serena was boo-ed and her dfs and errors were cheered, or may be you didn't watch those matches.

BTW, it was serena, not venus, who was the target of much of the boos in IW2001 final.

Informative
Sep 1st, 2002, 12:11 PM
James is a great player but he needs to be much tougher mentally and also stop being so deferential toward his opponents. There is such a thing as being "too nice" when competing. In the final analysis it's not even whether the crowd loves or hates a player, but whether that player is willing to do everything in his/her power to win. Being perceived as a classy or friendly individual is fine as far as it goes, but ultimately what separates the merely good from the truly great players is their ability to win under even the most adverse circumstances. Sometimes I think James goes a little overboard in trying to curry favor with the crowd or even on occasion his opponent so that he is always seen in the best possible light. I think it's a mistake for him to be overly concerned with his "image" in this regard, and a fundamental misreading of what sports fans basic motivations are when they attend an event. In any event James's often stated desire to be "like Arthur Ashe" or a "role model" sometimes gets in the way of him expressing enough of the necessary "killer's instinct" that, let's face it, is absolutely essential if one wants to become a true champion. In this respect I must painfully admit that Hewitt (a person whose consistently boorish manners and behavior on court I despise, and who I personally have no doubt made a clearly racist comment on court last year in his first match with Blake) is still a greater player because he recognizes that to go all out and play to win, no matter what the external circumstances are, or what the crowd's general disposition toward him happens to be, is finally what makes a true champion. This is currently the psychological edge that Hewitt has in his matches with Blake and most other players in the ATP. I think James will eventually acquire this understanding and it will be the final determining factor that will allow him to truly compete well at the highest possible level in tennis, but until he does he will always be perceived as just a "nice guy who can't win the big matches." At some point Blake must realize what Venus and Serena have already discovered, often under great duress and considerable opposition--it's not enough merely to be someone who attracts an audience who perceives you in a particular way-- either positively or negatively--but you have to triumph and prevail even when everything is, or seems to be, against you. That's the one crucial aspect of Ashe's career and life that Blake doesn't seem to have completely understood or realized yet. But I have confidence that he will. In the meantime, James needs to learn from Hewitt (as well as Venus & Serena) that the crowd doesn't always need to be your "friend" in order for him to win. The irony of course is that in the case of Hewitt he will be learning a valuable lesson from a jerk. But that's the paradoxical nature of learning to be a champion. One can learn from even one's most bitter enemies how to truly play the game. When James learns this lesson in his mind his confidence will soar and he will no longer be so dependent on the transient illusion of "being liked" by the fans. After all even the late Arthur Ashe was hated by many tennis fans during his career, and who was more "likeable" than him?

Aloysius
Sep 1st, 2002, 03:42 PM
I noticed something: Why did the American crowd boo Serena in Indian Wells but support James in New York? Is no one allowed to be racist to African-Americans except white Americans? :rolleyes: There's not just racial discrimination out there but gender discrimination too. What a very strange world we live in.

For the record, I went for Hewitt from the start and revelled in the victory. The whole thing from last year was just a whole lot of people jumping onto something and making up their minds before they'd even bothered to step back and look at it from all perspectives. That's too bad.

I felt sorry for James Blake. There was a lot of pressure on him out there to beat Lleyton, the world No. 1 and defending US Open champion. He was not just fighting for his survival in the tournament, but supposedly fighting for the anti-racial discrimination cause as well. All the cheering that went for him was doing him just as much damage that was intended for his opponent. The crowd may have tried to distract Lleyton, but they were also distracting James. Lleyton has a towering mental strength that belies his size, so he was more than well-equipped to handle anything the crowd threw at him. James was relatively inexperienced in this department and probably would've beaten Lleyton had he the extra mental strength and fitness.

GogoGirl
Sep 1st, 2002, 04:10 PM
I'm w/JB on this one. I've moved on pass the Hewitt/Blake controversy.

I can never hold a grudge - because in the long run, it is not worth it. I believe in forgiving and sometimes forgetting. It takes too much energy to feel negative towards a person, place or thing. It saps some of the positive w/i one to dwell in the negative.

