Tennis star Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal pulled out of the London Olympics on Thursday due to injury.

On a gloomy day in south-west London suburbia, the sound of tennis balls being thwacked back and forth fills the air. Winning shots are celebrated with polite smatterings of applause, punctuated by solemn calls of “15-0 … deuce … game” from the various umpires. This is the Surbiton Trophy – a low-key Challenger event that takes place in the lead-up to Wimbledon. It is designed mainly for younger players hoping to climb the tennis ladder and veterans who never quite made it to the top level. The doubles competition especially is not where you would expect to find a supposedly retired two-time grand slam champion and former world No 1. But for Lleyton Hewitt, who won Wimbledon 16 years ago and first competed at the Australian Open as a 15 year old in 1997, retirement is a fluid concept. “When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time,” he says at the Surbiton Racket & Fitness Club, still looking in peak physical condition aged 37. “So I guess while my body is still able and I’m still mentally willing to train and stay in good shape, I may as well go out there and have a go.” Hewitt ended up battling to the semi-finals of the Surbiton event with the young Australian Alex Bolt, having earlier this year reached the quarters of the Australian Open and Estoril Open with Sam Groth and Alex de Minaur respectively. He competed at the Rosmalen Championships this week with Bolt and next week Hewitt will line up with Nick Kyrgios in the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, where he won four singles titles in the early to mid-2000s. A Wimbledon doubles wild card also looks likely. This is all in spite of the fact that Hewitt officially quit in January 2016, theoretically bringing an end to a career that saw him become the youngest ever male world No 1 aged 20 in 2001. It may seem like ancient history now but before Roger Federer – who is only six months Hewitt’s junior – and Rafael Nadal, Hewitt looked set to dominate tennis with his fist-pumping, eye-popping intensity. Hewitt ultimately lacked the firepower to add more grand slams to his US Open and Wimbledon wins but in his so-called retirement, he has found a second wind. Hewitt plays occasional doubles events, captains the Australian Davis Cup team and coaches young Aussie players like world No 96 De Minaur. He and wife Bec also have three young children – daughters Mia (12) and Ava (seven), and son Cruz (nine) – to look after. Hewitt poses with Wimbledon trophy after his win in 2002 Credit: Getty Images In fact, Hewitt is so busy these days he resembles the former CEO who in retirement sits on a board, advises a charity and has Russian lessons in their spare time. And yet despite how full his life is, and having achieved all that he has, Hewitt is grinding away in front of a few hundred spectators in Surbiton. Why bother? “I guess in some ways I’m addicted to tennis,” Hewitt explains. “I’m still a competitive guy when I get on the court. I love competing, whatever it is. I play over-35s basketball in Melbourne on a Wednesday night and it’s competitive. It gets the juices flowing.” Does Hewitt still think he could cut it in the singles? “At times I do, yeah,” he replies. “I can still hit pretty well.” When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time. So I may as well go out there and have a go Hewitt proudly describes beating Novak Djokovic in a quick-fire Tie Break Tens event in January, and you suspect that were it not for a litany of injuries – including operations on both hips and debilitating foot surgery – he would still be on the singles circuit. Instead, even the indefatigable Hewitt eventually had to listen to his creaking body. But the multiple hip surgeries he had to deal with make him well placed to comment on the plight of Andy Murray, who is desperately trying to overcome his own intractable hip problem but will make his comeback at Queen’s against Hewitt’s doubles partner, Kyrgios. Hewitt’s operations were not quite as serious as Murray’s was in January, but whatever the injury he suggests the psychological challenges can be as big as the physical ones: “It’s tough. Not just physically but more mentally because you know you’re capable of still playing great tennis. Hewitt has sympathy for Andy Murray trying to recover from a hip injury Credit: Getty Images “That’s where it becomes more of a mental battle and I’ve spoken to Andy a few times since he had the operation. You realise how much you miss it and how much you do actually love the sport.” While Murray soldiers on, Hewitt had to accept two years ago that he would not be able to remain a full-time player. But even before he quit, Hewitt started making retirement plans and was named Australia’s Davis Cup captain in October 2015 – a role he seemed destined for since debuting for his country aged 18. Unlike most leading players, Hewitt prioritised the Davis Cup throughout his career – winning the competition twice – and he expects a similar dedication from his young charges now. Hewitt insists this is the case, even if he has inherited a group of talented but hugely complex individuals. The mercurial Kyrgios is one such player but Hewitt says the pair have “a fantastic relationship”. “He’s got to become a bit more disciplined with his body and keep working hard and pushing himself but he’s an extraordinary talent. He’s destined for the top 10.” Lleyton Hewitt enjoys his role as Australia's Davis Cup captain Credit: AFP Of Bernard Tomic, whose ranking has plummeted amid an existential crisis that includes being fined £11,600 after saying he was “bored” during a Wimbledon defeat last year and appearing on Australia’s I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, Hewitt shakes his head. “With Bernie, it’s pretty frustrating because he is talented,” Hewitt says. “But it comes back to him and his will to go out there and push himself.” The passion that defined Hewitt on court is evident when discussing his fellow Australians, but he really comes alive when assessing proposals to radically revamp the Davis Cup. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) – funded by a consortium led by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique – plans to alter the competition from a knockout format of four home-and-away ties to one home-and-away tie followed by an 18-team event in a neutral venue. Hewitt is scathing about the proposals, which include making matches best of three rather than best of five sets and will be voted on at the ITF’s annual general meeting in August: “The new reforms would kill the Davis Cup. No doubt. How the world looked in 1997 “You cannot throw more than 100 years’ history down the drain for money. It shows we need better people running the sport at the ITF. I don’t think they have enough knowledge. We just can’t sell our soul for this event.” Hewitt is adamant that the competition must stay best of five sets and retain its current home and away element. The latter he feels is crucial to developing young players by exposing them to the Davis Cup’s fevered atmosphere, while at the same time growing the sport by ensuring fans across the world can see exciting top-level tennis. Hewitt adds that details like both teams having their own locker room are unique in tennis to the Davis Cup and “are the little things that people sitting making these decisions that have never played the game or represented their country wouldn’t have a clue about.” It is striking to observe the complete conviction in Hewitt as he speaks, and it offers a tiny insight into what it must be like standing on the other side of the net as he chases down every ball and screams “C’mon!” in your face. Admittedly, Hewitt has mellowed slightly since his pugnacious peak. But there are still some concessions he will refuse to make, such as letting his nine-year-old son Cruz – a promising junior – beat him at tennis. “Sometimes he gets me to a couple of breakers,” Hewitt says, smirking. “But beating me? I wouldn’t hear the end of it.” Lleyton Hewitt will play doubles with Nick Kyrgios at the Fever-Tree Championships, which starts on Monday at The Queen’s Club. Tickets – www.fevertreechampionships.com
Lleyton Hewitt exclusive interview: On being a tennis addict, Andy Murray and why proposed reforms 'would kill the Davis Cup'
On a gloomy day in south-west London suburbia, the sound of tennis balls being thwacked back and forth fills the air. Winning shots are celebrated with polite smatterings of applause, punctuated by solemn calls of “15-0 … deuce … game” from the various umpires. This is the Surbiton Trophy – a low-key Challenger event that takes place in the lead-up to Wimbledon. It is designed mainly for younger players hoping to climb the tennis ladder and veterans who never quite made it to the top level. The doubles competition especially is not where you would expect to find a supposedly retired two-time grand slam champion and former world No 1. But for Lleyton Hewitt, who won Wimbledon 16 years ago and first competed at the Australian Open as a 15 year old in 1997, retirement is a fluid concept. “When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time,” he says at the Surbiton Racket & Fitness Club, still looking in peak physical condition aged 37. “So I guess while my body is still able and I’m still mentally willing to train and stay in good shape, I may as well go out there and have a go.” Hewitt ended up battling to the semi-finals of the Surbiton event with the young Australian Alex Bolt, having earlier this year reached the quarters of the Australian Open and Estoril Open with Sam Groth and Alex de Minaur respectively. He competed at the Rosmalen Championships this week with Bolt and next week Hewitt will line up with Nick Kyrgios in the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, where he won four singles titles in the early to mid-2000s. A Wimbledon doubles wild card also looks likely. This is all in spite of the fact that Hewitt officially quit in January 2016, theoretically bringing an end to a career that saw him become the youngest ever male world No 1 aged 20 in 2001. It may seem like ancient history now but before Roger Federer – who is only six months Hewitt’s junior – and Rafael Nadal, Hewitt looked set to dominate tennis with his fist-pumping, eye-popping intensity. Hewitt ultimately lacked the firepower to add more grand slams to his US Open and Wimbledon wins but in his so-called retirement, he has found a second wind. Hewitt plays occasional doubles events, captains the Australian Davis Cup team and coaches young Aussie players like world No 96 De Minaur. He and wife Bec also have three young children – daughters Mia (12) and Ava (seven), and son Cruz (nine) – to look after. Hewitt poses with Wimbledon trophy after his win in 2002 Credit: Getty Images In fact, Hewitt is so busy these days he resembles the former CEO who in retirement sits on a board, advises a charity and has Russian lessons in their spare time. And yet despite how full his life is, and having achieved all that he has, Hewitt is grinding away in front of a few hundred spectators in Surbiton. Why bother? “I guess in some ways I’m addicted to tennis,” Hewitt explains. “I’m still a competitive guy when I get on the court. I love competing, whatever it is. I play over-35s basketball in Melbourne on a Wednesday night and it’s competitive. It gets the juices flowing.” Does Hewitt still think he could cut it in the singles? “At times I do, yeah,” he replies. “I can still hit pretty well.” When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time. So I may as well go out there and have a go Hewitt proudly describes beating Novak Djokovic in a quick-fire Tie Break Tens event in January, and you suspect that were it not for a litany of injuries – including operations on both hips and debilitating foot surgery – he would still be on the singles circuit. Instead, even the indefatigable Hewitt eventually had to listen to his creaking body. But the multiple hip surgeries he had to deal with make him well