how was hewitt on top for so long?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by randomname, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. randomname

    randomname Professional

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    I was looking at atptennis.com today and was reading hewitt's profile and i cant figure out how he stayed #1 for so long, with only 2 slams, a few masters, and only two slam finals (one of which came after he fell from #1) was he basically just a more talented version of davydenko? (by that I mean playing in every tournament under the sun)
     
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  2. Max G.

    Max G. Hall of Fame

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    No, he just won more than anyone else in those two years.

    There wasn't anyone ELSE around that did any more than "1 slam/yr, a few masters", and Hewitt just had that little bit more than everyone else.
     
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  3. MonkeyPox

    MonkeyPox Semi-Pro

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    Plus, he was very good, steady, no big weaknesses (no huge weapons really, but more importantly, no big weaknesses) and fought like no one else. That'll win you some trophies.
     
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  4. Mikael

    Mikael Professional

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    In 2001-2002 Lleyton was the man to beat, especially on grass and hardcourts. He started getting that "unbeatable" aura in early 2002, when he really dominated the spring hardcourt season. Later that year I think Sampras got very lucky that Agassi beat Lleyton in the semis of the US Open, or else it would've been another US Open title for Lleyton. He was really filling the void all this time, it was a weird transition period from one era to another with no one good enough to even be top 20 on a GOAT list. In 2000 it was Safin coming out on top (but also Guga to some degree), it 01 it was Guga (but also Hewitt), in 02 it was Hewitt. Most of 03 was still interesting with Agassi winning the AO, Ferrero the FO, Fedex Wimbledon and Roddick the US Open. By the early summer though it was pretty clear that both Federer and Roddick had improved so much mentally that they could dominate the field for a few years; and in a way that spelled the end for a guy like Hewitt.

    I swear back in early 2002 Lleyton's game seemed to be unbeatable on anything but clay. He'd outlast all the baseliners and pass anyone coming to the net, it was insane. His mental drive was much stronger too. His serve wasn't bad at all. He'd run everything down.
     
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  5. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    He was definitely a lot better than Davydenko. People have forgotten how good he was back then. I don't think he ever regained that form. He had a lot more fire than he has today, and I guess people hated him for it. Now he has none of that fire and people still hate him. A shame.

    He was just one step ahead of Agassi throughout 2002, which was expected since he played 4 more tournaments than Agassi.
     
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  6. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    I remember the time Hewitt's decline started.

    He made an announcement that he will play fewer number of tournaments
    in order to maintain #1 status longer. Many people did not think it was
    a good idea. Honestly speaking many people thought he'd better take
    everything he could while he is on top since he did not apeared to be
    able to stay at the top that long...

    Then he started this sueing ATP over some issues that I forgot about.

    Then he started to decline and then Federer arrived in 2003...
     
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  7. Babblelot

    Babblelot Professional

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    Hewitt's reign as number one coinceded during a period of transition. You need not look any further than the fact that between 2001 AO and 2002 USO (8 slam), there were no repeat winners. That's so rare it's occurred just one other time in the Open Era--coinsiding with Roddick's rise to #1.
     
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  8. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    Also both Wimbledon and US Open started experimenting with slowing their
    court surfaces from 2001 and finalized in 2003.
     
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  9. justineheninhoogenbandfan

    justineheninhoogenbandfan Banned

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    Slower surfaces would not favor Hewitt really. He actually prefers faster surfaces.
     
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  10. oberyn

    oberyn Professional

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    2001 and 2002 were so interesting as you really didn't have anyone dominating. Hewitt, as others have said, separated himself from the field by his consistency.

    After he won Wimbledon, I was frankly quite surprised when he lost to Agassi in the U.S. Open Semifinals (I agree that the result must have pleased Sampras, though). Hewitt was the defending champ, younger, fitter and probably would have been fresher even though he played the later match on Saturday. I was surprised that his decline was so sudden.

