Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt is due to take on Marcos Baghdatis in the third round of the Australian Open this week but Maryborough tennis coach Bruce Rayner reckons the tenacious Aussie will give the in-form Cypriot a run for his money.
Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt is due to take on Marcos Baghdatis in the third round of the Australian Open this week but Maryborough tennis coach Bruce Rayner reckons the tenacious Aussie will give the in-form Cypriot a run for his money.

Time for Lleyton to quit?

LLEYTON Hewitt's place in Australia's Sports Hall of Fame is assured.

But the last thing fans will want is to remember the two-time grand slam winner as someone who hung around too long and finished his career unable to beat players he would have demolished in his heyday.

Hewitt, who turns 34 in a month, has earned the right to decide when he retires.

Asked after his five-set 2-6 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-2 fadeout against German Benjamin Becker in the second round of the Australian Open on Thursday night whether that was the last time the crowd would see him play in the tournament, Hewitt was non-committal, saying "I don't know - I'll sit back and assess everything after this tournament". Here are some of the arguments for and against the little Aussie battler hanging up his racquet.

 

FOR:

AT almost 34, Hewitt's best is clearly past him. His world ranking has fallen to 87, and he hasn't been inside the top 40 since October, 2010. A slide outside the top 100 would see him needing wildcard handouts to be included in the main draw at grand slam tournaments.

HE has been the dominant force in Australia's Davis Cup campaigns for more than a decade, but does he still demand selection? The emergence of young guns Bernard Tomic, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, not to mention the big-serving Sam Groth who beat Hewitt in straight sets in this month's Brisbane International, suggests playing Hewitt in the singles would be based on sentiment rather than form.

 

THE last thing Hewitt would want would be to end his career with an embarrassing first-round loss at his home grand slam, yet his record at Melbourne Park is comparatively poor. In his 19 appearances at the Australian Open, he has been beaten 10 times in the first two rounds. The only time he made it past the fourth round was in 2005 when he was lost the final to Marat Safin.

 

AGAINST:

 

HE may have finished 2014 with a 20-16 win-loss record in singles (and 11-10 in doubles), no doubt disappointing by his standards, but he still pocketed almost $A670,000, and that's without sponsorship earnings.

A MAD Adelaide Crows supporter, Hewitt thrives on the adrenaline rush of competition. You're a long time retired, and apart from eventually taking over as Davis Cup captain, where would he replicate the thrill of battle?

HE will be desperate to extend his Davis Cup career to a record 17th campaign against the Czech Republic in March, and would no doubt love to play

Wimbledon again where he won his second grand slam in 2002. Then there's the US Open and that would only leave four months to another Aussie Open. C'mon!



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