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Lleyton Hewitt may no longer be a contender for the big titles on the Asian swing but he’s still hugely popular with the fans.
After multiple operations, the veteran Aussie somehow keeps finding a way to keep going on the tour and the 2013 season has given him plenty of encouragement to carry on. He was a couple of points away from making the quarter-finals of the US Open last month and has recorded wins over the likes of Juan Martin Del Potro and Stanislas Wawrinka.
Hewitt beat 35 year old Tommy Haas in straight sets at the China Open in Beijing and he said that the German is an inspiration to him, especially as the two players have been facing each other at the highest level since 1999!
“I don’t know if I’ll be around when I’m 35, but it’s great for Tommy,” Hewitt said. “I’m really happy for him. I saw him a few years ago Halle after a couple of his surgeries, and he was really struggling. I thought it was probably the end for him then. The way that he’s fought back and got his body in great shape, good on him. He’s missed a lot of tennis in his career with injuries and surgeries.”
As Hewitt looks towards the Shanghai Masters next week he’ll be casting his mind back to his triumph at the World Tour Finals when it was held in the city eleven years ago.
“I was going into it and I could have lost my No. 1 ranking if I didn’t do really well in the Masters Cup that year,” he said. “It was a tough field. I had to beat Marat Safin in the last round robin match to get through to the semi-finals. I beat him 6‑4 in the third. Then I had to play Federer who was undefeated. He’d won all his group matches, and I beat him 7‑5 in the third, and then had to come out the next day and play (Juan Carlos) Ferrero. That was 6‑3 or 6‑4 in the fifth.”
“So physically it was an unbelievable effort to claim the No. 1 ranking yet again at the end of the year. An amazing achievement to hold it for a whole year as well. Obviously Shanghai means a lot to me. I have a lot of fans from the way that I played back then.”