placed to comment on the plight of Andy Murray, who is desperately trying to overcome his own intractable hip problem but will make his comeback at Queen’s against Hewitt’s doubles partner, Kyrgios. Hewitt’s operations were not quite as serious as Murray’s was in January, but whatever the injury he suggests the psychological challenges can be as big as the physical ones: “It’s tough. Not just physically but more mentally because you know you’re capable of still playing great tennis. Hewitt has sympathy for Andy Murray trying to recover from a hip injury Credit: Getty Images “That’s where it becomes more of a mental battle and I’ve spoken to Andy a few times since he had the operation. You realise how much you miss it and how much you do actually love the sport.” While Murray soldiers on, Hewitt had to accept two years ago that he would not be able to remain a full-time player. But even before he quit, Hewitt started making retirement plans and was named Australia’s Davis Cup captain in October 2015 – a role he seemed destined for since debuting for his country aged 18. Unlike most leading players, Hewitt prioritised the Davis Cup throughout his career – winning the competition twice – and he expects a similar dedication from his young charges now. Hewitt insists this is the case, even if he has inherited a group of talented but hugely complex individuals. The mercurial Kyrgios is one such player but Hewitt says the pair have “a fantastic relationship”. “He’s got to become a bit more disciplined with his body and keep working hard and pushing himself but he’s an extraordinary talent. He’s destined for the top 10.” Lleyton Hewitt enjoys his role as Australia's Davis Cup captain Credit: AFP Of Bernard Tomic, whose ranking has plummeted amid an existential crisis that includes being fined £11,600 after saying he was “bored” during a Wimbledon defeat last year and appearing on Australia’s I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, Hewitt shakes his head. “With Bernie, it’s pretty frustrating because he is talented,” Hewitt says. “But it comes back to him and his will to go out there and push himself.” The passion that defined Hewitt on court is evident when discussing his fellow Australians, but he really comes alive when assessing proposals to radically revamp the Davis Cup. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) – funded by a consortium led by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique – plans to alter the competition from a knockout format of four home-and-away ties to one home-and-away tie followed by an 18-team event in a neutral venue. Hewitt is scathing about the proposals, which include making matches best of three rather than best of five sets and will be voted on at the ITF’s annual general meeting in August: “The new reforms would kill the Davis Cup. No doubt. How the world looked in 1997 “You cannot throw more than 100 years’ history down the drain for money. It shows we need better people running the sport at the ITF. I don’t think they have enough knowledge. We just can’t sell our soul for this event.” Hewitt is adamant that the competition must stay best of five sets and retain its current home and away element. The latter he feels is crucial to developing young players by exposing them to the Davis Cup’s fevered atmosphere, while at the same time growing the sport by ensuring fans across the world can see exciting top-level tennis. Hewitt adds that details like both teams having their own locker room are unique in tennis to the Davis Cup and “are the little things that people sitting making these decisions that have never played the game or represented their country wouldn’t have a clue about.” It is striking to observe the complete conviction in Hewitt as he speaks, and it offers a tiny insight into what it must be like standing on the other side of the net as he chases down every ball and screams “C’mon!” in your face. Admittedly, Hewitt has mellowed slightly since his pugnacious peak. But there are still some concessions he will refuse to make, such as letting his nine-year-old son Cruz – a promising junior – beat him at tennis. “Sometimes he gets me to a couple of breakers,” Hewitt says, smirking. “But beating me? I wouldn’t hear the end of it.” Lleyton Hewitt will play doubles with Nick Kyrgios at the Fever-Tree Championships, which starts on Monday at The Queen’s Club. Tickets – www.fevertreechampionships.com
On a gloomy day in south-west London suburbia, the sound of tennis balls being thwacked back and forth fills the air. Winning shots are celebrated with polite smatterings of applause, punctuated by solemn calls of “15-0 … deuce … game” from the various umpires. This is the Surbiton Trophy – a low-key Challenger event that takes place in the lead-up to Wimbledon. It is designed mainly for younger players hoping to climb the tennis ladder and veterans who never quite made it to the top level. The doubles competition especially is not where you would expect to find a supposedly retired two-time grand slam champion and former world No 1. But for Lleyton Hewitt, who won Wimbledon 16 years ago and first competed at the Australian Open as a 15 year old in 1997, retirement is a fluid concept. “When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time,” he says at the Surbiton Racket & Fitness Club, still looking in peak physical condition aged 37. “So I guess while my body is still able and I’m still mentally willing to train and stay in good shape, I may as well go out there and have a go.” Hewitt ended up battling to the semi-finals of the Surbiton event with the young Australian Alex Bolt, having earlier this year reached the quarters of the Australian Open and Estoril Open with Sam Groth and Alex de Minaur respectively. He competed at the Rosmalen Championships this week with Bolt and next week Hewitt will line up with Nick Kyrgios in the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, where he won four singles titles in the early to mid-2000s. A Wimbledon doubles wild card also looks likely. This is all in spite of the fact that Hewitt officially quit in January 2016, theoretically bringing an end to a career that saw him become the youngest ever male world No 1 aged 20 in 2001. It may seem like ancient history now but before Roger Federer – who is only six months Hewitt’s junior – and Rafael Nadal, Hewitt looked set to dominate tennis with his fist-pumping, eye-popping intensity. Hewitt ultimately lacked the firepower to add more grand slams to his US Open and Wimbledon wins but in his so-called retirement, he has found a second wind. Hewitt plays occasional doubles events, captains the Australian Davis Cup team and coaches young Aussie players like world No 96 De Minaur. He and wife Bec also have three young children – daughters Mia (12) and Ava (seven), and son Cruz (nine) – to look after. Hewitt poses with Wimbledon trophy after his win in 2002 Credit: Getty Images In fact, Hewitt is so busy these days he resembles the former CEO who in retirement sits on a board, advises a charity and has Russian lessons in their spare time. And yet despite how full his life is, and having achieved all that he has, Hewitt is grinding away in front of a few hundred spectators in Surbiton. Why bother? “I guess in some ways I’m addicted to tennis,” Hewitt explains. “I’m still a competitive guy when I get on the court. I love competing, whatever it is. I play over-35s basketball in Melbourne on a Wednesday night and it’s competitive. It gets the juices flowing.” Does Hewitt still think he could cut it in the singles? “At times I do, yeah,” he replies. “I can still hit pretty well.” When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time. So I may as well go out there and have a go Hewitt proudly describes beating Novak Djokovic in a quick-fire Tie Break Tens event in January, and you suspect that were it not for a litany of injuries – including operations on both hips and debilitating foot surgery – he would still be on the singles circuit. Instead, even the indefatigable Hewitt eventually had to listen to his creaking body. But the multiple hip surgeries he had to deal with make him well placed to comment on the plight of Andy Murray, who is desperately trying to overcome his own intractable hip problem but will make his comeback at Queen’s against Hewitt’s doubles partner, Kyrgios. Hewitt’s operations were not quite as serious as Murray’s was in January, but whatever the injury he suggests the psychological challenges can be as big as the physical ones: “It’s tough. Not just physically but more mentally because you know you’re capable of still playing great tennis. Hewitt has sympathy for Andy Murray trying to recover from a hip injury Credit: Getty Images “That’s where it becomes more of a mental battle and I’ve spoken to Andy a few times since he had the operation. You realise how much you miss it and how much you do actually love the sport.” While Murray soldiers on, Hewitt had to accept two years ago that he would not be able to remain a full-time player. But even before he quit, Hewitt started making retirement plans and was named Australia’s Davis Cup captain in October 2015 – a role he seemed destined for since debuting for his country aged 18. Unlike most leading players, Hewitt prioritised the Davis Cup throughout his career – winning the competition twice – and he expects a similar dedication from his young charges now. Hewitt insists this is the case, even if he has inherited a group of talented but hugely complex individuals. The mercurial Kyrgios is one such player but Hewitt says the pair have “a fantastic relationship”. “He’s got to become a bit more disciplined with his body and keep working hard and pushing himself but he’s an extraordinary talent. He’s destined for the top 10.” Lleyton Hewitt enjoys his role as Australia's Davis Cup captain Credit: AFP Of Bernard Tomic, whose ranking has plummeted amid an existential crisis that includes being fined £11,600 after saying he was “bored” during a Wimbledon defeat last year and appearing on Australia’s I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, Hewitt shakes his head. “With Bernie, it’s pretty frustrating because he is talented,” Hewitt says. “But it comes back to him and his will to go out there and push himself.” The passion that defined Hewitt on court is evident when discussing his fellow Australians, but he really comes alive when assessing proposals to radically revamp the Davis Cup. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) – funded by a consortium led by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique – plans to alter the competition from a knockout format of four home-and-away ties to one home-and-away tie followed by an 18-team event in a neutral venue. Hewitt is scathing about the proposals, which include making matches best of three rather than best of five sets and will be voted on at the ITF’s annual general meeting in August: “The new reforms would kill the Davis Cup. No doubt. How the world looked in 1997 “You cannot throw more than 100 years’ history down the drain for money. It shows we need better people running the sport at the ITF. I don’t think they have enough knowledge. We just can’t sell our soul for this event.” Hewitt is adamant that the competition must stay best of five sets and retain its current home and away element. The latter he feels is crucial to developing young players by exposing them to the Davis Cup’s fevered atmosphere, while at the same time growing the sport by ensuring fans across the world can see exciting top-level tennis. Hewitt adds that details like both teams having their own locker room are unique in tennis to the Davis Cup and “are the little things that people sitting making these decisions that have never played the game or represented their country wouldn’t have a clue about.” It is striking to observe the complete conviction in Hewitt as he speaks, and it offers a tiny insight into what it must be like standing on the other side of the net as he chases down every ball and screams “C’mon!” in your face. Admittedly, Hewitt has mellowed slightly since his pugnacious peak. But there are still some concessions he will refuse to make, such as letting his nine-year-old son Cruz – a promising junior – beat him at tennis. “Sometimes he gets me to a couple of breakers,” Hewitt says, smirking. “But beating me? I wouldn’t hear the end of it.” Lleyton Hewitt will play doubles with Nick Kyrgios at the Fever-Tree Championships, which starts on Monday at The Queen’s Club. Tickets – www.fevertreechampionships.com
