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Hewitt ridicules Becker’s man-crush praise June 28, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Tennis.
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Boris Becker

One thing Australian tennis star Lleyton Hewitt loves is being the underdog.  He loves it when critics call him over-the-hill, when they say he is too short, too old, too injured — because it gives him extra motivation to prove them wrong.

Accordingly, when German great Boris Becker decided to develop a man-crush following the Aussie’s unexpected straight sets victory over Frenchman Gael Monfils at the third round of Wimbledon 2010 (6-3, 76, 6-4), Hewitt was not impressed.

“I wouldn’t call him a darkhorse because he’s won the title before” Becker said with ardour in his eyes.  “On a good day, he’s still one of the best grasscourt players around.”

Hewitt did not enjoy the compliment.  “Of course I don’t consider myself a dark horse.  Look at me.  I’m white.  You know, I’ve always had a good record against guys like Monfils.  Look at him.  And look at James Blake.  Now you tell me what the similarity is.”

Of course, this reference harks back to Hewitt’s controversial attempt to get a black linesman removed during his US Open match against African-American James Blake back in 2001.

“It’s good to see him back and healthy and jumping,” Becker added.  “If there’s ever a fight in a bar, you’d want Hewitt in your corner because he doesn’t back off.”

Hewitt did not take a liking to this comment either.  He retorted: “Well I wouldn’t ever want Boris Becker in my corner on a night out.  I don’t want to turn around for a second and find out he’s impregnated my wife in the broom closet.

“And besides, Bec is too busy to be impregnated by Becker.  She’s got a photo shoot with a woman’s mag every week for the next 10 years.  It’s our main source of income now that I’ve fallen out of the top 25.”

These negative comments did not faze Becker from continuing his admiration for the scrappy Aussie with the tremendous endurance.

“…tennis is not only a game of height and power,” Becker explained.  “It’s a matter of heart — and Lleyton’s got one of the biggest on the men’s tour.  He has the heart and mind of a lion.”

“Why would Becker say I have the heart and mind of a lion?” Hewitt replied angrily.  “I’m a fair dinkum human being.  Lions are stupid and lazy, except for Simba from the Lion King.  Is he saying that I’m stupid?”

Desperate to prove Becker wrong, Hewitt promptly went out and lost his next match to Novak Djokovic, 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

“That’ll be the last time someone compares me to an animal,” Hewitt said happily after the match.  “The size of my heart is equal to the size of Boris Becker’s pecker.”

When asked exactly how big that is, Hewitt responded:

[PS: None of this really happened.]

Federer massacres Hewitt (again) before Australia Day January 25, 2010

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Did anyone seriously expect a different result?

For the 15th consecutive time, Roger Federer has ripped the hearts out of the Australian public by annihilating Lleyton Hewitt –  6-2, 6-3, 6-4 – in the fourth round of the 2010 Australian Open.

On the same day Sam Stosur was handed a similar fate by Serena Williams (6-4, 6-2) on the women’s side.  A day before Australia Day.

You have to hand it to Hewitt though.  Despite not having beaten Federer since the 2003 Davis Cup, every single time he faces the man he talks it up as though he has a legitimate chance.  And the amazing thing is that every time, he has us believing it, even if it’s just for a split second.

There was a glimmer of hope in their latest match when Hewitt finally broke (back) Federer’s serve in the eighth game of the third set.  But Federer broke again immediately and sealed the match with ease.

The fact is – no matter how hard he fights, no matter how tough he is mentally – the physical gap between Hewitt and the top players of today is just too much.  He is still capable of cruising through the mid-tier players and beating the lower top-tier players.  Once in a blue moon, he could even beat a top top-tier player if mitigating circumstances are present (eg injury).  But in a grand slam event, Hewitt will need all the stars aligned to ever get close to winning again.

Nevertheless, even though he was just handed another drubbing, Hewitt is optimistic as he is returning to the top 20 in the ATP rankings.

“Obviously I’ve been able to work my ranking back up.  I feel good about that.  I don’t have a lot of points to defend really through to Wimbledon, the quarters there.  So I feel comfortable I can do some damage. The way I hit the ball tonight, I still think I could have taken a lot of other guys still left in the draw. That’s probably a little bit more frustrating.”

I think this is why, despite his less-than-ideal personality, Aussies still want to support him.  No matter how ridiculous his assertions sound (I mean, come on, does anyone think Hewitt can still beat the likes to Djokovic, Del Potro or Murray, let alone Federer and Nadal?), we want to believe Hewitt because he seems to honestly believe in himself.  And that’s an admirable trait.

Besides, who else are we going to support?  Bernard Tomic?

Nadal knocked out of French Open! (Federer salivates) May 31, 2009

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Nadal loses to Soderling at French Open 2009

It had to happen eventually, but few thought it would be this year.

Rafael Nadal finally loses at the French Open after 31 consecutive victories, zero defeats and 4 titles.  His conquerer: Sweden’s Robin Soderling.  Final score: 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2).

Yes, the same Robin Soderling that got creamed by Nadal 6-1, 6-0 in the Rome Masters last month.  Yes, the same Robin Soderling that had a nasty spat with Nadal at Wimbledon in 2007 (he imitated Nadal’s wedgie pull and pumped his fists instead of apologizing for a lucky net cord shot).  Nadal won that match in 5 sets.

A friend of mine told me a few days ago that the only reason he doubted Nadal was because he refuses to believe the tennis gods will allow someone wearing a fluoro pink shirt to win the French Open.  Turns out he was right.

So Roger Federer, who plays Tommy Haas later, must be drooling.  After all, Nadal has deprived him of the only Grand Slam missing from his trophy cabinet for the last 3 years in the French Open Final.  Could this finally be the year where Federer, who is obviously not the same as his old dominating self, wins the French Open?  With Djokovic already knocked out, his chances have improved significantly.  If only Andy Murray can lose before the Final then Federer has got to be the favourite.  The question is, will he capitalise on the rare opportunity or choke by losing to someone else?

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