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I can do some damage in Melbourne, says Hewitt

Updated: 2014-01-07 07:21
By Agencies in Brisbane ( China Daily)

Lleyton Hewitt will go into the Australian Open as the player the top seeds will hope to avoid in the first round, after digging into his famed store of resolve to beat Roger Federer in the Brisbane International final on Sunday.

Hewitt dominated Federer to capture a morale-boosting 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory ahead of the first major.

"If I play like I did this week I have a chance of doing damage to some serious players," the 32-year-old Hewitt said. "It just gives me a lot more confidence going out there believing in how well I'm hitting the ball at the moment and that I can match-up with the best guys.

"Obviously it's a different stage, winning three (sets) out of five against those guys (but) that's why I still play the game."

The 2005 Australian Open finalist will move back into the world top 50 on the back of his success and could enter the Australian Open as his country's No 1 player.

The win made Hewitt reflect on his injury battles in recent years, having been forced to undergo surgery on five occasions, most recently in February 2012, when he had a plate inserted into his toe in an attempt to extend his career.

I can do some damage in Melbourne, says Hewitt

"I think the most pleasing thing is what I've had to come through and the tough times in terms of surgery," Hewitt said.

"Before the last surgery I made no secret. There were no guarantees I would be able to play again.

"There were still times when I came back from that surgery and played Wimbledon straight after it, I was still doubting whether I was ever going to be pain-free again. For me that's the most pleasing thing."

He has little chance of becoming the first home Australian Open winner since Mark Edmondson in 1976, but his form will surely lift the spirits of fans at Melbourne Park later this month.

Federer feeling good

Swiss great Federer insisted on Sunday that his loss to Hewitt was not a setback to his Australian Open preparations.

Federer said he felt good ahead of his bid to win the year's first Grand Slam for the fifth time.

"I feel pretty good, especially having played all the matches I have here now, with the doubles in particular," he said.

"It's a good thing - I didn't quite know what to expect from myself before the tournament.

"I played consistent, I must say."

The 32-year-old said he was not overly disappointed at his loss to Hewitt.

"I didn't play great today, which is a bit unfortunate," he said. "But also Lleyton was the best player I played this week - he made it toughest on me, so I have a clear idea what I need to work on, and I have a clear idea where my mind and body is at.

"I'm very hungry and eager to attack the Australian Open next week."

Federer said his body had held up well, despite the amount of tennis he played and the heat in Brisbane.

"I'm pretty pleased just that my body is holding up good in the first week, because you don't quite know what to expect," he said.

"So overall there were many good things (this week), but then also a couple of things you need to just readjust maybe, and also get to Melbourne and see what the court speed is down there and then you'll have a real good idea of what you need to work on."

He would not make any predictions on how he would perform in Melbourne.

"I haven't thought about it a whole lot," he said.

"I think I can play very well. It depends on how I play more than anything right now.

"I think I was able to sort of serve better overall, more consistent this week than I have in a long time. So that's very good."

(China Daily 01/07/2014 page23)