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Hewitt to be Bjorn again
By Neil Harman
April 30, 2003

LLEYTON HEWITT will bypass another of the most significant tournaments in the world to make certain he is fully prepared for the six weeks when he feels he can perform a task thought to be beyond the physical bounds of the modern player.

The Australian, whose 75-week reign as world No.1 was brought to an end on Sunday when Andre Agassi won the US clay court title in Houston, has said he will not play the Rome Masters next week.

The lure of back-to-back French Open and Wimbledon championships is eating away Hewitt.

Even to contemplate such an accomplishment - last performed, for the third year in succession, by the extraordinary Bjorn Borg in 1980 - Hewitt knows he cannot venture to Europe too early and run the risk that his style, which calls for more output than any other player, will cause a breakdown in his fitness.

The Wimbledon champion intends to make his 2003 clay court debut at the Hamburg Masters, starting next Monday week and, the following week, he has chosen to spearhead Australia in the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf, his debut in the event.

By the time the French Open rolls around at Roland Garros, where Hewitt, 22, has not been beyond the quarter-finals in four attempts, he should have been exposed to the perfect amount of time on clay for someone of his physique and approach.

There are those who will interpret Hewitt's decision as another snub to the ATP's Masters Series, given he has been at loggerheads with the association for five years and is involved in litigation with them, a fall-out from a TV interview that did not take place in Cincinnati last year.

The message from Hewitt and his advisers is the player had long outlined his priorities for the season and he will not be diverted, however much the ATP has tried to market the nine-event series as the vehicle for the biggest and best in men's tennis.

Neither Hewitt nor Agassi played in Monte Carlo this month. Agassi will play in Rome, Hewitt will not and the two will reverse the situation in Hamburg.

"We have changed the schedule a couple of times because Lleyton's goals are Davis Cup - because he really believes with their draw and Mark Philippoussis's return to the team Australia stands a real chance of winning it back - and he wants to win a grand slam for the third year in a row," Hewitt's manager Tom Ross said.

"He is not conceding the French Open to anyone and he wants to retain his Wimbledon title.

"When he got back home (after three tournaments in the US in March and the Davis Cup tie in Sweden in early April) his doctors told him he needed a real rest."

The Times




I would actually love to see this happen. Although I don't necessarily consider myself a Hewitt fan, I do respect the way he really gives his best effort and really seems to love the game.
 

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I don't mind him winning the French provided he has a really tough, arduous draw that completely tires him out for Wimbledon and stops him playing his best there. A different Wimbledon winner, please!

Interesting to note that Hewitt is trying to emulate Borg's achievement with a similar style of baseline game - it seems that transferring a claycourt game to grass is the only way to get the double, rather than the other way round. Of course, when you consider that baseliners are now a far more prevalent feature at Wimbledon than they were during Borg's time, it makes even more sense that a baseliner is the one with the best shot at winning both Slams.
 

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I wonder, what is he smoking.. Winning French and W back to back? I would be surpsrised if he wins either. But that DOES give Agassi a chance to stay atop for longer.
 

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I don't think he'll win RG, Wibly - why not, possible (but then who tought Costa will win RG or David will get to Wimbly finals or Rainer to Aus finals).

(Basically the same as Becca said jsut in different words)
 

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I won't say he won't win it EVER (at least, not in this thread;)) because who knows what can happen in a year, or 5. But this year, unless he's been working his little behind off on the clay and is going to unveil the "new, improved" claycourter at Hamburg, then I don't see it happening... although, I'm sure that he won't be missing Canas as much as the rest of us ;)
 

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Well, his role model Chang won RG and RG only after all.. But if there is a surface on which dinkers are not going to do well, it is clay..
 

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thanks Hewitt!!! :kiss: so sweet of you to let my Aging Baldy stay on top for a mite longer. ;)

gosh, one more human gesture llike this and I might actually start liking you, you blasted potato...:kiss: :kiss:

back off proteus and angele! it's just a joke!!! :D :)
 
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