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Hewitt on verge of fulfilling a dream

Lleyton Hewitt has been dreaming about winning the Australian Open since he was a small child and now he's got the chance.
PTI | By Julian Linden (Reuters), Melbourne
PUBLISHED ON JAN 29, 2005 01:32 AM IST

Lleyton Hewitt has been dreaming about winning the Australian Open since he was a small child and now he's got the chance after beating Andy Roddick 3-6 7-6 7-6 6-1 in the semi-finals on Friday.

Hewitt has already won the Wimbledon and US Open titles but the 24-year-old has always wanted to win his home grand slam more than anything else.

The world number three wasn't even born when Mark Edmondson - the last Australian to win the championship - beat John Newcombe in the 1976 final but he did see Pat Cash make the final in 1988.

Hewitt was just seven at the time but he decided then to dedicate his life to going one step further than his childhood hero by winning the title.

"The Australian Open obviously means a lot to me. I think everyone knows how much I love playing here in Melbourne," Hewitt said.

"I have some memories of going out to Court 1 out there and watching (Ivan) Lendl and (Tony Roche) Rochey train early mornings out there.

"I used to go to a lot of Pat Cash's matches, Mats Wilander, they were my favorite players. Yeah, I saw a lot of tennis here."

Hewitt's parents used to take their son from their Adelaide home to Melbourne every year to watch the Open but he paid his own way in 1997 at the age of 15 when he became the youngest player ever to qualify for the tournament.

It wasn't the start he wanted. He was knocked out in the first round and his luck hardly improved the older he got.

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