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Lleyton Hewitt

Lleyton Hewitt
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Lleyton Glynn Hewitt (born February 24, 1981, Adelaide, Australia), is a former World No. 1 tennis player from Australia. His career best achievements are winning the 2001 U.S. Open and 2002 Wimbledon men's singles titles. Hewitt is known for his competitiveness on the court as well as battles with the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) off court. Hewitt has been fined on one occasion for not attending a press conference.
Hewitt wins most of his matches with relentless aggression, fitness, consistent shots, and highly skilled footwork. His serve improved greatly in 2004 and 2005. Hewitt spent much time in the late stages of 2004 working with his coach Roger Rasheed on bulking up his physique. His hard work paid off after he made it to the final of the 2005 Australian Open, before falling to Marat Safin. Hewitt is considered among the top players of the past 10 years. He is well supported by the Australian cheer squad The Fanatics.
Born in Adelaide, South Australia, Hewitt might well have followed in the footsteps of his Australian rules football-playing father. Instead, he became one of the youngest winners of an ATP tournament when, as an almost unknown youngster, he won the 1998 Adelaide International, defeating Andre Agassi in the semifinals. Only Aaron Krickstein winning Tel Aviv in 1983 and Michael Chang winning San Francisco in 1988 were younger when claiming their first ATP title. Over the next two years, Hewitt surged in the world rankings and on November 19, 2001, he became the youngest male ever to be ranked number one (20 years old). He stayed No. 1 until June 16, 2003, a streak of 64 weeks. After two weeks of being No. 2, he returned as No. 1 for four weeks. Since then, his highest ranking has been No. 2. Hewitt's intense demeanour on court and characteristic shouts of "COME ON!" when winning a crucial point have won him detractors as well as fans. During this time, he developed a "bad boy" reputation. After winning a Davis Cup match, when Yevgeny Kafelnikov had vowed to teach Hewitt a lesson, the latter said he'd enjoyed "sticking it to somebody who mouths off." In January 2000, while competing in a home town event, he played against a fellow townsman. Upset after being heckled by members of the crowd when he disputed a line call, Hewitt claimed that he could not believe some people in the crowd were cheering for his opponent against him. "It's weird, but I think that's just the stupidity of the Australian public; you always knock the better players," Hewitt said. A month later, the readers of Australian sports magazine, Inside Sport, rated Hewitt Australia’s least admired sports person.
Hewitt's first grand slam tournament win was at the U.S. Open in 2001, where he defeated then-four time champion Pete Sampras in straight sets. The U.S. Open was also the site of one of Hewitt's many controversies. In a five set match with James Blake, a black man, Hewitt complained to umpire Andres Egli and asked for a black linesman to be moved after being called for two foot-faults in the third set. "Look at him," Hewitt said, gesturing at the linesman. "Look at him and you tell me what the similarity is." Some witnesses, including Blake, had suggested that the "similarity" referred to the color shared by Blake and the linesman. Hewitt claimed he had merely pointed out that the same linesman had foot-faulted him on both occasions, while other officials had made no such calls. He followed his U.S. Open win with a victory at Wimbledon in 2002, defeating David Nalbandian in the final and showing the world that though the tournament had tended to be dominated by serve-and-volleyers, a baseliner like Hewitt could still triumph on grass. He became the first baseliner to win the tournament since Agassi did it ten years earlier. Hewitt was a part of the Australian Davis Cup Team that won the Davis Cup in 1999 and 2003 and reached the final in 2000 and 2001. At the age of 22, he had recorded more wins in Davis Cup singles than any other Australian player.
After his 2002 Wimbledon victory, Hewitt's game and his ATP ranking began to slip as he became engaged in a legal fight with the ATP and began focusing more on Davis Cup matches than on ATP events. Recently, however, he has reshaped his game and returned his attention to the ATP tour. In 2003 as the defending champion, he lost in the first round of Wimbledon to qualifier Ivo Karlovic. Hewitt became the first defending Wimbledon men's champion in the open era to lose in the first round. In fact, only once before in the tournament's 126-year history had a defending men's champion lost in the opening round, when in 1967 Manuel Santana was beaten by Charlie Pasarell. Hewitt picked up another unwanted record as he became only the third defending champion to lose in the first round of a Grand Slam, after Boris Becker in the 1997 Australian Open and Pat Rafter in the 1999 U.S. Open. Hewitt then didn't play for the rest of the 2003 season to add 7kg of muscle to his physique. Hewitt then led the Australian Davis Cup team to a victory in 2003 after he defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero in the opening rubber 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 6-2.
