Rafael Nadal of Spain at the Beijing Olympics 6-1, 6-2, but has said recently his recuperation was progressing well.
“My recovery is going well and I am really looking forward to the Australian summer,” Hewitt said. “It is an exciting time for me. I am already feeling refreshed, reinvigorated and excited about the challenge ahead. Sydney is a happy hunting ground for me. Some good hard matches in Sydney will
certainly help me in my preparation for the 2009 Australian Open.”
Hewitt has scored four title victories at Sydney, last winning in 2005. In that same year, Hewitt would record his best Australian Open result, finishing as finalist to Marat Safin of Russia 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. However, Hewitt since has struggled at Melbourne, posting second round, third round and fourth round finishes in 2006, 2007 and this year respectively.
Hewitt, who has found himself involved in several controversies throughout his tennis career, found himself in another one after his Melbourne fourth round defeat in January. In the third round, Hewitt won a marathon five set match versus Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in five sets 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-7 (7-4), 6-3 after the match finished at 4:33am local time on a Sunday after starting at 11:47pm that Saturday night due to a preceding extended men's match and a women's match both completed before Hewitt's start of play.
With not enough time to physically recover, Hewitt lost a day later on a Monday to Novak Djokovic of Serbia 7-5, 6-3, 6-3. It was the first time in nine Australian Opens played that Hewitt had lost a match in straight sets.
"Of course he was tired and exhausted," Djokovic said.
Hewitt soared to the top of the world of tennis in November of 2001 as he at age 20 became the youngest player ever to reach the world's number one ranking.
Known for his fierce competitiveness, his fighting spirit and his rare ability of mix aggressive and defensive baseline play for winning results, Hewitt won his first grand slam title at the US Open in September of 2001, defeating tennis legend Pete Sampras of the USA 7-6(7-4), 6-1, 6-1.
Hewitt, the following year at age 21, took the Wimbledon singles title by defeating David Nalbandian of Argentina 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 in less than two hours in the most one sided men's final in 18 years. With the win, Hewitt also became the youngest Wimbledon men's champion since the German Boris Becker won his second title at age 18 in 1986.