    I still thought that heading into 2003 he'd be the man to beat.
     
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  11. Oricus

    Oricus Rookie

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    Well heading into 03, I believe he did Win Indian Wells, and dominated Guga in the finals, That loss to Ivo at Wimbledon later in the year I think really started the downturn.

    But lets not forget, he did manage to get back to #2 in early 05
     
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  12. Watcher

    Watcher Semi-Pro

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    If I recall correctly, Hewitt had a problem with injury around Wimbledon 2003, and that caused him to slip in the rankings.

    But I disagree that is "spelled the end for him." He worked very hard to get back into good form, and by the end of 2004 up through the first half of 2005, he was essentially the second best player in the world behind Federer. Nadal hadn't shown up just yet, and despite being ranked higher, Roddick lost to Hewitt at the Master's Cup '04, the Australian Open '05, and Indian Wells '05. Frankly, if Federer hadn't been around to pick up the pieces and fill the void of a single dominant player at the end of 2003, I think Hewitt would have at least five slams under his belt right now.
     
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  13. Mikael

    Mikael Professional

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    Yeah I pretty much agree. When I wrote "it spelled the end" I was thinking of Hewitt's chances of reaching the no1 ranking and being the dominant player, like he was in late 01-02. It definitely didn't spell the end of his career, or even of his top 5 chances. To this day I think Hewitt could be a top 5 or top 3 player if he put his mind to it.
     
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  14. arosen

    arosen Hall of Fame

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    At his best, Hewitt was unbelievably tenacious. He would chase everything, and then some. He was an ultimate counterpuncher, with some surprisingly good net skills. He made around the post forehands look almost routine. Unfortunately, he is a shadow of his former self now. I hope Rafa would be able to avoid similar misfortune, after all, Rafa is also relying on his speed and tenacity more than anything else.
     
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  15. tennissavy

    tennissavy Hall of Fame

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    It should be noted that Hewitt had the best return in men's tennis, better than Agassi. Agassi got aced more than Lleyton, a lot more. Of course, Hewitt was an incredible mover, mentally tough, a very good serve for which he wasn't given much credit...
     
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  16. pound cat

    pound cat G.O.A.T.

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    He also seemed to be plagued by viral diseases..chicken pox which really knocked him out physically for months, and there was a period when he was just not feeling well from some other undetermined health conditioned. Ironically likely caused by his playing too many tournaments & tiring himself out.
     
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  17. Alexandros

    Alexandros Professional

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    He only developed a stronger first serve in the later half of 2004, when he was dominating in 2001-2002 his serve was above average but not something people should be writing home about. Even now, though his first serve can win him free points he still averages between 50-60% of them in, which is a rather poor percentage.
     
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  18. TENNIS_IS_FUN

    TENNIS_IS_FUN Professional

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    I think his game was suited best back in the day...now, his counter-punching style is predictable and easily destroyed. Unlike Agassi, Hewitt (Both Counter-punchers) does not have the variety to really give his opponants much trouble at all. 95% of the time his backhands will always land cross court...I don't understand why he does this though because he has a pretty decent back hand down the line, although its nothing compared to Safins :mrgreen: Also, Hewitt does not possess any killer weapons...all his strokes are decent, nothing spectacular.
    Also, back in the day when Hewitt played opponants such as Sampras, Hewitt's game was thought to be agressive. Now, his game is considered to be the more "conservative" type. The reason why is that tennis has changed over the many years, and baseline bashing has become a normality. Hewitt's style is outdated and ineffective. He will never be a threat to anybody within the top 10, and Safin.
     
