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From tennisweek.com :

Hewitt's Coach: U.S. Open Controversy Was Character-Builder<br />

Lleyton Hewitt By Richard Pagliaro<br />11/19/2001

An argument over a foot fault call — and the controversy it caused — ultimately helped Lleyton Hewitt step up to the No. 1 ranking, his coach <br />said. Before he beat Pete Sampras in straight sets to capture the U.S. Open title, Hewitt was at the center of a storm of controversy at Flushing Meadows.

During his second-round victory over American James Blake, Hewitt made what many received as a racial remark in arguing a foot-fault call against him. Today, Hewitt's coach Darren Cahill, said the controversy built character in Hewitt that helped him conclude the year as the Tennis Masters Cup champion.

"Every time Lleyton does something, it's front page in Australia," Cahill said. "But he takes the attention pretty well. He copped the flak at the Open and put his head down. He built a wall around himself and let nothing bother him, he kept his focus on our little group."

The 20-year-old Hewitt overcame a fierce fight from gutsy wild card Blake before prevailing 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in a U.S. Open second-round clash before an enthusiastically loud crowd at Louis Armstrong Stadium. Blake played brilliant tennis before crippling cramps caused him to vomit twice and restricted his mobility during the final two sets. The 2000 semifinalist courted controversy in the midst of the match with comments he made to the chair umpire that some observers believed was a comparison between the shared ethnicity of a linesman to Blake. Both the linesman and Blake are African American.

In the third set, Hewitt was hit with a second foot fault call in the third set when he approached the chair umpire and demanded the linesman be moved. "Look at him! Look at him! You tell me the similarity" Hewitt said to the chair umpire.

In the post-match press conference, Hewitt repeatedly denied his remarks were racially motivated.

"You can all think what you want," Hewitt said. "At the end of the day, I wasn't making a racial comment when I went out there. I went there and asked if the guy could be moved. I could have still gotten bad calls from the same person or other people who came on. I'm a very passionate player, I give everything I got. That showed," Hewitt said. I don't think anyone is going to be happy if you get foot faulted on a deuce point when you're serving at one set all and one-all in the third set. You hit an unreturnable serve, it's a late foot fault. It wasn't a racial comment at all. I treat everyone as equal."

Since that outburst and the controversy that surrounded it, Hewitt has seemed slightly more subdued on the court.

"That's a deliberate strategy," Cahill said. "He's always been a good kid, though some fans have not liked the way he's gone about his tennis. He's excitable and he enjoys playing, that turned a few people off. He's maturing more as a player now. He's not pumped up from the first point, he get fired up at the important moments, wins those points and get his focus back."

Though Hewitt made history as the youngest year-end No. 1 player since the ATP rankings began in 1973, Cahill sees plenty of room for improvement in his player's game.

"Lleyton's still got a lot of places to improve even as No. 1," Cahill said. "His serve could get stronger and he needs to put on a little weight in the next couple of years. He doesn't come into the net as much as I'd like at the moment. But he'll get bigger, stronger and faster over the coming years."
 

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[email protected]! I never knew you had a sense of humour. I always thought you were a stiff old geezer.
 

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Jrj: you have to be the most bitter sounding individual that I've ever encourtered on a message board.

I try carrying out a normal debate with you, and everything is negative. There is no bright side to anything.

Can you not even conceive of the possibility, that while he was being a total jackass, Hewitt's remarks may have been misunderstood?

He was implying the line judge was a racist. How does that make him one? While I dont agree with his actions whatsoever, I fail to see how they have made him the object of so many peoples hate.

The only way I see it, is that people always have to hate on who's at the top, and they use this as their excuse.

Regardless..he isn't going anywhere jrj, so you better stop watching ATP if you want to get rid of him <img src="eek.gif" border="0">
 

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Or maybe simply there was no footfaults?
 

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Another thought (I seem to have many lately..):<br />Maybe Hewitt should be more of a class act and just whip the ball at the line judge after the match.<br />Then he can blame his loss on the line judge at the end of the match.

Or he could just walk by the chair umpire and curse at them routinely, and let a call he doesn't agree with, lose the match for him.

Realize...all players have their faults and make mistakes. None is better than the other for it.

I fail to see why Agassi, who used to be the biggest misfit alive, is considered such a class act, and Hewitt is considered the anit-christ <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">

Despite that, I still have great respect for Agassi, even though I don't agree with everything he does.<br />So why is it so hard for you to do that?
 

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I don't understand that concept either, Becca. Agassi has done far worse things towards umpires and linesmen but they keep treating him like he is a saint. <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">

ys, so true. Lleyton hardly ever footfaults as he keeps a decent distance from the line all the time and to have it called on him time after time by the same linesman made it suspicious!
 

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How anyone could defend Hewitt is beyond me, it's fine if you want to root for a racist it's up to you. But when you start blaming race for your failures is called racism. If the linesman was white would he have said that, not only that but he lied later saying that when he said "similarity" he meant the same linesperson. <br />This is a great story for all the young kids in Australia and around the world,.. if your career is not going that great and you haven't been able to win the big one just use a few racist slurs and you'll turn it all around!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
LMFAO!!!! I'm pretty sure your the only one who got that message from his actions jrj.

