Strewth! Aussies on the comeback trail!
Originally published on: 26/02/10 15:05
Lleyton Hewitt and Jelena Dokic have both been in the news Down Under recently as the pair battle back to full fitness and take what they hope are the first steps back towards the top of the world rankings.
Dokic began yet another chapter in her weird and wonderful tennis career in Melbourne on Monday when she played her first match at the Australian Open wildcard play-offs, while Hewitt has been talking about his desire to return to the mens top ten.
Dokic, a former world No.4 who shot to fame back in 1999 when she stunned then-world No.1 Martina Hingis in the first round at Wimbledon, made a successful start at Melbourne Park, thrashing young Aussie Sophie Letcher 6-3, 6-0 in her opening group match.
After years in the tennis wilderness, Dokic is attempting to resurrect her career and has made big strides up the WTA rankings this year, winning three ITF circuit trophies on her way to her current position of No.179 in the world.
She is one of 16 women assembled at Melbourne Park this week who are competing for a wild card into the 2009 Australian Open.
The 25-year-old has been working hard to regain full fitness and says her form over the last 12 months has been her best for some time.
“I’ve played a lot more this year and got my ranking up enough to get into qualifying for all of the [Australian] events, so it’s been a lot better, Dokic said. “It’s probably the best year I’ve had in the last three years.
“There’s still work to do. With the lack of matches and play, and starting from zero, I’m not where I want to be, but considering how much I’ve played I put all the hard work in, especially at the end of the season I think I’ve done a good job.”
Meanwhile, Hewitt, another Aussie whos been out of the limelight lately, has said he reckons he can get back inside the worlds top ten.
The 27-year-old former world No.1 is making his way back after hip surgery and is now training six hours a day in a bid to be in peak condition for Januarys Aussie Open.
“I want to have a crack at trying to get top-10 and get in the Masters Cup for the end of next year,” said Hewitt, who is No.67 in the current world rankings.
“But you’ve got to play a lot of tournaments to be able to do that and that’s where it comes back to the hip holding up, and every other body part.
“I actually enjoy it. If you’re fit you’re playing most weeks on tour,” he said. “So this is a good opportunity for me not just to look at the Australian summer, but also the 2009 calendar.
“Hopefully, I can get my body in as good a shape as possible to see me right through next year.”
The former Wimbledon and US Open champ is back in action at the Hopman Cup in Perth, starting on January 3, followed by the Sydney International.