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  19. ctbmar

    ctbmar Semi-Pro

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    I remembered vividly that Hewitt was beating almost everyone, dominating the circuit, beating my then idol Sampras who was getting old at Queens and other tournaments and berating his "comeons" and inverted triangle sign, staring at opponents and being obnoxious. His reign at the top was roughly the same duration I felt as to the duration of my 1st idol Edberg at the top. When Edberg and Sampras were at the top, I was really glued to tennis. But when nobody could beat Hewitt, those 2 years that he was on top, I simply lost interest in tennis and did not watch much tennis on TV. Fortunately for me, my 3rd idol, Federer came along, accomplish more than what Sampras used to say, "Even Hewitt, I feel that my racket still holds the talking...", crushed Hewitt relentless until he is a pulp of a man, lost all interest, get a baby, hardly a threat now.
    I don't think even Sampras got so much attention from all the former greats when he was playing as compared to Federer. There must be something special about Federer that even these former Greats are willing to watch him play. It's really a pity not watch Micheal Jordan play live...now I am think whether I should make a trip to see Federer before he loses his peak form or retire in several years, stop my procrastinating and watch him live. I guess for those who are rooting for a certain player, you will be very happy that he is dominating....But if you are against the dominating top player, you may lose interest in the sport. For me, I lost interest in basketball now because the greatest basketball player had retired - M 23.
     
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  20. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

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  21. illkhiboy

    illkhiboy Hall of Fame

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    As someone else pointed out, Hewitt wasn't really dominant but just more consistent than others. He had many losses in 2001, made past the 4th Rnd at the US Open only which he won. Besides that, no TMS titles but he won TMC. Overall he had consistent results on all surfaces, and a Davis Cup victory over Kuerten on clay.
    In 2002, he was a little more succesful. But again, he lost early in Australia (1st Rnd), then went on to win in San Jose and Indian Wells before losing to Federer at Miami. Won no more TMS titles after that but a few other minor events and of course Wimbledon. Had a pretty bad fall for a "dominant" number one, but reached the final of Paris and won TMC. Hardly dominant except on grass (14-0).
     
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  22. quest01

    quest01 Hall of Fame

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    If you look at both Hewitt and Safin, Hewitt has had more success. Hewitt has won 27 titles overall 2 of them being doubles tournaments, 2 majors, 2 tennis masters cups, 2 master’s series events. Safin has won 15 titles overall, some of them consisting of 5 masters series events but has never won a year end masters cup. So if you look at both players Hewitt has had much more success with his 27 titles compared to Safin’s 15.
     
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  23. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    I'm not sure if he favors faster Wimbledon against big power players.

    Wimbledon wanted baseliners and now they've got them.
     
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  24. justineheninhoogenbandfan

    justineheninhoogenbandfan Banned

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    Hewitt beat Sampras at Queens in both 2000 and 2001 and won the event. Granted alot of players have beaten Pete at Queens that would never beat him at Wimbledon, he has won it before but literaly takes the event as a "warm up". Nonetheless winning Queens twice so young would seem to me he liked the fast grass. He did not do that well at Wimbledon, but that was mostly due to nerves. Also his first slam semi was at the U.S Open in 2000, his first Grand Slam of course the 2001 U.S Open.

    He struggled at the Australian Open for many years, and has never gotten past the quarters of the French. He has always prefered faster courts even coming up.
     
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  25. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Agree.

    The lawsuit stemmed from fines he received for not doing the prescribed interviews (believe it was for ESPN). Hewitt and his team have never been favorites of the tour and a minor flap escalated.

    The lack of play - I think it was more defiance than a quest to hold onto #1 - definitely hurt his game.

    He rebounded pretty well this year - but I don't seem him ever getting into the top 3 again.

    Still, all things considered, a great career.
     
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  26. McStud

    McStud Rookie

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    well although i hate hewitt, i must give it to him.. he was on top because he was on fire for awhile and he was quicker then than he is now, also he had that intensity which helped him win many, many matches. i used to think to myself "McStud, how will anyone ever be able to stop hewitt?" oh i was soo foolish in my younger days, haha.
     