Lleyton Hewitt exclusive interview: On being a tennis addict, Andy Murray and why proposed reforms 'would kill the Davis Cup'
On a gloomy day in south-west London suburbia, the sound of tennis balls being thwacked back and forth fills the air. Winning shots are celebrated with polite smatterings of applause, punctuated by solemn calls of “15-0 … deuce … game” from the various umpires. This is the Surbiton Trophy – a low-key Challenger event that takes place in the lead-up to Wimbledon. It is designed mainly for younger players hoping to climb the tennis ladder and veterans who never quite made it to the top level. The doubles competition especially is not where you would expect to find a supposedly retired two-time grand slam champion and former world No 1. But for Lleyton Hewitt, who won Wimbledon 16 years ago and first competed at the Australian Open as a 15 year old in 1997, retirement is a fluid concept. “When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time,” he says at the Surbiton Racket & Fitness Club, still looking in peak physical condition aged 37. “So I guess while my body is still able and I’m still mentally willing to train and stay in good shape, I may as well go out there and have a go.” Hewitt ended up battling to the semi-finals of the Surbiton event with the young Australian Alex Bolt, having earlier this year reached the quarters of the Australian Open and Estoril Open with Sam Groth and Alex de Minaur respectively. He competed at the Rosmalen Championships this week with Bolt and next week Hewitt will line up with Nick Kyrgios in the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, where he won four singles titles in the early to mid-2000s. A Wimbledon doubles wild card also looks likely. This is all in spite of the fact that Hewitt officially quit in January 2016, theoretically bringing an end to a career that saw him become the youngest ever male world No 1 aged 20 in 2001. It may seem like ancient history now but before Roger Federer – who is only six months Hewitt’s junior – and Rafael Nadal, Hewitt looked set to dominate tennis with his fist-pumping, eye-popping intensity. Hewitt ultimately lacked the firepower to add more grand slams to his US Open and Wimbledon wins but in his so-called retirement, he has found a second wind. Hewitt plays occasional doubles events, captains the Australian Davis Cup team and coaches young Aussie players like world No 96 De Minaur. He and wife Bec also have three young children – daughters Mia (12) and Ava (seven), and son Cruz (nine) – to look after. Hewitt poses with Wimbledon trophy after his win in 2002 Credit: Getty Images In fact, Hewitt is so busy these days he resembles the former CEO who in retirement sits on a board, advises a charity and has Russian lessons in their spare time. And yet despite how full his life is, and having achieved all that he has, Hewitt is grinding away in front of a few hundred spectators in Surbiton. Why bother? “I guess in some ways I’m addicted to tennis,” Hewitt explains. “I’m still a competitive guy when I get on the court. I love competing, whatever it is. I play over-35s basketball in Melbourne on a Wednesday night and it’s competitive. It gets the juices flowing.” Does Hewitt still think he could cut it in the singles? “At times I do, yeah,” he replies. “I can still hit pretty well.” When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time. So I may as well go out there and have a go Hewitt proudly describes beating Novak Djokovic in a quick-fire Tie Break Tens event in January, and you suspect that were it not for a litany of injuries – including operations on both hips and debilitating foot surgery – he would still be on the singles circuit. Instead, even the indefatigable Hewitt eventually had to listen to his creaking body. But the multiple hip surgeries he had to deal with make him well placed to comment on the plight of Andy Murray, who is desperately trying to overcome his own intractable hip problem but will make his comeback at Queen’s against Hewitt’s doubles partner, Kyrgios. Hewitt’s operations were not quite as serious as Murray’s was in January, but whatever the injury he suggests the psychological challenges can be as big as the physical ones: “It’s tough. Not just physically but more mentally because you know you’re capable of still playing great tennis. Hewitt has sympathy for Andy Murray trying to recover from a hip injury Credit: Getty Images “That’s where it becomes more of a mental battle and I’ve spoken to Andy a few times since he had the operation. You realise how much you miss it and how much you do actually love the sport.” While Murray soldiers on, Hewitt had to accept two years ago that he would not be able to remain a full-time player. But even before he quit, Hewitt started making retirement plans and was named Australia’s Davis Cup captain in October 2015 – a role he seemed destined for since debuting for his country aged 18. Unlike most leading players, Hewitt prioritised the Davis Cup throughout his career – winning the competition twice – and he expects a similar dedication from his young charges now. Hewitt insists this is the case, even if he has inherited a group of talented but hugely complex individuals. The mercurial Kyrgios is one such player but Hewitt says the pair have “a fantastic relationship”. “He’s got to become a bit more disciplined with his body and keep working hard and pushing himself but he’s an extraordinary talent. He’s destined for the top 10.” Lleyton Hewitt enjoys his role as Australia's Davis Cup captain Credit: AFP Of Bernard Tomic, whose ranking has plummeted amid an existential crisis that includes being fined £11,600 after saying he was “bored” during a Wimbledon defeat last year and appearing on Australia’s I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, Hewitt shakes his head. “With Bernie, it’s pretty frustrating because he is talented,” Hewitt says. “But it comes back to him and his will to go out there and push himself.” The passion that defined Hewitt on court is evident when discussing his fellow Australians, but he really comes alive when assessing proposals to radically revamp the Davis Cup. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) – funded by a consortium led by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique – plans to alter the competition from a knockout format of four home-and-away ties to one home-and-away tie followed by an 18-team event in a neutral venue. Hewitt is scathing about the proposals, which include making matches best of three rather than best of five sets and will be voted on at the ITF’s annual general meeting in August: “The new reforms would kill the Davis Cup. No doubt. How the world looked in 1997 “You cannot throw more than 100 years’ history down the drain for money. It shows we need better people running the sport at the ITF. I don’t think they have enough knowledge. We just can’t sell our soul for this event.” Hewitt is adamant that the competition must stay best of five sets and retain its current home and away element. The latter he feels is crucial to developing young players by exposing them to the Davis Cup’s fevered atmosphere, while at the same time growing the sport by ensuring fans across the world can see exciting top-level tennis. Hewitt adds that details like both teams having their own locker room are unique in tennis to the Davis Cup and “are the little things that people sitting making these decisions that have never played the game or represented their country wouldn’t have a clue about.” It is striking to observe the complete conviction in Hewitt as he speaks, and it offers a tiny insight into what it must be like standing on the other side of the net as he chases down every ball and screams “C’mon!” in your face. Admittedly, Hewitt has mellowed slightly since his pugnacious peak. But there are still some concessions he will refuse to make, such as letting his nine-year-old son Cruz – a promising junior – beat him at tennis. “Sometimes he gets me to a couple of breakers,” Hewitt says, smirking. “But beating me? I wouldn’t hear the end of it.” Lleyton Hewitt will play doubles with Nick Kyrgios at the Fever-Tree Championships, which starts on Monday at The Queen’s Club. Tickets – www.fevertreechampionships.com
On a gloomy day in south-west London suburbia, the sound of tennis balls being thwacked back and forth fills the air. Winning shots are celebrated with polite smatterings of applause, punctuated by solemn calls of “15-0 … deuce … game” from the various umpires. This is the Surbiton Trophy – a low-key Challenger event that takes place in the lead-up to Wimbledon. It is designed mainly for younger players hoping to climb the tennis ladder and veterans who never quite made it to the top level. The doubles competition especially is not where you would expect to find a supposedly retired two-time grand slam champion and former world No 1. But for Lleyton Hewitt, who won Wimbledon 16 years ago and first competed at the Australian Open as a 15 year old in 1997, retirement is a fluid concept. “When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time,” he says at the Surbiton Racket & Fitness Club, still looking in peak physical condition aged 37. “So I guess while my body is still able and I’m still mentally willing to train and stay in good shape, I may as well go out there and have a go.” Hewitt ended up battling to the semi-finals of the Surbiton event with the young Australian Alex Bolt, having earlier this year reached the quarters of the Australian Open and Estoril Open with Sam Groth and Alex de Minaur respectively. He competed at the Rosmalen Championships this week with Bolt and next week Hewitt will line up with Nick Kyrgios in the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, where he won four singles titles in the early to mid-2000s. A Wimbledon doubles wild card also looks likely. This is all in spite of the fact that Hewitt officially quit in January 2016, theoretically bringing an end to a career that saw him become the youngest ever male world No 1 aged 20 in 2001. It may seem like ancient history now but before Roger Federer – who is only six months Hewitt’s junior – and Rafael Nadal, Hewitt looked set to dominate tennis with his fist-pumping, eye-popping intensity. Hewitt ultimately lacked the firepower to add more grand slams to his US Open and Wimbledon wins but in his so-called retirement, he has found a second wind. Hewitt plays occasional doubles events, captains the Australian Davis Cup team and coaches young Aussie players like world No 96 De Minaur. He and wife Bec also have three young children – daughters Mia (12) and Ava (seven), and son Cruz (nine) – to look after. Hewitt poses with Wimbledon trophy after his win in 2002 Credit: Getty Images In fact, Hewitt is so busy these days he resembles the former CEO who in retirement sits on a board, advises a charity and has Russian lessons in their spare time. And yet despite how full his life is, and having achieved all that he has, Hewitt is grinding away in front of a few hundred spectators in Surbiton. Why bother? “I guess in some ways I’m addicted to tennis,” Hewitt explains. “I’m still a competitive guy when I get on the court. I love competing, whatever it is. I play over-35s basketball in Melbourne on a Wednesday night and it’s competitive. It gets the juices flowing.” Does Hewitt still think he could cut it in the singles? “At times I do, yeah,” he replies. “I can still hit pretty well.” When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time. So I may as well go out there and have a go Hewitt proudly describes beating Novak Djokovic in a quick-fire Tie Break Tens event in January, and