Hewitt: Davis Cup one of the main goals
Originally published on: 14/06/12 00:00
Lleyton Hewitt will be back at Wimbledon this month, 10 years after he won the title at the All England Club, but one of his biggest targets in 2012 will be to secure Australia’s return to the Davis Cup’s World Group. Pat Rafter’s team face a difficult task, having been drawn away to Germany in their World Group play-off in September, but if Hewitt and Bernard Tomic are firing on all cylinders the Australians will fancy their chances.
“Last year I was trying to get the boys back in the World Group and we came awfully close,” Hewitt said. “That's going to be one of the main goals for the rest of this year. That's not going to be an easy ask again.”
Hewitt has a proud record in the Davis Cup, having won 49 of the 63 rubbers he has played. He made his debut in 1999, winning his very first rubber against Todd Martin as Australia beat the United States 4-1 in the World Group quarter-finals at Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Hewitt then claimed the scalps of Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov as Australia beat Russia in the semi-final in Brisbane and was a member of the winning team in the final against France in Nice, although he lost both his singles rubbers against Cedric Pioline and Sebastien Grosjean.
Hewitt played in three more finals. Australia lost to Spain in Barcelona in 2000 and to France in Melbourne the following year but beat Spain in Melbourne in 2003, Hewitt showing the way by beating Juan Carlos Ferrero in the opening rubber. Australia dropped out of the World Group in 2007 and have since gone within one tie of returning on three occasions but have lost to Chile, Belgium and Switzerland.
Hewitt’s career has been dogged by injuries in recent years and he is currently fighting his way back after an operation on his left foot. Although a first-round defeat to Ivo Karlovic at the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club was a blow to his Wimbledon preparations, the 31-year-old Australian does have an advantage over most other players. As a member of the All England Club, Hewitt is able to practise at Wimbledon when he wants.