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  27. psamp14

    psamp14 Hall of Fame

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    hewitt was on top of mens tennis for two years because he was simply the best player around....he moved extremely well, passed net-rushers extremely well, was lightning quick, and would show his emotion a lot too....and i liked it, and its a pity that now he's sort of humbled after getting married and being hated upon for saying "cmon" after winning a long rally or getting a crucial break when everyone knows hewitt has no real real weapons....just solid groundstrokes...i wish he had not put on so much muscle and stayed skinny and lightning fast....maybe get married like when he was 27 or 28 instead of 25....
     
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  28. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    Hewitt lost all of that muscle that he had in early 2005. He can't get away with those muscle shirts anymore. Sort of proves that the guy does not work as hard anymore. My guess is that getting ass slapped by Federer so many times took its toll on him. That US Open final was not even funny, that was just a sorry sight.
     
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  29. Phil

    Phil Hall of Fame

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    As someone else mentioned, the years in which Hewitt was #1 were transition years...there simply wasn't anyone consistant enough to beat a player who makes his living from being consistant. Even so, the guys with the big weapons (but who weren't nearly as consistant), such as Safin and Moya, would, on occasion, absolutely hammer him...I mean, pound the little punk into the pile of crud that he once was...and he had no answer to that kind of beating. Fortunately, these guys didn't catch fire all that often.

    Once Federer-with the shots AND the consistancy-matured it was all over...for Hewitt and everyone else.
     
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  30. Alexandros

    Alexandros Professional

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    He had to work extremely hard in the off season between 04 and 05 to get that buff, and given his particular body type and overall lean frame he would need to work out a lot more than most people just to retain the physique.
     
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  31. hyperwarrior

    hyperwarrior Professional

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    I like the way how you describe the story. LOL
     
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  32. illkhiboy

    illkhiboy Hall of Fame

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    LOL.
     
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  33. Halba

    Halba Professional

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    hewitt was in his best form in the AO 2005 due to his superior physical fitness and 'bulked up' he could generate more pace from his backhand, forehand and serve, as well as last 5 sets with ease deep into grand slams

    now he is nothin
     
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  34. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    Even in the 2005 US Open he took Federer to 4 sets. They didn't show that match but apparently he played pretty well.

    After that, the guy gave up all hope. It's pretty remarkable how he made that transition from muscle shirts and c'mon's to looking shrimpy, color coordinating everything with yellow, dropping pace on his shots and being completely passive. I saw him live in February...was not impressed by his movement or return of serve at all. He was scrambling a lot and getting aced by Murray. He might have said "c'mon" a few times, but they were little squeaks and you could barely hear them.
     
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  35. Grimjack

    Grimjack Banned

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    Christ, he was the 2nd best player in the world just a couple years ago, behind only the best player to ever play the game. At his peak, Lleyton is the 2nd best (not "most successful" or "greatest," just "best" in terms of tennis ability) player the world has ever seen. Sampras, for example, was Lleyton's *****, once Lleyton matured.

    I rate this thread one star: terrible.
     
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  36. psamp14

    psamp14 Hall of Fame

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    i agree with Grimjack...this thread is getting to be a hewitt bashing thread....basically everyone who plays against federer right now gets owned, demolished, and loses....except for nadal...
     
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  37. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    who is "they?" they(cbs) showed every second of that match, live.

    try injuries & dealing with a new baby in the offseason, so no time to train. a player doesn't lose it overnight(from us open '05 to '06 san jose)
     
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  38. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    wow, you think hewitt had more "tennis ability" than laver, borg, mcenroe & connors?
     
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  39. Grassrootstennis

    Grassrootstennis New User

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    I hate to bash any player but Hewitt would have only won one major(maybe none) if it weren't for the slowing down of Wimbledon. All you need to do is to look at who has won Wimbledon since that point and it becomes obvious that Hewitt, Federer, Nadal, and Roddick are great benefactors of this trend of slowing down the game. Very sad that the ATP/ITF
    does nothing about this.
     
