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Hewitt takes the positives from Queen's exit

Lleyton Hewitt believes he is in good enough form to make a serious challenge for Wimbledon despite his early exit from Queen's against Andy Roddick.

sports Updated: Jun 12, 2009 11:51 IST

Lleyton Hewitt believes he is in good enough form to make a serious challenge for Wimbledon despite his early exit from Queen's against Andy Roddick.

Hewitt's hopes of winning the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event for a record fifth time were dashed by fellow four-time champion Roddick in the third round on Thursday.

Despite not losing serve to the second seeded American over two sets, Hewitt was beaten 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/4), ending the Australian's chances for further match practice on grass before Wimbledon gets underway on June 22.

But the 28-year-old insists he had enough time on the lush lawns of west London to realise that he is in decent form heading into the All-England Club tournament.

"I take a lot away (from this week). Not many guys are going to beat Roddick on this surface, there's only a handful of guys that have the opportunity if he's serving that well," Hewitt said.

"But I felt like I mixed it with him. It could have gone either way. There was only a couple points here and there.

"I was an early mini break up in both tie-breaks and couldn't just quite close it out when I needed to.

"But overall it's been a good week. Hopefully I can get a good draw at Wimbledon and see what happens.

"I feel like this week's been a positive week for me. I'm happy the way that I've hit the ball. Now it's just a matter of fine tuning a few things and being fresh and mentally ready more than anything."

It was one of those days for Hewitt, who had to endure a 15-minute delay after arriving on centre court before the start of the match while security guards searched the area for a bomb after a note was seen which claimed a device was posted in the grounds.

Nothing was found but he admitted it was a strange way to start just a big match.

"We weren't told anything. They just said that we had to wait, there was something going on," Hewitt said. "There obviously was a bit of a commotion out on the court. We weren't 100 per cent what was going on.

"During Memphis this year, (James) Blake and I were in the same situation. Someone had a heart attack in the crowd. It was very similar. To have it happen twice within six months is a bit weird.

"It's a bit frustrating to lose, but it's tough. Playing Andy you always know that you're not going to have a lot of chances out there."

Hewitt knows exactly what it takes to succeed at Wimbledon after winning the Grand Slam in 2002. But, after slipping down the rankings in recent years, he is no longer regarded as a favourite.

That mantle now belongs to Roger Federer, closely followed by defending champion Rafael Nadal.

Both Federer and Nadal will go into Wimbledon with no time on grass after Nadal pulled out of Queen's to rest his knees, while Federer opted not to play at Halle in the emotional aftermath of his French Open triumph.

Hewitt believes neither player will suffer greatly from missing out because they are both such strong competitors.

"I don't think it makes any difference. Roger's won Wimbledon when he hasn't played a grass court match before going into Wimbledon before, and Nadal is that competitive," he said.

"He's not going to play one of the seeded players until the third round, anyway, those guys. I don't think it's a big deal.

"Roger's in front but you have to put Rafa second very close behind. He's the defending champ. That's got to be in the back of your mind, and the back of Roger's mind as well.

"Nadal's the only guy who's beaten Roger on grass for five or six years now. Those two out in front and then the next couple, you know, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic and Roddick and a few others."

First Published: Jun 12, 2009 11:49 IST