In 2004, he became the first man in history to lose in each Grand Slam to the eventual champion. At the Australian Open, he was defeated in the fourth round by Swiss Roger Federer. At the French Open, he was defeated by Argentine Gastón Gaudio in the quarterfinals. At Wimbledon, he was defeated by Federer in a quarterfinal. And at the U.S. Open, he was defeated in the final, again by Federer, losing two out of the three sets at love. Hewitt defeated Andy Roddick to advance to the final of the 2004 Tennis Masters Cup but was yet again defeated by defending champion Federer. In 2005, Hewitt won his only title at the Sydney Medibank International. He reached his first Australian Open final by defeating World No. 2 Roddick but was defeated by Marat Safin. At Wimbledon, he lost to Federer in a semifinal. Federer went on the win the event for the third time. Almost three months later, he again lost to Federer in a U.S. Open semifinal, although this time he was able the take one set from the Swiss. Hewitt had at this point lost to the eventual champion at seven consecutive Grand Slams (he missed the 2005 French Open because of injury). In late 2005, Hewitt was voted No. 5 on a La Nacion newspaper poll from Argentina listing the most hated sporting figures in that country. The poll results were published in the months after an explosive Davis Cup quarterfinal between Australia and Argentina with insults traded by both sides. The same year, TENNIS Magazine put him in 34th place in its list of 40 Greatest Players of the TENNIS era.
In January 2006, he was voted the 10th most-hated athlete in the USA by GQ magazine. He was the only non-US athlete to make the list. He blamed his losses in the Australian Open in 2006 (as well as 2005) on uncooperative maintenance of the courts by the tournament bosses. "I don't think there's been a lot of homework done on how the balls play on this surface," he said. "It seems to be bouncing higher and playing a lot slower even this year from last year. Mate, it could be slower than the French Open." Hewitt said he was disappointed Australian Open organisers had ignored his concerns about the courts. "I feel like I'm fighting with people that we should be working together to try and make Australian tennis better," he said. The three other Australians who took to the court that day all progressed. Criticism of Hewitt was to the tune that Hewitt himself could not dominate on Rebound-Ace and should not expect organisers to mould the court to his advantage just because he is the highest seeded local player. The court surface had not changed but neither had Hewitt. Even Australian International Tennis Hall of Famer Rafter commented that Hewitt needed to change his game. Hewitt pulled out of the Tennis Masters Cup tournament in Shanghai in November 2005 so that he could be with his wife Bec as the birth of his first child grew near. He was replaced by Gastón Gaudio. Hewitt has left Nike and joined Japanese sportswear company Yonex.
After a fairly frosty start to 2006, Hewitt was defeated in the second round of the Australian Open. After some time away from the tour, his results improved. He reached the finals of the San Jose and Las Vegas tournaments, losing to British youngster Andy Murray and Blake, respectively. But he lost to Tim Henman 7-6(5), 6-3 in the second round of the ATP Masters Series tournament in Miami, a player he had defeated eight times previously in as many matches. Later on in 2006, Hewitt played a Davis Cup quarterfinal for his country against Belarus. He played Vladimir Voltchkov who before the match said, "Hewitt has no weapons to hurt me." Hewitt struck back by saying, "Voltchkov doesn't have a ranking (of 457) to hurt me." On court, Hewitt defeated Voltchkov 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 in just 91 minutes, helping Australia reach the semifinals. At the 2006 French Open, Hewitt reached the fourth round where he lost to defending champion, and eventual winner, Rafael Nadal in four sets. Hewitt won his first tournament of 2006 (after a 17 month hiatus from winning a tournament) when he beat Blake 6-4, 6-4 in the finals of the Queen's Club Championships. This was his fourth title there, equalling the records of John McEnroe and Boris Becker.
At the 2006 Wimbledon Championships, Hewitt survived a five-set match against South Korea's Hyung-Taik Lee that was played over two days. He then defeated Olivier Rochus and David Ferrer before losing to Marcos Baghdatis in a quarterfinal. At the 2006 Legg Mason Tennis Classic, Washington D.C., Hewitt was defeated by Arnaud Clement 7-6(1), 6-4 in a quaterfinal after defeating Vincent Spadea in the second round and Denis Gremelmayr in the third round. At the 2006 U.S. Open, Hewitt participated despite having an injured knee. Hewitt won his first three matches in straight sets against, respectively, Albert Montanes, Jan Hernych, and Novak Ðokovic. He defeated Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 in the fourth round to advance to the quarterfinals for the seventh consecutive year. He then lost to Roddick 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.

Grand Slam singles finals

Year Championship Position Opponent Score
2001 U.S. Open Champion Pete Sampras 7-6, 6-1, 6-1
2002 Wimbledon Champion David Nalbandian 6-1, 6-3, 6-2
2004 U.S. Open Runner-Up Roger Federer 0-6, 6-7, 0-6
2005 Australian Open Runner-Up Marat Safin 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 4-6

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