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  40. Breaker

    Breaker Legend

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    2002: Hewitt
    2003: Federer
    2004: Federer
    2005: Federer
    2006: Federer

    Hmm..so Federer wouldn't have won his Wimby's with a faster surface either then? Also, Hewitt won his first slam at the US OPEN, 2nd fastest court in the world at the time behind Wimbledon. Hewitt is an extremely potent grass court player be it slow or fast, his 4 Queens Club titles (3 before the 'slowing down') and Wimby speak for themselves.
     
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  41. Grassrootstennis

    Grassrootstennis New User

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    Originally posted by breaker
    I wil say this, he would have won less, maybe none at all, but certainly less. He has a losing record against Rafter. If him and Hewitt still had great serve&volleyers to contend with like, Rafter and Edberg, on a real grass surface they would learn a hard lesson. You go on to point out that Hewitt won Queens. This is the equivalence of putting the Spanish Davis Cup Team on a grass court and letting them fight for the title among themselves. Then, declaring the victor a grass court specialist. It doesn't work that way.
     
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  42. Grassrootstennis

    Grassrootstennis New User

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    "Greg Rusedski claimed Wimbledon purposely slowed the courts in 2001 and this year American Taylor Dent agreed they have been getting slower each time he plays here. "

    "Organisers started to use 100% perennial ryegrass seed in 2001 to provide a stronger grass more able to take the wear-and-tear of two weeks of continual usage. "

    Hewitt won in 2002, and Federer every year since. It seems a little more than coincidence to me. What I find funny in all this that they use a stronger slower grass which forces players into longer rallies and more running(wear) on the grass. What a joke?
     
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  43. Phil

    Phil Hall of Fame

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    Sounds like a serious obsession you've got there...LOL, fanboy.
     
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  44. callitout

    callitout Professional

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    Mentally Hewitt, is unbelievable. To get bi*tch slapped by Fed in 04 at USO like he did, and to come back and play competitive tennis in 05 against him shows uncommon courage. He was great a few years ago. At this point he seems to be on the way down, but he's been on tour for 10 years at this point. He's put a lot of miles on.
     
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  45. bertrevert

    bertrevert Hall of Fame

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    It's his job. I think the mental toughness you are right comes into the effort required to stay at the peak of your game (not just playing).

    Hewitt was on top for the period before Federer. Now that we have the Federer "era" it seems distant even odd to recall the Hewitt years. At the time the Australian media just did not seem to take him to their collective heart.

    Hewitt's counterpunching style is valid and wins at all levels of this game I'm sure as you've all experienced. He used to come back from everything, any losing situation and he would fight all the harder. He has not got that fight it seems.

    It's a sign of the times that he lost a recent Davis Cup 5-setter (to Jose Acasuso) in which he was in the winning postion after 3 sets. Lleyton Hewitt there suffered his first five-set defeat in more than three years.

    During those dominant years that winning aura would also allow him to pre-beat some of the more nervous players. Winning is a habit.
     
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  46. justineheninhoogenbandfan

    justineheninhoogenbandfan Banned

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    Well he was obviously the player to beat in the second half of 2001 and 2002. He was not what I would call a "dominant" #1, but a worthy #1, and the obvious player on top of the sport nonetheless. He went into a big time slump in 2003, not sure of all the reasons for that, some of fighting with the ATP taking concentration away from his tennis I think.

    He returned to top form in 2004 but by then Federer was about ready to begin dominating the mens game. Hewitt gave Roger some good matches at the Australian Open in the 4th round, and Wimbledon in the quarters but lost both in 4 sets. He was unlucky to draw Roger so early perhaps, since Roger went on to win both events, one wonders how far Hewitt would have gone with a different draw. At the U.S Open he got this different draw, avoided Federer until the final, did not have to play Agassi or Roddick either it turned out, and made the final but unlike his previous 2 good matches with Federer got destroyed. Their matches were rarely as good as their matches 2002-mid 2004 were again after that, and the rivalry became one-sided, sure there was the odd time Hewitt could nab a set(U.S Open semis in 2005)but he never stepped on the court as much a threat to Federer as before that match.