<br />For the record.. we dont' know what Hewitt would have done had the linesmen been white, or any other race. Because he wasn't. So you can't say that Hewitt wouldn't have said anything otherwise, because then we're dealing with a whole bunch of "what if's" that we don't know the answer too.

I guess that children around the world can learn this lesson from Agassi: <br />If things don't go your way, and you lose a match, its OK to attack women.

Now isn't that idiotic? <img src="tongue.gif" border="0">
 

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I don't recall him Agassi using racism for any loses. If Lleyton is such a nice guy why did he get booed off the court in the match vs Blake?? I was there he definately got booed off Louis Armstrong that Friday afternoon.
 

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I also don't remember saying Hewitt was the nicest guy in the world? You sound like a broken record..<br />Quit putting words into my mouth please <img src="tongue.gif" border="0">

Just cause you get boo-ed of the court, doesnt say anything for you character. I could think of tons of examples where great players got boo-ed for either being misunderstood, or just hated by idiots who didn't deserve to be there in ther first place.
 

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what Agassi said compared to Hewitt is joke. Was there a big media frenzy around what Agassi said or Hewitt and why, because it showed one to be a racist prick.<br />Hey it's completely up to you if you want to root for and like a racist prick that's up to you, I don't like racists.

[ November 19, 2001: Message edited by: jrj ]</p>
 

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I'm sorry i disagree with both of you, i dislike both hewitt and agassi, i mean i have respect for both of their careers, but this is not rugby or hockey, this is a classy sport, not the wwf, and as people i have lossed respect for both agassi and hewitt.

they both have huge ego's and they both lack respect for people while they are playing the game.

Truth is if a wta tour player said the same thing hewitt or agassi say, they would be in a heat of trouble, i'm a male and i have respect for my girlfriend, i never call her anynames, personally i love steffi but what she sees in andre is blank for me, and layton hewitt looks like a polite pro. and acts like a wife beater or a red neck kkk member, he is always so negative on the court, what for, for having $$$$$, for having a girlfriend, for being a top 5 player, or having friends come on some people lost friends and money on days like september 11th and they don't bitch as much as andre and layton, personally i have no respect for this shellow assholes, who got it all and are always ungrateful, look at monica seles she got stabbed, she might not play in germany anymore, but that doesn't mean she goes to german players and says steffi you are the reason i got stabbed fu*k you or anke you are german fu*k you, instead monica is a classy lady who doesn't discrimanate, but leyton and andre will continue to be pricks.

So maybe next time leyton is on the court he can call some linesperson the n word, why does he have to discriminate, he could just say he's line call was wrong and not discriminate, and andre must enjoy beating women because everytime he argues with a woman he cusses her out and tries to hit her with a ball, real classy, agassi picks on women because he is a scared pu**y and layton uses diagotory describtion of races because he thinks he is better then everyone, pathetic pricks, i enjoy both of their games but they are both stupid shofenist pigs.
 

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I think Andre`s and Lleyton`s comments where dumb and insulting and both should have kept their big mouths those days, but at least Andre didn`t go out there and said that he didn`t do it or meant something different and of course he was in a mental crisis like he always is when things in his private life a changing(but that a different story <img src="wink.gif" border="0"> )
 

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Discussion Starter #18
irma: Acutally I do recall reading Andre denying that he shot the ball at the lineswomen. He insisted that he was just hitting it away, and it was a coincidence that it hit her.

REgardless....I dont condone eithers stupid behavior.. I just dont see how people can hate them for it. They are human too <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
 

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Firstly, Agassi and Hewitt are by far my two least favorite players. I don't really like Kuerten either, but part of me was actually hoping that he'd beat Kafelnikov (my favorite player) so I can grasp the slimmest hope of Kuerten ending number 1 instead of those two. Even though it was at home and possibly his last ATP match, I was also hoping that Rafter would have to pull out so Haas could play, as I think Haas had the best chance out of all of them to beat Hewitt. I was so disgusted with the prospect of Hewitt being praised as the #1 player that I didn't even watch the masters as soon as Kafelnikov lost.

That being said, I happen to believe Hewitt when he said that there was nothing racial meant by the comment. His exact comment was "look at him, look at him. You tell me the similarity." The whole time pointing at the linesman. The two "look at him"s were said exactly the same way. When people speak referring to two things, normally they would put a conjunctive (and, or, but, etc.) between the two phrases and/or change the inflections/tone in the second phrase. All his bodily and speech mannerisms indicated that he was only referring to one person (just the linesperson, as opposed to both the linesperson and Blake). I think what he meant was "look at all my double faults. The only thing in common was that they were made by the same linesperson. If I was really doublefaulting, don't you think that another linesperson would have seen it too? That particular linesperson obviously isn't doing a good job".

On this one issue, I'm going to have to side with Hewitt. It was way misinterpreted and blown out of proportion. I happen to think that there are plenty of things to loathe about the guy without jumping to conclusions.
 
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