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Hewitt wins Newcombe Medal


 

Originally published on: 02/12/13 00:00

The former world No.1 was presented the award for Australia’s most outstanding player in 2013 by John Newcombe at an awards ceremony in Melbourne.

Hewitt, 32, was recognised for an impressive season that saw him break back into the world’s Top 100 and help Australia return to the World Group of the Davis Cup for the first time since 2007.

The two-time Grand Slam champion finished runner-up in Newport and reached the US Open fourth round. He also upset Stanislas Wawrinka at Wimbledon and beat world No.5 Juan Martin Del Potro twice – in the quarter-finals at Queen’s and in the second round at Flushing Meadows – to move up the rankings to No.60.

“It’s appropriate he receives [the Newcombe Medal] at the end of what has been a brilliant comeback year,” Newcombe said. “He’s had an amazing year and his terrific results have again shown the grit and determination he’s renowned for.

“I’ve worked with Lleyton since he was 15…. We knew then he was destined for a pretty special career, but probably didn’t expect the skinny kid with his cap on backwards to set an Australian record for weeks spent at world No.1.

“This has been a remarkable year for Lleyton. His first for some time without the impediment of injury, and he’s made the most of it, posting some tremendous results, unexpected to almost everyone but him. He doesn’t get on the court unless he believes he can win, and his passion and commitment, particularly for Davis Cup, are an inspiration to us all.”

On receiving the award from seven-time Grand Slam champion Newcombe who was also his first Davis Cup captain, Hewitt expressed his pride at helping Australia return to the elite group of the team competition.

“For me it all starts with Davis Cup and ends with Davis Cup,” Hewitt said. “[This award] means so much. Obviously I’ve been fortunate enough to have a long career. There’s been plenty of highs and some definite lows as well but this is definitely up there with as high as it gets.

“The weeks I was gunning for this year were the Grand Slams but more importantly the Davis Cup. I wanted so badly to get back in the World Group before I retire, whenever that may be – I’m sick of answering that question.”

On the subject of retirement, Hewitt said he had no thoughts of hanging up his racket just yet.

 “People once they do retire they’ll often tell you you’re retired for an awfully long time so get the most out of it while you absolutely can,” he said. “I was out for four or five years on and off with injuries and I feel like now I can actually go out there and compete and enjoy being out there in the battle again,” he said.

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