Hewitt perfectly tuned for 2011 Hopman Cup start

Friday, December 31, 2010

PERTH - Lleyton Hewitt has pulled up fit and pleased with what he calls an uninterrupted spell of training after last getting onto a court in September and suffering an elbow injury in the Davis Cup.

But the 29-year-old Friday was not giving anyway secrets as he prepared to lead Australia into the Hopman Cup mixed team event.

Hewitt begins his 2011 campaign Saturday in the New Year’s day start against Belgian Ruben Bemelmans, the world number 178.

Aussie teammate Alicia Molik, appearing at the home event for the seventh time, will start with a huge test against seven-time Grand Slam winner Justine Henin.

The competition comprises men’s and women’s singles and a mixed doubles. Australia won its only title in 1999 through Mark Philippoussis and Jelena Dokic.

Hewitt is happy with his current form but is not giving away any trade secrets.

“I am not going to let everyone know what I have been doing. There are a few different things that I have been doing out there,” said the one-time number one.

“I have mixed it up a lot. Obviously I still do a lot of the sand hills and a lot of stair work, agility stuff and sprints.

“It has been a whole range of different stuff; a lot of AFL (football) drills this year as well. I feel like I’ve be able to mix it up really well and in the last week and a half, taper off and do quick reaction stuff. But believe me, the first five or six weeks were bloody tough.”

Hewitt said he finally feels good after his latest injury round. He has returned to coach Tony Roche and has been putting in the hard yards with his new mentor, also back at his post as Davis Cup coach.

“It has been good. I have had no interruptions this year,” said Hewitt, famed for his work ethic. “I have been at least six days a week, sometimes seven days a week, going as hard as I can.

“Personally I do not feel there is anyone out there who has trained as hard as I have in the last two months. I feel for where body is at the moment for a 29 year old, I feel pretty good.”

Hewitt and Molik will be playing for their fourth time together in the unique competition, after runs in 2002-2004. Others in one of the best fields in years in Perth includes Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, third and fourth respectively on the ATP.

“It is one of the best line ups I have been a part of here in Perth for a number of years,” said two-time Grand Slam winner Hewitt. “It is a good preparation for the Australian summer too.

“Novak is going to be a good test for me Tuesday night. (Kazak Andrey) Golubev is going to be tough Thursday as well. And Bemelmans - I had a solid match with him, even though I was not close to 100 per cent fit when I played him last time at the Davis Cup.

“I am looking forward to all three matches.”

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