Hewitt focuses on US Open after Wimbledon agony
Lleyton Hewitt is willing to put his body on the line again at the US Open as he tries to erase the painful memory of his Wimbledon quarterfinal exit to Andy Roddick.sports Updated: Jul 02, 2009 10:58 IST
Lleyton Hewitt is willing to put his body on the line again at the US Open as he tries to erase the painful memory of his Wimbledon quarterfinal exit to Andy Roddick.
Hewitt bowed out of the grasscourt Grand Slam on Wednesday after losing 6-3, 6-7 (10/12), 7-6 (7/1), 4-6, 6-4 to sixth seed Roddick in arguably the most dramatic match of this year's tournament.
The Australian trudged wearily off Court One after the gruelling three hour 50 minute marathon with nothing but aching limbs to show for his efforts.
He had suffered a thigh injury in the previous round against Radek Stepanek and seemed to aggravate the problem early in the Roddick match.
But Hewitt never worried about the potential damage to a body only recently recovered from a lengthy spell on the sidelines after hip surgery.
And he will do just the same at the US Open to underline his return to the sport's higher echelons.
"Obviously the US Open will be the next focus. For me it's just about getting my body right and being able to compete there again," Hewitt said.
"It was disappointing that I missed it last year. It will be nice to go back to Flushing Meadows. It's one of my favourite tournaments.
"It's a special place for me to go back to (Hewitt was the US Open winner in 2001). It's nice going back there not having to defend any points either.
"I guess for me it's more looking at the last phase of my career and trying to get as much out of it as possible, doing all the hard work over the next few years.
"Right at the moment, after the surgery, I knew it wasn't going to be easy to get back, it was going to take time. Now the body's feeling good. It's time to keep pressing on."
Despite the frustration of coming within a whisker of his first Wimbledon semi-final for five years, Hewitt saw nothing but positives in his run to the last eight.
His second round demolition of fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro showed his skills haven't been ravaged by the series of injuries that have blighted his career.
Then his recovery from two sets down to defeat Stepanek in the fourth round gave a clear demonstration of his enduring will power.
"There's a lot of positives to take out of it," Hewitt said. "The guys that I've beaten, especially the Del Potro match, the way that I actually went out there and took it to him. I played great tennis for three sets against a worthy opponent.
"Even losing to Andy, he's one of the best grass court players out there. He's been to a couple of Wimbledon finals, a few semis here as well. It's not a bad loss.
"It's good to know what I'm capable of playing like and the standard that I'm able to play over five sets against the best guys in the world in back-to-back matches in Grand Slams.
"It's just an extra added belief that I can go out there and know I can do it."