Hewitt dismisses retirement speculations (Australian Open diary)

January 20th, 2009 - 10:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Jan 20 (IANS) Lleyton Hewitt may have been shown the door in the Australian Open first-round by Chilean firebrand Fernando Gonzalez, but the loss has not crushed the spirit of the former World No.1. The Australian, who departed 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 from his 13th attempt on the tournament, has dismissed speculations of his retirement.

Hewitt, revealed he had committed to a full schedule despite a ranking which will now plummet from 74th close to 100th - his lowest mark in a decade.

Asked if he had considered retirement before or after undergoing surgery on his left hip in August, Hewitt was adamant he was not ready to bow out.

“No, not at all,” he said.

“I did not have that much time to think about the surgery, to tell you the truth.

“As soon as I flew back from Beijing, I landed that morning, then that afternoon I was under the knife. If I was going to retire, then I wouldn’t have had the surgery done.”

Hewitt will contest several tournaments in the US over the next two months - San Jose, Memphis, Indian Wells and Miami - as well as Australia’s first-round Davis Cup tie against Thailand in March.

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Tomic will only become better: Cash

Bernard Tomic, who became the youngest player to win a match in the Australian Open history Tuesday, got the backing of dual finalist Pat Cash who said the teenager will only get better with time.

According to Cash, Tomic has got “a backhand down the line that’s about as good as you ever see on the circuit by any player, and that’s his weapon. When he gets to the ball he hits it fantastically well, and he’ll keep improving. He’s still growing and at 16 you don’t want to say ‘he doesn’t move well’, or ‘he doesn’t serve well’, or whatever, because he’s still growing.”

“He knows how to win, that’s the bottom line, and that’s a huge thing, but there is a long way to go.”

At 16 years and 103 days, Tomic is the youngest man to win a match at the Australian Open, having last year become the second youngest winner of the junior title behind Ken Rosewall.

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Korolev on cousin Anna Kournikova’s path

Better known as former Russian tennis glamour girl Anna Kournikova’s cousin, Evgeny Korolev created ripples when he sent former World No. 1 Carlos Moya packing in the first round here.

But Evegeny is all set to follow Anna’s footsteps when instead of practising ahead of Australian Open second-round clash against Swiss star Roger Federer, he was seen photographed without a shirt, wearing a thick line of zinc across his nose and holding a surfboard and not a tennis racquet.

Korolev, a qualifier, Wednesday meets Federer - a man hell-bent on rebounding from a below-par 2008 that yielded only one major title.

Better known as the cousin of Anna, “it’s no wonder Korolev isn’t looking ahead to who he might face in the third round.”

Even Federer expected to face former world No. 1 Moya instead of Korolev.

“I’ve never played against him,” Federer said. “I was obviously expecting Carlos to come through in some ways.”

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