Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 22nd 2016 Contents AUSTRALIAN OPEN
MELBOURNE --- There s a rea-
son why Lleyton Hewitt could
keep tennis fans awake until after
four in the morning, even when
he was playing at home, years
after winning Grand Slam titles
in far-away New York or Lon-
Hewitt contested every, single
point. If he was smaller or less
powerful than his rival across the
net, he countered that by tena-
ciously chasing, retrieving and
grinding opponents down.
His relentless intensity and
never-give-in attitude had critics
bristling when he emerged as a
brash, up-and-coming teen wear-
ing his cap back-to-front. But they
later applauded him when he
matured and slightly mellowed
into a tennis elder.
Hewitt s 20th bid to win the
Australian Open ended in a 6-2,
6-4, 6-4 second-round loss to
eighth-seeded David Ferrer last
night, his last singles match as a
pro. Typically, it was a feisty affair.
He launched a verbal volley at chair
umpire Pascal Maria after the sev-
enth game of the last set when he
was angered by foot-fault calls at
"Left nothing in the locker
room. That s something I can be
proud of," Hewitt, who turns 35
next month, told the crowd. "My
whole career, I ve given 100 per-
Nobody would argue with that.
Before Roger Federer won the first
of his record 17 Grand Slam titles,
at Wimbledon in 2003, Hewitt had
won the 2001 US Open and Wim-
bledon in 2002. They were roughly
the same age. Hewitt was the
youngest man to hold the No. 1-
ranking, aged 20 years and 8
months in November 2001. He
held top spot for a total of 80
Federer said Hewitt helped rev-
olutionise the sport.
"Yeah, possibly," Hewitt replied
in a matter-of-fact response when
Federer s assessment was men-
tioned. "I guess guys playing from
the back of the court obviously
started believing once they saw
that I was able to do it, especially
on all surfaces.
"It was really kind of the total
changing of how tennis was played
in a lot of ways, especially on
Apart from Andrew Agassi,
Hewitt said, "there wasn t a lot of
guys that would stay back and play
from the back of the court."
"A lot of guys learnt or believed
that they could do it playing that
way. That was probably my biggest
thing," he said. "Obviously the
other guys came in, and Roger and
that took it to a totally new level."
The so-called Big Four --- Fed-
erer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic
and Andy Murray --- have become
dominant, while Hewitt has strug-
gled with hip and foot injuries,
and has increasingly reduced his
workload to the point where the
Grand Slam tournaments and the
majors were his only real focus.
Murray, who has won two
majors, the Davis Cup and reached
four finals at the Australian Open,
said he learned a lot about tennis
by watching Hewitt
After his 6-0, 6-4, 6-1 second-
round win over Sam Groth on
Thursday extended his unbeaten
streak against Australians to 17,
Murray took time to pay tribute
to Hewitt, who was scheduled to
play the next match on Rod Laver
"He was someone I loved
watching growing up. His attitude
toward competition --- I loved,"
Murray said. "He fought, well,
fights extremely hard to this day.
He still has the same passion to
actually named one of my dogs
after him because he was someone
that I loved growing up."
In other matches, 2014 cham-
pion Stan Wawrinka had a 6-2,
6-3, 6-4 win over 37-year-old
qualifier Radek Stepanek, joining
No. 10 John Isner, No. 13 Milos
Raonic and No. 16 Bernard Tomic
in the next round.Fernando Ver-
dasco lost to Dudi Sela, a surprising
defeat coming two days after he
beat 14-time major winner Nadal.
Wimbledon finalist Garbine
Muguruza , seeded No. 3, No. 7
Angelique Kerber, No. 9 Karolina
Pliskova, No. 15 Madison Keys and
No. 20 Ana Ivanovic had second-
round wins in the women s draw,
while two-time Australian Open
winner Victoria Azarenka contin-
ued her strong recent run.
Hewitt, who played his first
Australian Open in 1997, never
achieved his ambition of winning
the national championship. He was
involved in some memorable
matches at Melbourne Park,
though, including a run to the 2005
final, which he lost to Marat Safin.
In 2008, he played Marcos Bagh-
datis in a third-round match that
started before midnight and fin-
ished at 4:34 a.m. There was still
a big crowd in Rod Laver Arena
when he won it.