you suspect that were it not for a litany of injuries – including operations on both hips and debilitating foot surgery – he would still be on the singles circuit. Instead, even the indefatigable Hewitt eventually had to listen to his creaking body. But the multiple hip surgeries he had to deal with make him well placed to comment on the plight of Andy Murray, who is desperately trying to overcome his own intractable hip problem but will make his comeback at Queen’s against Hewitt’s doubles partner, Kyrgios. Hewitt’s operations were not quite as serious as Murray’s was in January, but whatever the injury he suggests the psychological challenges can be as big as the physical ones: “It’s tough. Not just physically but more mentally because you know you’re capable of still playing great tennis. Hewitt has sympathy for Andy Murray trying to recover from a hip injury Credit: Getty Images “That’s where it becomes more of a mental battle and I’ve spoken to Andy a few times since he had the operation. You realise how much you miss it and how much you do actually love the sport.” While Murray soldiers on, Hewitt had to accept two years ago that he would not be able to remain a full-time player. But even before he quit, Hewitt started making retirement plans and was named Australia’s Davis Cup captain in October 2015 – a role he seemed destined for since debuting for his country aged 18. Unlike most leading players, Hewitt prioritised the Davis Cup throughout his career – winning the competition twice – and he expects a similar dedication from his young charges now. Hewitt insists this is the case, even if he has inherited a group of talented but hugely complex individuals. The mercurial Kyrgios is one such player but Hewitt says the pair have “a fantastic relationship”. “He’s got to become a bit more disciplined with his body and keep working hard and pushing himself but he’s an extraordinary talent. He’s destined for the top 10.” Lleyton Hewitt enjoys his role as Australia's Davis Cup captain Credit: AFP Of Bernard Tomic, whose ranking has plummeted amid an existential crisis that includes being fined £11,600 after saying he was “bored” during a Wimbledon defeat last year and appearing on Australia’s I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, Hewitt shakes his head. “With Bernie, it’s pretty frustrating because he is talented,” Hewitt says. “But it comes back to him and his will to go out there and push himself.” The passion that defined Hewitt on court is evident when discussing his fellow Australians, but he really comes alive when assessing proposals to radically revamp the Davis Cup. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) – funded by a consortium led by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique – plans to alter the competition from a knockout format of four home-and-away ties to one home-and-away tie followed by an 18-team event in a neutral venue. Hewitt is scathing about the proposals, which include making matches best of three rather than best of five sets and will be voted on at the ITF’s annual general meeting in August: “The new reforms would kill the Davis Cup. No doubt. How the world looked in 1997 “You cannot throw more than 100 years’ history down the drain for money. It shows we need better people running the sport at the ITF. I don’t think they have enough knowledge. We just can’t sell our soul for this event.” Hewitt is adamant that the competition must stay best of five sets and retain its current home and away element. The latter he feels is crucial to developing young players by exposing them to the Davis Cup’s fevered atmosphere, while at the same time growing the sport by ensuring fans across the world can see exciting top-level tennis. Hewitt adds that details like both teams having their own locker room are unique in tennis to the Davis Cup and “are the little things that people sitting making these decisions that have never played the game or represented their country wouldn’t have a clue about.” It is striking to observe the complete conviction in Hewitt as he speaks, and it offers a tiny insight into what it must be like standing on the other side of the net as he chases down every ball and screams “C’mon!” in your face. Admittedly, Hewitt has mellowed slightly since his pugnacious peak. But there are still some concessions he will refuse to make, such as letting his nine-year-old son Cruz – a promising junior – beat him at tennis. “Sometimes he gets me to a couple of breakers,” Hewitt says, smirking. “But beating me? I wouldn’t hear the end of it.” Lleyton Hewitt will play doubles with Nick Kyrgios at the Fever-Tree Championships, which starts on Monday at The Queen’s Club. Tickets – www.fevertreechampionships.com
Lleyton Hewitt exclusive interview: On being a tennis addict, Andy Murray and why proposed reforms 'would kill the Davis Cup'
On a gloomy day in south-west London suburbia, the sound of tennis balls being thwacked back and forth fills the air. Winning shots are celebrated with polite smatterings of applause, punctuated by solemn calls of “15-0 … deuce … game” from the various umpires. This is the Surbiton Trophy – a low-key Challenger event that takes place in the lead-up to Wimbledon. It is designed mainly for younger players hoping to climb the tennis ladder and veterans who never quite made it to the top level. The doubles competition especially is not where you would expect to find a supposedly retired two-time grand slam champion and former world No 1. But for Lleyton Hewitt, who won Wimbledon 16 years ago and first competed at the Australian Open as a 15 year old in 1997, retirement is a fluid concept. “When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time,” he says at the Surbiton Racket & Fitness Club, still looking in peak physical condition aged 37. “So I guess while my body is still able and I’m still mentally willing to train and stay in good shape, I may as well go out there and have a go.” Hewitt ended up battling to the semi-finals of the Surbiton event with the young Australian Alex Bolt, having earlier this year reached the quarters of the Australian Open and Estoril Open with Sam Groth and Alex de Minaur respectively. He competed at the Rosmalen Championships this week with Bolt and next week Hewitt will line up with Nick Kyrgios in the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, where he won four singles titles in the early to mid-2000s. A Wimbledon doubles wild card also looks likely. This is all in spite of the fact that Hewitt officially quit in January 2016, theoretically bringing an end to a career that saw him become the youngest ever male world No 1 aged 20 in 2001. It may seem like ancient history now but before Roger Federer – who is only six months Hewitt’s junior – and Rafael Nadal, Hewitt looked set to dominate tennis with his fist-pumping, eye-popping intensity. Hewitt ultimately lacked the firepower to add more grand slams to his US Open and Wimbledon wins but in his so-called retirement, he has found a second wind. Hewitt plays occasional doubles events, captains the Australian Davis Cup team and coaches young Aussie players like world No 96 De Minaur. He and wife Bec also have three young children – daughters Mia (12) and Ava (seven), and son Cruz (nine) – to look after. Hewitt poses with Wimbledon trophy after his win in 2002 Credit: Getty Images In fact, Hewitt is so busy these days he resembles the former CEO who in retirement sits on a board, advises a charity and has Russian lessons in their spare time. And yet despite how full his life is, and having achieved all that he has, Hewitt is grinding away in front of a few hundred spectators in Surbiton. Why bother? “I guess in some ways I’m addicted to tennis,” Hewitt explains. “I’m still a competitive guy when I get on the court. I love competing, whatever it is. I play over-35s basketball in Melbourne on a Wednesday night and it’s competitive. It gets the juices flowing.” Does Hewitt still think he could cut it in the singles? “At times I do, yeah,” he replies. “I can still hit pretty well.” When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time. So I may as well go out there and have a go Hewitt proudly describes beating Novak Djokovic in a quick-fire Tie Break Tens event in January, and you suspect that were it not for a litany of injuries – including operations on both hips and debilitating foot surgery – he would still be on the singles circuit. Instead, even the indefatigable Hewitt eventually had to listen to his creaking body. But the multiple hip surgeries he had to deal with make him well placed to comment on the plight of Andy Murray, who is desperately trying to overcome his own intractable hip problem but will make his comeback at Queen’s against Hewitt’s doubles partner, Kyrgios. Hewitt’s operations were not quite as serious as Murray’s was in January, but whatever the injury he suggests the psychological challenges can be as big as the physical ones: “It’s tough. Not just physically but more mentally because you know you’re capable of still playing great tennis. Hewitt has sympathy for Andy Murray trying to recover from a hip injury Credit: Getty Images “That’s where it becomes more of a mental battle and I’ve spoken to Andy a few times since he had the operation. You realise how much you miss it and how much you do actually love the sport.” While Murray soldiers on, Hewitt had to accept two years ago that he would not be able to remain a full-time player. But even before he quit, Hewitt started making retirement plans and was named Australia’s Davis Cup captain in October 2015 – a role he seemed destined for since debuting for his country aged 18. Unlike most leading players, Hewitt prioritised the Davis Cup throughout his career – winning the competition twice – and he expects a similar dedication from his young charges now. Hewitt insists this is the case, even if he has inherited a group of talented but hugely complex individuals. The mercurial Kyrgios is one such player but Hewitt says the pair have “a fantastic relationship”. “He’s got to become a bit more disciplined with his body and keep working hard and pushing himself but he’s an extraordinary talent. He’s destined for the top 10.” Lleyton Hewitt enjoys his role as Australia's Davis Cup captain Credit: AFP Of Bernard Tomic, whose ranking has plummeted amid an existential crisis that includes being fined £11,600 after saying he was “bored” during a Wimbledon defeat last year and appearing on Australia’s I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, Hewitt shakes his head. “With Bernie, it’s pretty frustrating because he is talented,” Hewitt says. “But it comes back to him and his will to go out there and push himself.” The passion that defined Hewitt on court is evident when discussing his fellow Australians, but he really comes alive when assessing proposals to radically revamp the Davis Cup. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) – funded by a consortium led by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique – plans to alter the competition from a knockout format of four home-and-away ties to one home-and-away tie followed by an 18-team event in a neutral venue. Hewitt is scathing about the proposals, which include making matches best of three rather than best of five sets and will be voted on at the ITF’s annual general meeting in August: “The new reforms would kill the Davis Cup. No doubt. How the world looked in 1997 “You cannot throw more than 100 years’ history down the drain for money. It shows we need better people running the sport at the ITF. I don’t think they have enough knowledge. We just can’t sell our soul for this event.” Hewitt is adamant that the competition must stay best of five sets and retain its current home and away element. The latter he feels is crucial to developing young players by exposing them to the Davis Cup’s fevered atmosphere, while at the same time growing the sport by ensuring fans across the world can see exciting top-level tennis. Hewitt adds that details like both teams having their own locker room are unique in tennis to the Davis Cup and “are the little things that people sitting making these decisions that have never played the game or represented their country wouldn’t have a clue about.” It is striking to observe the complete conviction in Hewitt as he speaks, and it offers a tiny insight into what it must be like standing on the other side of the net as he chases down every ball and screams “C’mon!” in your face. Admittedly, Hewitt has mellowed slightly since his pugnacious peak. But there are still some concessions he will refuse to make, such as letting his nine-year-old son Cruz – a promising junior – beat him at tennis. “Sometimes he gets me to a couple of breakers,” Hewitt says, smirking. “But beating me? I wouldn’t hear the end of it.” Lleyton Hewitt will play doubles with Nick Kyrgios at the Fever-Tree Championships, which starts on Monday at The Queen’s Club. Tickets – www.fevertreechampionships.com
