Hewitt shapes as Wimbledon dark horse
Always a dangerous floater in the Wimbledon draw, Lleyton Hewitt's rivals at the All England Club will be on red alert after his superb showing at Queen's Club.
Always a dangerous floater in the Wimbledon draw, Lleyton Hewitt’s rivals at the grasscourt Grand Slam will be on red alert after his superb showing at Queen’s Club.
Hewitt, 32, defied his age and ranking of No.82 to reach the semifinals of the London event before a tough three-set loss to defending champion Marin Cilic on Saturday.
Coming into the event on the back of a stop-start season with a 7-9 win-loss record, the former world No.1 was looking for some crucial confidence and game time ahead of his 15th Wimbledon campaign, starting Monday week.
He was able to get both in spades with a stellar run that featured upset wins over seeded players Juan Martin del Potro, Sam Querrey and Grigor Dimitrov.
The performance will result in a rankings rise for Hewitt, but only to around No.70 and still a long way from the 32 seeded players at the All England Club.
The fact he could land anywhere in the draw and the confidence taken from Queen’s, makes the 2002 Wimbledon champion a nightmare early-round proposition.
“I played great all week and I got better throughout,” Hewitt said after missing out on a record fifth Queen’s title.
“I don’t play that many matches, so the more matches I get before a major, the better for me.”
Hewitt called a medical timeout in the second set of his 6-4 4-6 6-2 loss to Cilic to receive treatment on his right leg, causing some concern about his fitness.
However he was confident it wouldn’t be an issue in a week.
“I was getting a bit sore and didn’t feel like I could move 100 per cent,” Hewitt said.
“It was just (playing) a few matches on grass, I think, and just a slight strain.”
While compatriots including Sam Stosur, Bernard Tomic and Marinko Matosevic finalise their preparations at the tournament in Eastbourne this week, Hewitt will focus on getting his body right and training.
“I will try and hit most days, I think, because – with the weather – you just don’t know,” he said.
“The court time that I can get is important.”
The Wimbledon draw will take place on Friday.