I've read several articles on the JB?LH topic this morning, and I must say - I fancy the one below the best.


http://www.miami.com/mld/miami/sports/3979674.htm




Posted on Sat, Aug. 31, 2002

Blake, Hewitt miles apart in class
By LISA OLSON
New York Daily News

NEW YORK - Look at him, mate. Look at - wait, where did Lleyton Hewitt go? That scrawny blond bloke across the net can't possibly be the world's most despised tennis player. He's too polite, too friendly. We keep waiting for him to bark like a lunatic, to call himself "Rock" as if he's a character in the Rocky movies, to leave burn marks with his glare.

The linesmen have been warned: avoid eye contact with Hewitt, because that merely sets him off, makes him salivate like a feral rottweiler. Let him pump his fists. Let him create a scene. But then his shot goes wide, barely, by the margin of a dust particle, but still wide, and he does not even raise an eyebrow when the call does not land in his favor.

Look at him, mate. Look at him touch his heart and wave to the crowd. They wanted to hate him, to verbally slap this temperamental Aussie for being such a petulant bore, among other things. One year ago, while playing this very same opponent at this very same tournament, he said some things that were either racist or just very ignorant, and they sure weren't going to let him forget it. But somehow, through smiles and random acts of sportsmanship, Hewitt throws them off-balance, leaves them charmed.

James Blake long ago decided even miscreants like Hewitt deserve forgiveness, another reason why Blake is smarter than most of us. There might not be a a classier gentleman in all of sports than Blake, which only made Saturday's third-round match at the Open all the more enticing.

Hewitt was quicker, his first serve lethal. Blake was skittish - he sprayed 86 unforced errors - but still took Hewitt deep into five sets, before losing, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Blake's most remarkable work would not be found on the baseline, or in any of those prolonged rallies that highlighted both players' athleticism. It was more sublime than all of that.

He made Hewitt seem likeable, and that's one heck of a triumph. Hewitt would not admit it - he's not inclined to delve too deeply into whatever it is that makes him roar - but surely he must have noticed how Blake carries himself with grace and class, and decided he might give it a go. What a pity if tomorrow Hewitt reverts back to that snarky infant who has used this Open platform to rant against the same tennis world that coddles and strokes him.

Hewitt has plenty of charisma; it's his character that seems lacking. He wants none of the responsibilities that go with being No. 1. He's all about fist-pumping, chest-smacking and jawing at officials, spectators, even his opponent. More than a few players have nominated Hewitt the player most likely to be found stuffed in his locker. He was born without the gene that ensures that Australian athletes be witty and charming. He boycotts the press, not a big loss considering Hewitt dropped out of school at age 16, and seems to view the world through the same prism as Jennifer Capriati. Fantastic athletes, but dim bulbs.

When Hewitt flipped out a year ago in the second round on these courts - screaming, "Look at him and look at him. You tell me what the similarity is," after a black linesman called Hewitt for two foot faults - his reputation seemed sealed. It was extraordinary not just that he uttered those words, but that he did not understand how they might be interpreted. Blake's gracious acceptance of Hewitt's apology drenched the heat, but not everybody has forgotten. A few folks taunted Hewitt on Saturday with shouts of "Racist!" After the match, when they met at the net and shook hands, Blake said, "Sorry about some of the crowd."

Here's a man who had just been bounced out of his home tournament, and he's the one apologizing? But that is Blake. He learned the art of sportsmanship on the armory courts on 143rd St., home of the Harlem Junior Tennis Program, and refined it at Harvard. At the same time, Hewitt was on tour, living in five-star hotels, blitzing through coaches, alienating his peers, answering to nobody.

They are separated by mere months in age, and millions of miles in class. "No worries," Hewitt told Blake, "I didn't hear much. I was pretty focused." He does have a remarkable ability to erase everything around him. Hewitt could block out the sun if he wanted. That is his charm. It's what makes him an exceptional tennis player, that and a competitive will that seems twice as big as his bony frame. He thrashed Pete Sampras in straight sets last year to win the Open, in front of a braying crowd hoping Hewitt might impale himself on his racket. His incessant yapping - "Come on! Come on Rock!" - only made him seem more of a loser, even when he had Sampras on the run.

That was Sept. 9. Hewitt remembers driving around Manhattan in a limo the next day, the trophy in his lap, the world at his feet. So much has changed since then, and even though his actions don't always show it, he's changed too. Look at him now, mate. His act has got a little bit of James Blake in it. You don't need to be a linesman to see the similarities.


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