    Hewitt lost to the eventual champion in 7 straight slams in 2004-2005, Federer in the round of 16 of the 2004 Australian Open, Gaudio in the quarters of the 2004 French Open, Federer again in the quarters of Wimbledon 2004, Federer in the finals of 2004 U.S Open, Safin in the finals of the 2005 Australian Open, Federer in the semis of Wimbledon 2005, Federer in the semis of the 2005 U.S Open. So I disagree alot with those who say during those 2 years he was no longer playing at his highest level since even during his period of being the best player in the World in 2001 and 2002 he never had a streak of only losing to the eventual winner like that in so many consecutive slams(or winning the slam of course, I mean minimum playing the eventual winner though). There were just different obstacles by then that were not there consistently in 2001-2002 and he could not quite get over the last hurdle quite often.

    His ranking was unfairly down in both 2004 and 2005 as well IMO. In 2004 he had the bad luck, as I said earlier, to draw Federer so early on at 2 slams and so often be in the Federer part of the draw. Roddick coming into the year ranked #1 never could play Federer until a final. Even with that Roddick barely nipped Hewitt for the year-end #2 ranking. Of course that is just bad luck more then anything. In 2005 he had a clear winning head to head with Roddick, but by now Nadal had emerged, and Hewitt was injury/illness prone bringing his ranking down to #5, when he was probably more of a #3 taking into accounts events he was able to play.

    I think the dissapointment of contending so often at slams and coming up short of winning in the end deflated him, broke his spirts a bit, the ranking situation I pointed out was maybe a bit of extra salt in the wound to boot. That combined with the new perspective on life with his marriage, and getting older at a time he isnt winning the biggest titles any longer, and it is hard to find the fire he once had.

    He is still extremely fast but I think he is starting to lose a bit of speed. He has lost some tenacity, extreme intensity, and refusal to lose mindset on the court. He is still a tough minded player, but he no longer seems able to dig deep into any reserves he has, and find anything he can get to turn a match around.

    Bertrevert's Davis Cup point is a great one. Losing that sort of match, the exact way it played out, would never have happened when he was at his most confident and successful point of his career, even on clay.
     
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  47. jings

    jings Professional

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    Very fair summary. He never packed enough heat as has been mentioned before and that's caught up with him in today's game. He'll still be dangerous but that run in the majors losing to the eventual winner sorta proves that he'll be consistent enough for a while yet to take you out if you're not on your game, but against the in-form guy he's got too much to contend with. I'm finding myself not exactly missing him at tournaments, but his intensity certainly livens things up a bit ... and I don't have to translate from Spanish to understand what he was saying.
     
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  48. zhan

    zhan Banned

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    nice write up...
    but how many are going to read it?
    ;P
     
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  49. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    Hewitt is an excellent grass court player beating Sampras at Queens tourny
    in 2000. (Sampras won Wimbledon 2 weeks later.)

    But I'm not sure if he would be a favorite in a macth against big power
    player on both pre-2001(fast) and post 2001(slow).

    For example, the players Hewitt lost on grass of London are likes of
    Ruedseski, Kalovic, Roddick.

    Wimbledon slowed their court in 2 major steps: 2001 (type of grass)
    and then 2003(concrete surfacing underneath grass later).

    In 2003, it got really slow(as grass court of course). In 2003, as far
    as I know, Hewitt became the 1st defending Wimbledon champion who got
    knocked out of 1st round (by the big Ivo Karlovic)........

    And then Federer started this domination on completely new surface...
     
    #49
  50. ksbh

    ksbh Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Messages:
    4,155
    ROFLMAO! You are one funny guy. You're beginning to sound like Devila, in terms of making outrageous statements.

    So Lleyton at his peak was a better player than Bjorn Borg and Stefan Edberg in tennis ability? Watch some tapes of old matches dude!

     
    #50

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