On a gloomy day in south-west London suburbia, the sound of tennis balls being thwacked back and forth fills the air. Winning shots are celebrated with polite smatterings of applause, punctuated by solemn calls of “15-0 … deuce … game” from the various umpires. This is the Surbiton Trophy – a low-key Challenger event that takes place in the lead-up to Wimbledon. It is designed mainly for younger players hoping to climb the tennis ladder and veterans who never quite made it to the top level. The doubles competition especially is not where you would expect to find a supposedly retired two-time grand slam champion and former world No 1. But for Lleyton Hewitt, who won Wimbledon 16 years ago and first competed at the Australian Open as a 15 year old in 1997, retirement is a fluid concept. “When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time,” he says at the Surbiton Racket & Fitness Club, still looking in peak physical condition aged 37. “So I guess while my body is still able and I’m still mentally willing to train and stay in good shape, I may as well go out there and have a go.” Hewitt ended up battling to the semi-finals of the Surbiton event with the young Australian Alex Bolt, having earlier this year reached the quarters of the Australian Open and Estoril Open with Sam Groth and Alex de Minaur respectively. He competed at the Rosmalen Championships this week with Bolt and next week Hewitt will line up with Nick Kyrgios in the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, where he won four singles titles in the early to mid-2000s. A Wimbledon doubles wild card also looks likely. This is all in spite of the fact that Hewitt officially quit in January 2016, theoretically bringing an end to a career that saw him become the youngest ever male world No 1 aged 20 in 2001. It may seem like ancient history now but before Roger Federer – who is only six months Hewitt’s junior – and Rafael Nadal, Hewitt looked set to dominate tennis with his fist-pumping, eye-popping intensity. Hewitt ultimately lacked the firepower to add more grand slams to his US Open and Wimbledon wins but in his so-called retirement, he has found a second wind. Hewitt plays occasional doubles events, captains the Australian Davis Cup team and coaches young Aussie players like world No 96 De Minaur. He and wife Bec also have three young children – daughters Mia (12) and Ava (seven), and son Cruz (nine) – to look after. Hewitt poses with Wimbledon trophy after his win in 2002 Credit: Getty Images In fact, Hewitt is so busy these days he resembles the former CEO who in retirement sits on a board, advises a charity and has Russian lessons in their spare time. And yet despite how full his life is, and having achieved all that he has, Hewitt is grinding away in front of a few hundred spectators in Surbiton. Why bother? “I guess in some ways I’m addicted to tennis,” Hewitt explains. “I’m still a competitive guy when I get on the court. I love competing, whatever it is. I play over-35s basketball in Melbourne on a Wednesday night and it’s competitive. It gets the juices flowing.” Does Hewitt still think he could cut it in the singles? “At times I do, yeah,” he replies. “I can still hit pretty well.” When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time. So I may as well go out there and have a go Hewitt proudly describes beating Novak Djokovic in a quick-fire Tie Break Tens event in January, and you suspect that were it not for a litany of injuries – including operations on both hips and debilitating foot surgery – he would still be on the singles circuit. Instead, even the indefatigable Hewitt eventually had to listen to his creaking body. But the multiple hip surgeries he had to deal with make him well placed to comment on the plight of Andy Murray, who is desperately trying to overcome his own intractable hip problem but will make his comeback at Queen’s against Hewitt’s doubles partner, Kyrgios. Hewitt’s operations were not quite as serious as Murray’s was in January, but whatever the injury he suggests the psychological challenges can be as big as the physical ones: “It’s tough. Not just physically but more mentally because you know you’re capable of still playing great tennis. Hewitt has sympathy for Andy Murray trying to recover from a hip injury Credit: Getty Images “That’s where it becomes more of a mental battle and I’ve spoken to Andy a few times since he had the operation. You realise how much you miss it and how much you do actually love the sport.” While Murray soldiers on, Hewitt had to accept two years ago that he would not be able to remain a full-time player. But even before he quit, Hewitt started making retirement plans and was named Australia’s Davis Cup captain in October 2015 – a role he seemed destined for since debuting for his country aged 18. Unlike most leading players, Hewitt prioritised the Davis Cup throughout his career – winning the competition twice – and he expects a similar dedication from his young charges now. Hewitt insists this is the case, even if he has inherited a group of talented but hugely complex individuals. The mercurial Kyrgios is one such player but Hewitt says the pair have “a fantastic relationship”. “He’s got to become a bit more disciplined with his body and keep working hard and pushing himself but he’s an extraordinary talent. He’s destined for the top 10.” Lleyton Hewitt enjoys his role as Australia's Davis Cup captain Credit: AFP Of Bernard Tomic, whose ranking has plummeted amid an existential crisis that includes being fined £11,600 after saying he was “bored” during a Wimbledon defeat last year and appearing on Australia’s I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, Hewitt shakes his head. “With Bernie, it’s pretty frustrating because he is talented,” Hewitt says. “But it comes back to him and his will to go out there and push himself.” The passion that defined Hewitt on court is evident when discussing his fellow Australians, but he really comes alive when assessing proposals to radically revamp the Davis Cup. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) – funded by a consortium led by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique – plans to alter the competition from a knockout format of four home-and-away ties to one home-and-away tie followed by an 18-team event in a neutral venue. Hewitt is scathing about the proposals, which include making matches best of three rather than best of five sets and will be voted on at the ITF’s annual general meeting in August: “The new reforms would kill the Davis Cup. No doubt. How the world looked in 1997 “You cannot throw more than 100 years’ history down the drain for money. It shows we need better people running the sport at the ITF. I don’t think they have enough knowledge. We just can’t sell our soul for this event.” Hewitt is adamant that the competition must stay best of five sets and retain its current home and away element. The latter he feels is crucial to developing young players by exposing them to the Davis Cup’s fevered atmosphere, while at the same time growing the sport by ensuring fans across the world can see exciting top-level tennis. Hewitt adds that details like both teams having their own locker room are unique in tennis to the Davis Cup and “are the little things that people sitting making these decisions that have never played the game or represented their country wouldn’t have a clue about.” It is striking to observe the complete conviction in Hewitt as he speaks, and it offers a tiny insight into what it must be like standing on the other side of the net as he chases down every ball and screams “C’mon!” in your face. Admittedly, Hewitt has mellowed slightly since his pugnacious peak. But there are still some concessions he will refuse to make, such as letting his nine-year-old son Cruz – a promising junior – beat him at tennis. “Sometimes he gets me to a couple of breakers,” Hewitt says, smirking. “But beating me? I wouldn’t hear the end of it.” Lleyton Hewitt will play doubles with Nick Kyrgios at the Fever-Tree Championships, which starts on Monday at The Queen’s Club. Tickets – www.fevertreechampionships.com
Lleyton Hewitt exclusive interview: On being a tennis addict, Andy Murray and why proposed reforms 'would kill the Davis Cup'
On a gloomy day in south-west London suburbia, the sound of tennis balls being thwacked back and forth fills the air. Winning shots are celebrated with polite smatterings of applause, punctuated by solemn calls of “15-0 … deuce … game” from the various umpires. This is the Surbiton Trophy – a low-key Challenger event that takes place in the lead-up to Wimbledon. It is designed mainly for younger players hoping to climb the tennis ladder and veterans who never quite made it to the top level. The doubles competition especially is not where you would expect to find a supposedly retired two-time grand slam champion and former world No 1. But for Lleyton Hewitt, who won Wimbledon 16 years ago and first competed at the Australian Open as a 15 year old in 1997, retirement is a fluid concept. “When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time,” he says at the Surbiton Racket & Fitness Club, still looking in peak physical condition aged 37. “So I guess while my body is still able and I’m still mentally willing to train and stay in good shape, I may as well go out there and have a go.” Hewitt ended up battling to the semi-finals of the Surbiton event with the young Australian Alex Bolt, having earlier this year reached the quarters of the Australian Open and Estoril Open with Sam Groth and Alex de Minaur respectively. He competed at the Rosmalen Championships this week with Bolt and next week Hewitt will line up with Nick Kyrgios in the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, where he won four singles titles in the early to mid-2000s. A Wimbledon doubles wild card also looks likely. This is all in spite of the fact that Hewitt officially quit in January 2016, theoretically bringing an end to a career that saw him become the youngest ever male world No 1 aged 20 in 2001. It may seem like ancient history now but before Roger Federer – who is only six months Hewitt’s junior – and Rafael Nadal, Hewitt looked set to dominate tennis with his fist-pumping, eye-popping intensity. Hewitt ultimately lacked the firepower to add more grand slams to his US Open and Wimbledon wins but in his so-called retirement, he has found a second wind. Hewitt plays occasional doubles events, captains the Australian Davis Cup team and coaches young Aussie players like world No 96 De Minaur. He and wife Bec also have three young children – daughters Mia (12) and Ava (seven), and son Cruz (nine) – to look after. Hewitt poses with Wimbledon trophy after his win in 2002 Credit: Getty Images In fact, Hewitt is so busy these days he resembles the former CEO who in retirement sits on a board, advises a charity and has Russian lessons in their spare time. And yet despite how full his life is, and having achieved all that he has, Hewitt is grinding away in front of a few hundred spectators in Surbiton. Why bother? “I guess in some ways I’m addicted to tennis,” Hewitt explains. “I’m still a competitive guy when I get on the court. I love competing, whatever it is. I