"I felt like this was the perfect
place to finish," Hewitt said yes-
terday, sharing the court with his
three children. "A couple of the
roars during the match tonight was
as loud as I ve ever played in front
"I was getting goosebumps at
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, January 22, 2016
Hewitt's last hurrah
over in Melbourne
Lleyton Hewitt of Australia waves farewell to the crowd on Rod Laver
Arena as he leaves with his children after playing his last singles match
as a professional player against David Ferrer of Spain in a second
round match in Melbourne yesterday. AP PHOTO
'dabbing' Down Under
MELBOURNE --- Victoria Azarenka
is introducing tennis fans Down Under
to "the dab."
"The dab. D-a-b," Azarenka said,
and then spelled, when asked about
the distinctive victory salute she has
displayed after winning her first two
matches at the Australian Open. It
entails leaning into a bended elbow and
raising the other arm up straight.
"It comes from American football,"
Azarenka explained yesterday after hus-
tling through her second-round match
against Danka Kovinic to win 6-1, 6-
2 in just 63 minutes. "I think it s really
fun. It s entertaining. I love doing it."
If Azarenka s recent performance is
any guide, she will be "dabbing" at
Melbourne Park for a few rounds to
come. In the third round she faces
Japanese qualifier Naomi Osaka.
The 2012 and 2013 Australian Open
champion started 2016 by winning the
Brisbane International for her first tour-
nament victory in 28 months. She had
entered the Brisbane tournament
unseeded after slipping to No. 22 in
the rankings at the end of 2015, fol-
lowing two injury-interrupted seasons.
The former No. 1-ranked player is
visibly fired up and determined to win.
She has dispatched her first two oppo-
nents in Melbourne in quick, clinical
straight sets with a dominance that
puts her on the short list to potentially
win the Australian Open --- where she
could meet No. 1 Serena Williams in
Azarenka speaks of her resurgence
as a physical and mental recovery.
"I m feeling in the best shape body-
wise, spirit-wise, everything-wise," said
the 27-year-old Belarussian, who has
talked about her perspectives on life
and tennis maturing.
And after the last point, comes the
victory salute. For those who don t
watch American football, Azarenka
explained that Carolina Panthers quar-
terback Cam Newton popularised "dab-
bing" and "made it viral."
Newton is known for his enthusiastic
victory celebrations, which include a
Superman move where he pretends to
rip open his shirt to reveal an imaginary
"S on his chest. He has been criticised
by some for excessive "dabbing" when
he scores touchdowns.
So far, Azarenka has not elicited any
criticism, just curiosity among those
wondering what she s doing. (AP)
SEEDED MEN'S WINNERS
No. 2 Andy Murray
No. 8 David Ferrer
No. 10 John Isner
No. 13 Milos Raonic
No. 16 Bernard Tomic
No. 18 Feliciano Lopez
No. 21 Viktor Troicki
No. 23 Gael Monfils
No. 31 Steve Johnson
No. 32 Joao Sousa.
SEEDED MEN'S LOSERS
No. 25 Jack Sock
No. 30 Jeremy Chardy.
No. 3 Garbine Muguruza
No. 7 Angelique Kerber
No. 9 Karolina Pliskova
No. 14 Victoria Azarenka
No. 15 Madison Keys
No. 20 Ana Ivanovic
No. 21 Ekaterina Makarova.
No. Timea Bacsinszky
No. 18 Elina Svitolina
No. 19 Jelena Jankovic
No. 30 Sabine Lisicki.
STAT OF THE DAY:
17: number of consecutive career wins by
Andy Murray over Australian opponents,
including Sam Groth
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"He was someone I loved watching
growing up. His attitude toward
competition --- I loved. He fought, well,
fights extremely hard to this day" ---
Murray on Lleyton Hewitt, who played his
final singles match, a loss to David Ferrer,
ON COURT TODAY
No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 28 Andreas
No. 3 Roger Federer vs. No. 27 Grigor
No. 7 Kei Nishikori vs. No. 26 Guillermo
No. 1 Serena Williams vs. Daria Kasatkina
No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Monica
No. 5 Maria Sharapova vs. Lauren Davis.
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates after defeating Danka
Kovinic of Montenegro during their second round match yesterday.
AT A GLANCE
Links Archive January 21st 2016 January 23rd 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page