Hewitt Looks At The End Of A Long Playing Career

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Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.

Lleyton Hewitt Tennis News

As he approaches the start of his 20th and concluding Australian Open, battle-hardened Lleyton Hewitt has confessed that he had no idea two decades ago how long he would last in tennis. “I didn’t think I’d be playing past 30,  that’s for sure. 30 years old – not 30 times,” 34-year-old former teenaged No. 1 said as he prepared for his last event before retiring and moving into the job of Aussie Davis Cup captain.

“If I wasn’t motivated to still go on and push myself, go on and do gym sessions by myself, hop on the practice court, I still wouldn’t be playing,” added the 1995 Melbourne finalist who lost to Marat Safin but who won titles more than a decade ago at Wimbledon and the US Open.

“That’s what’s pushed me the last few years. I don’t struggle for self-motivation, to get up early and do the hard work that no one sees. There’s no crowds or cameras around there. It’s just you in the gym or on the practice court.”

The national tennis icon added: “That’s one of the things I will miss, not having to go out there and push yourself day in and day out.”

Hewitt will start what he hopes is a long goodbye to his public at Melbourne Park when he plays fellow Aussie James Duckworth, a recent practice partner, in a first-time meeting.

“It’s obviously a bit surprising I haven’t played more over the years with all the wild cards that Australians get into the tournament, as well. I’ve been helping him the last few years. He’s been part of the Davis Cup squad on a number of occasions. He’s a great kid.”

As for how it will feel walking out on the Rod Laver Arena for every match to thunderous applause  – but with the possibility that any contest could be his last: even Hewitt is unsure of his emotions.

“To tell you the truth, I don’t know how it feels. A tad strange feeling, but I’m trying to soak it up as much as possible.

“It’s different in the fact that if you do go out then, yes, it is the end. But you got to try to block that out as much as possible. You could go through all the same emotions again two days later, as well.”

Hewitt said that over all, his game is ready to fire when the Open starts on Monday. “I feel pretty good, I’ve been really happy. I played pretty good in the Hopman Cup. Had the Fast Four in Sydney, which is a good hit-out. Played two really good quality matches in Adelaide actually.

“I just need to get that match toughness back, get into the routine of playing matches again. The last two weeks have been good. I had a good hit-out with Fed yesterday, hit with Murray this afternoon; hitting with the best guys.

Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.