play over-35s basketball in Melbourne on a Wednesday night and it’s competitive. It gets the juices flowing.” Does Hewitt still think he could cut it in the singles? “At times I do, yeah,” he replies. “I can still hit pretty well.” When you’re retired you’re retired for an awfully long time. So I may as well go out there and have a go Hewitt proudly describes beating Novak Djokovic in a quick-fire Tie Break Tens event in January, and you suspect that were it not for a litany of injuries – including operations on both hips and debilitating foot surgery – he would still be on the singles circuit. Instead, even the indefatigable Hewitt eventually had to listen to his creaking body. But the multiple hip surgeries he had to deal with make him well placed to comment on the plight of Andy Murray, who is desperately trying to overcome his own intractable hip problem but will make his comeback at Queen’s against Hewitt’s doubles partner, Kyrgios. Hewitt’s operations were not quite as serious as Murray’s was in January, but whatever the injury he suggests the psychological challenges can be as big as the physical ones: “It’s tough. Not just physically but more mentally because you know you’re capable of still playing great tennis. Hewitt has sympathy for Andy Murray trying to recover from a hip injury Credit: Getty Images “That’s where it becomes more of a mental battle and I’ve spoken to Andy a few times since he had the operation. You realise how much you miss it and how much you do actually love the sport.” While Murray soldiers on, Hewitt had to accept two years ago that he would not be able to remain a full-time player. But even before he quit, Hewitt started making retirement plans and was named Australia’s Davis Cup captain in October 2015 – a role he seemed destined for since debuting for his country aged 18. Unlike most leading players, Hewitt prioritised the Davis Cup throughout his career – winning the competition twice – and he expects a similar dedication from his young charges now. Hewitt insists this is the case, even if he has inherited a group of talented but hugely complex individuals. The mercurial Kyrgios is one such player but Hewitt says the pair have “a fantastic relationship”. “He’s got to become a bit more disciplined with his body and keep working hard and pushing himself but he’s an extraordinary talent. He’s destined for the top 10.” Lleyton Hewitt enjoys his role as Australia's Davis Cup captain Credit: AFP Of Bernard Tomic, whose ranking has plummeted amid an existential crisis that includes being fined £11,600 after saying he was “bored” during a Wimbledon defeat last year and appearing on Australia’s I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, Hewitt shakes his head. “With Bernie, it’s pretty frustrating because he is talented,” Hewitt says. “But it comes back to him and his will to go out there and push himself.” The passion that defined Hewitt on court is evident when discussing his fellow Australians, but he really comes alive when assessing proposals to radically revamp the Davis Cup. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) – funded by a consortium led by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique – plans to alter the competition from a knockout format of four home-and-away ties to one home-and-away tie followed by an 18-team event in a neutral venue. Hewitt is scathing about the proposals, which include making matches best of three rather than best of five sets and will be voted on at the ITF’s annual general meeting in August: “The new reforms would kill the Davis Cup. No doubt. How the world looked in 1997 “You cannot throw more than 100 years’ history down the drain for money. It shows we need better people running the sport at the ITF. I don’t think they have enough knowledge. We just can’t sell our soul for this event.” Hewitt is adamant that the competition must stay best of five sets and retain its current home and away element. The latter he feels is crucial to developing young players by exposing them to the Davis Cup’s fevered atmosphere, while at the same time growing the sport by ensuring fans across the world can see exciting top-level tennis. Hewitt adds that details like both teams having their own locker room are unique in tennis to the Davis Cup and “are the little things that people sitting making these decisions that have never played the game or represented their country wouldn’t have a clue about.” It is striking to observe the complete conviction in Hewitt as he speaks, and it offers a tiny insight into what it must be like standing on the other side of the net as he chases down every ball and screams “C’mon!” in your face. Admittedly, Hewitt has mellowed slightly since his pugnacious peak. But there are still some concessions he will refuse to make, such as letting his nine-year-old son Cruz – a promising junior – beat him at tennis. “Sometimes he gets me to a couple of breakers,” Hewitt says, smirking. “But beating me? I wouldn’t hear the end of it.” Lleyton Hewitt will play doubles with Nick Kyrgios at the Fever-Tree Championships, which starts on Monday at The Queen’s Club. Tickets – www.fevertreechampionships.com
Tennis great Rafael Nadal played the role of official starter on Saturday to get the 86th edition of the 24 Hours Le Mans classic endurance race underway amid light rain.
Rafael Nadal gets 86th edition of 24 Hours of Le Mans race underway
Tennis great Rafael Nadal played the role of official starter on Saturday to get the 86th edition of the 24 Hours Le Mans classic endurance race underway amid light rain.
Tennis great Rafael Nadal played the role of official starter on Saturday to get the 86th edition of the 24 Hours Le Mans classic endurance race underway amid light rain.
Rafael Nadal gets 86th edition of 24 Hours of Le Mans race underway
Tennis great Rafael Nadal played the role of official starter on Saturday to get the 86th edition of the 24 Hours Le Mans classic endurance race underway amid light rain.
Tennis great Rafael Nadal played the role of official starter on Saturday to get the 86th edition of the 24 Hours Le Mans classic endurance race underway amid light rain.
Rafael Nadal gets 86th edition of 24 Hours of Le Mans race underway
Tennis great Rafael Nadal played the role of official starter on Saturday to get the 86th edition of the 24 Hours Le Mans classic endurance race underway amid light rain.
Roger Federer did not take long to reach the top of the rankings on his return to action, dethroning Rafael Nadal by beating Nick Kyrgios.
Federer back at number one after edging out Kyrgios
Roger Federer did not take long to reach the top of the rankings on his return to action, dethroning Rafael Nadal by beating Nick Kyrgios.
Driver of the Toyota TS050 Hybrid No8, Fernando Alonso of Spain, walks on the track prior to the start of the 86th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Saturday, June 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Nadal gets 24 Hours Le Mans race underway
Driver of the Toyota TS050 Hybrid No8, Fernando Alonso of Spain, walks on the track prior to the start of the 86th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Saturday, June 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Spain's Rafael Nadal waves to supporters prior to the start of the 86th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Saturday, June 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Nadal gets 24 Hours Le Mans race underway
Spain's Rafael Nadal waves to supporters prior to the start of the 86th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Saturday, June 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Spain's Rafael Nadal walks on the track prior to the start of the 86th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Saturday, June 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Nadal gets 24 Hours Le Mans race underway
Spain's Rafael Nadal walks on the track prior to the start of the 86th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Saturday, June 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Each of next week’s grass-court events took a hit to its celebrity pulling power on Wednesday, as Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s and ­Maria Sharapova withdrew from the Birmingham Classic. Nadal had already hinted that he might skip his planned Wimbledon warm-up, soon after lifting his 11th French Open title on Sunday. On Wednesday, he ­explained that, “I have spoken to my doctors and I need to listen to what my body is telling me.” Sharapova made a similar comment, saying that, “I need to take care of my body” after her own run to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros. Just as Nadal has now withdrawn from Queen’s for a third consecutive season, this is the second year running that Sharapova has failed to show up at Birmingham. Her absence is ironic in light of the moral contortions that Michael Downey, the previous Lawn Tennis Association chief executive, put himself through in order to justify handing her a two-year deal – complete with guaranteed wild cards – so soon ­after her return from a 15-month doping ban. “Not everyone will agree,” he wrote last year, in a 700-word email to stakeholders. Sharapova has pulled out of Birmingham to look after her body Credit: Reuters The wild-card debate around Dan Evans is only likely to intensify after he pulled off another fine win in the Nottingham Open over world No 133 Sergiy Stakhovsky. Evans is thus through to the quarter-finals for the second straight week and will move comfortably inside the top 500 when the next set of rankings is published on Monday. His 7-5, 7-6 win was particularly notable because Stakhovsky is a fine grass-court player, a ­talented volleyer, who is best known for ending Roger Federer’s sequence of 36 straight grand-slam quarter-finals with a second-round Wimbledon win in 2013. On this form, Evans would seem to be worthy of an ­invitation into qualifying for Queen’s this weekend. To get there, though, he would have to lose his next match in ­Nottingham.
Rafael Nadal pulls out of Queen's while Maria Sharapova withdraws from Birmingham Classic
Each of next week’s grass-court events took a hit to its celebrity pulling power on Wednesday, as Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s and ­Maria Sharapova withdrew from the Birmingham Classic. Nadal had already hinted that he might skip his planned Wimbledon warm-up, soon after lifting his 11th French Open title on Sunday. On Wednesday, he ­explained that, “I have spoken to my doctors and I need to listen to what my body is telling me.” Sharapova made a similar comment, saying that, “I need to take care of my body” after her own run to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros. Just as Nadal has now withdrawn from Queen’s for a third consecutive season, this is the second year running that Sharapova has failed to show up at Birmingham. Her absence is ironic in light of the moral contortions that Michael Downey, the previous Lawn Tennis Association chief executive, put himself through in order to justify handing her a two-year deal – complete with guaranteed wild cards – so soon ­after her return from a 15-month doping ban. “Not everyone will agree,” he wrote last year, in a 700-word email to stakeholders. Sharapova has pulled out of Birmingham to look after her body Credit: Reuters The wild-card debate around Dan Evans is only likely to intensify after he pulled off another fine win in the Nottingham Open over world No 133 Sergiy Stakhovsky. Evans is thus through to the quarter-finals for the second straight week and will move comfortably inside the top 500 when the next set of rankings is published on Monday. His 7-5, 7-6 win was particularly notable because Stakhovsky is a fine grass-court player, a ­talented volleyer, who is best known for ending Roger Federer’s sequence of 36 straight grand-slam quarter-finals with a second-round Wimbledon win in 2013. On this form, Evans would seem to be worthy of an ­invitation into qualifying for Queen’s this weekend. To get there, though, he would have to lose his next match in ­Nottingham.
Each of next week’s grass-court events took a hit to its celebrity pulling power on Wednesday, as Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s and ­Maria Sharapova withdrew from the Birmingham Classic. Nadal had already hinted that he might skip his planned Wimbledon warm-up, soon after lifting his 11th French Open title on Sunday. On Wednesday, he ­explained that, “I have spoken to my doctors and I need to listen to what my body is telling me.” Sharapova made a similar comment, saying that, “I need to take care of my body” after her own run to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros. Just as Nadal has now withdrawn from Queen’s for a third consecutive season, this is the second year running that Sharapova has failed to show up at Birmingham. Her absence is ironic in light of the moral contortions that Michael Downey, the previous Lawn Tennis Association chief executive, put himself through in order to justify handing her a two-year deal – complete with guaranteed wild cards – so soon ­after her return from a 15-month doping ban. “Not everyone will agree,” he wrote last year, in a 700-word email to stakeholders. Sharapova has pulled out of Birmingham to look after her body Credit: Reuters The wild-card debate around Dan Evans is only likely to intensify after he pulled off another fine win in the Nottingham Open over world No 133 Sergiy Stakhovsky. Evans is thus through to the quarter-finals for the second straight week and will move comfortably inside the top 500 when the next set of rankings is published on Monday. His 7-5, 7-6 win was particularly notable because Stakhovsky is a fine grass-court player, a ­talented volleyer, who is best known for ending Roger Federer’s sequence of 36 straight grand-slam quarter-finals with a second-round Wimbledon win in 2013. On this form, Evans would seem to be worthy of an ­invitation into qualifying for Queen’s this weekend. To get there, though, he would have to lose his next match in ­Nottingham.
Rafael Nadal pulls out of Queen's while Maria Sharapova withdraws from Birmingham Classic
Each of next week’s grass-court events took a hit to its celebrity pulling power on Wednesday, as Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s and ­Maria Sharapova withdrew from the Birmingham Classic. Nadal had already hinted that he might skip his planned Wimbledon warm-up, soon after lifting his 11th French Open title on Sunday. On Wednesday, he ­explained that, “I have spoken to my doctors and I need to listen to what my body is telling me.” Sharapova made a similar comment, saying that, “I need to take care of my body” after her own run to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros. Just as Nadal has now withdrawn from Queen’s for a third consecutive season, this is the second year running that Sharapova has failed to show up at Birmingham. Her absence is ironic in light of the moral contortions that Michael Downey, the previous Lawn Tennis Association chief executive, put himself through in order to justify handing her a two-year deal – complete with guaranteed wild cards – so soon ­after her return from a 15-month doping ban. “Not everyone will agree,” he wrote last year, in a 700-word email to stakeholders. Sharapova has pulled out of Birmingham to look after her body Credit: Reuters The wild-card debate around Dan Evans is only likely to intensify after he pulled off another fine win in the Nottingham Open over world No 133 Sergiy Stakhovsky. Evans is thus through to the quarter-finals for the second straight week and will move comfortably inside the top 500 when the next set of rankings is published on Monday. His 7-5, 7-6 win was particularly notable because Stakhovsky is a fine grass-court player, a ­talented volleyer, who is best known for ending Roger Federer’s sequence of 36 straight grand-slam quarter-finals with a second-round Wimbledon win in 2013. On this form, Evans would seem to be worthy of an ­invitation into qualifying for Queen’s this weekend. To get there, though, he would have to lose his next match in ­Nottingham.
Spain's Rafael Nadal holds the trophy as he celebrates winning the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Austria's Dominic Thiem in three sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, June 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
French Open champ Nadal withdraws from Queen's Club
Spain's Rafael Nadal holds the trophy as he celebrates winning the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Austria's Dominic Thiem in three sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, June 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Jun 10, 2018, Paris, France: Rafael Nadal (ESP) poses with the trophy after his men's singles final against Dominic Thiem (AUT) on day 15 of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Tennis: French Open
Jun 10, 2018, Paris, France: Rafael Nadal (ESP) poses with the trophy after his men's singles final against Dominic Thiem (AUT) on day 15 of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 10, 2018, Paris, France: Rafael Nadal (ESP) poses with the trophy after his men's singles final against Dominic Thiem (AUT) on day 15 of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Tennis: French Open
Jun 10, 2018, Paris, France: Rafael Nadal (ESP) poses with the trophy after his men's singles final against Dominic Thiem (AUT) on day 15 of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
French Open champion Rafael Nadal will miss the Wimbledon warm-up at Queen's Club (AFP Photo/Christophe ARCHAMBAULT)
French Open champion Rafael Nadal will miss the Wimbledon warm-up at Queen's Club
French Open champion Rafael Nadal will miss the Wimbledon warm-up at Queen's Club (AFP Photo/Christophe ARCHAMBAULT)
In his latest mailbag, Jon Wertheim looks back at Rafa Nadal's 11th Roland Garros triumph, Simona Halep's maiden Slam victory, Roger Federer's clothing sponsorship and more.
Mailbag: Looking Back at Roland Garros
In his latest mailbag, Jon Wertheim looks back at Rafa Nadal's 11th Roland Garros triumph, Simona Halep's maiden Slam victory, Roger Federer's clothing sponsorship and more.
In his latest mailbag, Jon Wertheim looks back at Rafa Nadal's 11th Roland Garros triumph, Simona Halep's maiden Slam victory, Roger Federer's clothing sponsorship and more.
Mailbag: Looking Back at Roland Garros
In his latest mailbag, Jon Wertheim looks back at Rafa Nadal's 11th Roland Garros triumph, Simona Halep's maiden Slam victory, Roger Federer's clothing sponsorship and more.
Rafael Nadal's Wimbledon preparations will not include the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen's Club after he withdrew on Wednesday.
Nadal withdraws from Queen's Club
Rafael Nadal's Wimbledon preparations will not include the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen's Club after he withdrew on Wednesday.
11-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal made headlines on Tuesady after telling an Italian magazine that the discussion surrounding equal pay for women's players is " a comparison we shouldn't even make" because of the viewership differences.
Rafael Nadal Thinks Viewership Should Determine Men's and Women's Tennis Earnings
11-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal made headlines on Tuesady after telling an Italian magazine that the discussion surrounding equal pay for women's players is " a comparison we shouldn't even make" because of the viewership differences.
Sergio Garcia believes his countryman Rafael Nadal is the greatest Spanish sportsman of all time.
Nadal 'the best Spanish sportsman ever' - Garcia
Sergio Garcia believes his countryman Rafael Nadal is the greatest Spanish sportsman of all time.
Sergio Garcia believes his countryman Rafael Nadal is the greatest Spanish sportsman of all time.
Nadal 'the best Spanish sportsman ever' - Garcia
Sergio Garcia believes his countryman Rafael Nadal is the greatest Spanish sportsman of all time.
Sergio Garcia believes his countryman Rafael Nadal is the greatest Spanish sportsman of all time.
Nadal 'the best Spanish sportsman ever' - Garcia
Sergio Garcia believes his countryman Rafael Nadal is the greatest Spanish sportsman of all time.
Rafael Nadal beat Dominic Thiem to win his 11th French title, but could skipping part of the tennis calendar help prolong his career?
Federer's blueprint and reducing injury risk – why skipping the grass season could suit Nadal
Rafael Nadal beat Dominic Thiem to win his 11th French title, but could skipping part of the tennis calendar help prolong his career?
Jun 10, 2018, Paris, France: Rafael Nadal (ESP) poses with the trophy after his men's singles final against Dominic Thiem (AUT) on day 15 of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Tennis: French Open
Jun 10, 2018, Paris, France: Rafael Nadal (ESP) poses with the trophy after his men's singles final against Dominic Thiem (AUT) on day 15 of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 10, 2018, Paris, France: Rafael Nadal (ESP) poses with the trophy after his men's singles final against Dominic Thiem (AUT) on day 15 of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Tennis: French Open
Jun 10, 2018, Paris, France: Rafael Nadal (ESP) poses with the trophy after his men's singles final against Dominic Thiem (AUT) on day 15 of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Novak Djokovic has claimed a late wild card for next week’s Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s, further strengthening a field that was already shaping up as the strongest in the tournament’s history. Djokovic last played Queen’s in 2010. He opted to go without a Wimbledon warm-up event the following season, and went on to lift his first title in SW19, which convinced him to opt for a light summer schedule for the next few years. But the grass season has been lengthened since then, while Djokovic has lost his former status as the dominant individual on the men’s tour, slipping back to a ranking of No 21 in the world. Now that he has ceased to win the majority of tournaments that he enters, he needs to work harder to keep his eye in. He played in Eastbourne last year – his most recent title, as it happens – and is now raising his sights by targeting the fiercely competitive Queen’s draw. Djokovic had caused a stir at the French Open last week when he stormed straight off the court after his quarter-final defeat at the hands of Marco Cecchinato and announced: “I don’t know if I’m going to play on grass.” His pessimism was widely interpreted as heat-of-the-moment stuff, and this now turns out to be the case. “I have happy memories of reaching the final at Queen’s Club 10 years ago,” said Djokovic in a statement. “[Coach] Marian Vajda and [fitness trainer] Gebhard Phil-Gritsch will be with me in London, and this makes me happy.” Federer vs Nadal - The five ages of tennis's greatest rivalry Meanwhile, Roger Federer gave his first press conference in Stuttgart as he prepares for his return to the court after a three-month break. Federer, who will play world No 54 Mischa Zverev in his opening match, will return to No 1 in the world for the sixth time if he reaches the final of the Mercedes Cup. “I think that’s a bit of extra motivation,” said Federer, who also confirmed reports that his $140m clothing contract with Nike has lapsed, even if he continues to wear their kit while he decides on his next move. “It has already expired in March and we are in negotiations… Nothing is ruled out, neither my continuity in Nike nor the end of our collaboration.”
Novak Djokovic returns to grass by joining strongest ever Queen’s field
Novak Djokovic has claimed a late wild card for next week’s Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s, further strengthening a field that was already shaping up as the strongest in the tournament’s history. Djokovic last played Queen’s in 2010. He opted to go without a Wimbledon warm-up event the following season, and went on to lift his first title in SW19, which convinced him to opt for a light summer schedule for the next few years. But the grass season has been lengthened since then, while Djokovic has lost his former status as the dominant individual on the men’s tour, slipping back to a ranking of No 21 in the world. Now that he has ceased to win the majority of tournaments that he enters, he needs to work harder to keep his eye in. He played in Eastbourne last year – his most recent title, as it happens – and is now raising his sights by targeting the fiercely competitive Queen’s draw. Djokovic had caused a stir at the French Open last week when he stormed straight off the court after his quarter-final defeat at the hands of Marco Cecchinato and announced: “I don’t know if I’m going to play on grass.” His pessimism was widely interpreted as heat-of-the-moment stuff, and this now turns out to be the case. “I have happy memories of reaching the final at Queen’s Club 10 years ago,” said Djokovic in a statement. “[Coach] Marian Vajda and [fitness trainer] Gebhard Phil-Gritsch will be with me in London, and this makes me happy.” Federer vs Nadal - The five ages of tennis's greatest rivalry Meanwhile, Roger Federer gave his first press conference in Stuttgart as he prepares for his return to the court after a three-month break. Federer, who will play world No 54 Mischa Zverev in his opening match, will return to No 1 in the world for the sixth time if he reaches the final of the Mercedes Cup. “I think that’s a bit of extra motivation,” said Federer, who also confirmed reports that his $140m clothing contract with Nike has lapsed, even if he continues to wear their kit while he decides on his next move. “It has already expired in March and we are in negotiations… Nothing is ruled out, neither my continuity in Nike nor the end of our collaboration.”
Roger Federer says he always believed Rafael Nadal would win the 2018 French Open, and is using his long-time rival's latest accomplishment to motivate him to recapture the world number one ranking.
Federer eyes return to number one after Rafa's 'expected' French Open win
Roger Federer says he always believed Rafael Nadal would win the 2018 French Open, and is using his long-time rival's latest accomplishment to motivate him to recapture the world number one ranking.
Roger Federer says he always believed Rafael Nadal would win the 2018 French Open, and is using his long-time rival's latest accomplishment to motivate him to recapture the world number one ranking.
Federer eyes return to number one after Rafa's 'expected' French Open win
Roger Federer says he always believed Rafael Nadal would win the 2018 French Open, and is using his long-time rival's latest accomplishment to motivate him to recapture the world number one ranking.
Roger Federer says he always believed Rafael Nadal would win the 2018 French Open, and is using his long-time rival's latest accomplishment to motivate him to recapture the world number one ranking.
Federer eyes return to number one after Rafa's 'expected' French Open win
Roger Federer says he always believed Rafael Nadal would win the 2018 French Open, and is using his long-time rival's latest accomplishment to motivate him to recapture the world number one ranking.
Rafael Nadal thinks viewership should determine men's and women's tennis earnings
Rafael Nadal thinks viewership should determine men's and women's tennis earnings
Rafael Nadal thinks viewership should determine men's and women's tennis earnings
Rafael Nadal's French Open heroics earned praise from on-court foe Roger Federer, who has his sights on the Spaniard's number one ranking.
Federer hails Nadal's 'unimaginable' achievement but targets top spot
Rafael Nadal's French Open heroics earned praise from on-court foe Roger Federer, who has his sights on the Spaniard's number one ranking.
Rafeal Nadal secured his 11th French Open title over the weekend, bringing his match record to an amazing 86-2. With such dominance on the clay court, where does Nadal's French Open dominance rank among other individual sports?
Rafael Nadal's French Open Dominance Is Beyond Comparing
Rafeal Nadal secured his 11th French Open title over the weekend, bringing his match record to an amazing 86-2. With such dominance on the clay court, where does Nadal's French Open dominance rank among other individual sports?
Rafeal Nadal secured his 11th French Open title over the weekend, bringing his match record to an amazing 86-2. With such dominance on the clay court, where does Nadal's French Open dominance rank among other individual sports?
Rafael Nadal's French Open Dominance Is Beyond Comparing
Rafeal Nadal secured his 11th French Open title over the weekend, bringing his match record to an amazing 86-2. With such dominance on the clay court, where does Nadal's French Open dominance rank among other individual sports?
Rafeal Nadal secured his 11th French Open title over the weekend, bringing his match record to an amazing 86-2. With such dominance on the clay court, where does Nadal's French Open dominance rank among other individual sports?
Rafael Nadal's French Open Dominance Is Beyond Comparing
Rafeal Nadal secured his 11th French Open title over the weekend, bringing his match record to an amazing 86-2. With such dominance on the clay court, where does Nadal's French Open dominance rank among other individual sports?
Rafeal Nadal secured his 11th French Open title over the weekend, bringing his match record to an amazing 86-2. With such dominance on the clay court, where does Nadal's French Open dominance rank among other individual sports?
Rafael Nadal's French Open Dominance Is Beyond Comparing
Rafeal Nadal secured his 11th French Open title over the weekend, bringing his match record to an amazing 86-2. With such dominance on the clay court, where does Nadal's French Open dominance rank among other individual sports?
Rafael Nadal sparked an outpouring of social media support after winning his 11th French Open title.
Socialeyesed - Global stars congratulate Nadal on 11th French Open title
Rafael Nadal sparked an outpouring of social media support after winning his 11th French Open title.
Rafael Nadal sparked an outpouring of social media support after winning his 11th French Open title.
Socialeyesed - Global stars congratulate Nadal on 11th French Open title
Rafael Nadal sparked an outpouring of social media support after winning his 11th French Open title.
Rafael Nadal sparked an outpouring of social media support after winning his 11th French Open title.
Socialeyesed - Global stars congratulate Nadal on 11th French Open title
Rafael Nadal sparked an outpouring of social media support after winning his 11th French Open title.
FILE - In this July 16, 2017, file photo, Switzerland's Roger Federer kisses the trophy after defeating Croatia's Marin Cilic to win the Men's Singles final match on day thirteen at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London. Federer, who turns 37 in less than two months, seem to stay forever young. Federer, who turns 37 in less than two months, seems to stay forever young. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
Column: Nadal, Federer fight 'the watch,' keep winning Slams
FILE - In this July 16, 2017, file photo, Switzerland's Roger Federer kisses the trophy after defeating Croatia's Marin Cilic to win the Men's Singles final match on day thirteen at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London. Federer, who turns 37 in less than two months, seem to stay forever young. Federer, who turns 37 in less than two months, seems to stay forever young. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
FILE - In this June 10, 2018, file photo, Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts while holding the trophy after defeating Austria's Dominic Thiem in the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament in Paris. Nadal, a French Open champion yet again a week past his 32nd birthday seems to stay forever young. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)
Column: Nadal, Federer fight 'the watch,' keep winning Slams
FILE - In this June 10, 2018, file photo, Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts while holding the trophy after defeating Austria's Dominic Thiem in the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament in Paris. Nadal, a French Open champion yet again a week past his 32nd birthday seems to stay forever young. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2017, file photo, Rafael Nadal, of Spain, holds up the championship trophy after beating Kevin Anderson, of South Africa, in the men's singles final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. Nadal, a French Open champion yet again a week past his 32nd birthday seems to stay forever young. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
Column: Nadal, Federer fight 'the watch,' keep winning Slams
FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2017, file photo, Rafael Nadal, of Spain, holds up the championship trophy after beating Kevin Anderson, of South Africa, in the men's singles final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. Nadal, a French Open champion yet again a week past his 32nd birthday seems to stay forever young. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2018, file photo, Switzerland's Roger Federer holds his trophy after defeating Croatia's Marin Cilic during the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia. Federer, who turns 37 in less than two months, seems to stay forever young. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, File)
Column: Nadal, Federer fight 'the watch,' keep winning Slams
FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2018, file photo, Switzerland's Roger Federer holds his trophy after defeating Croatia's Marin Cilic during the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia. Federer, who turns 37 in less than two months, seems to stay forever young. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, File)
There was a royal reception awaiting the King of Clay after his Roland Garros win.
Nadal parades his 11th Roland Garros title
There was a royal reception awaiting the King of Clay after his Roland Garros win.
There was a royal reception awaiting the King of Clay after his Roland Garros win.
Nadal parades his 11th Roland Garros title
There was a royal reception awaiting the King of Clay after his Roland Garros win.
There was a royal reception awaiting the King of Clay after his Roland Garros win.
Nadal parades his 11th Roland Garros title
There was a royal reception awaiting the King of Clay after his Roland Garros win.
Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 10, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the final against Austria's Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
French Open - Roland Garros
Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 10, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the final against Austria's Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 10, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates by kissing the trophy after winning the final against Austria's Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
French Open - Roland Garros
Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 10, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates by kissing the trophy after winning the final against Austria's Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 7, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Argentina's Diego Schwartzman REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
French Open - Roland Garros
Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 7, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Argentina's Diego Schwartzman REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

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