Each year tennis in Australia signals a new year with new opportunities for tennis players to shine. And no other active Australian tennis player could be more beloved by the country of Australia or have a better chance to win the Australian Open than Hewitt.
The Australian took his first of two grand slam titles at the US Open in 2001. Then one year later in 2002, Hewitt breathlessly won the Wimbledon singles crown to become the first Australian since Pat Cash in 1987 to score victory at tennis' most prestigious tournament.
Hewitt is known in the United States partially for his high profile four year relationship and then broken off engagement to the former WTA Tour world number one Kim Clijsters of Belgium and for his 2001 controversial US Open match versus the American James Blake. In the match, several line calls disputed by Hewitt lead his questioning of an American linesman's motives which led part of the media to label the episode racial, which Hewitt would deny.
After completing a successful rehabilitation after a hip surgery which has kept him off the ATP Tour since the summer Olympics, Hewitt once again will try to capture his native country's greatest tennis prize at Melbourne at the Australian Open, which is to be contested for two weeks beginning January 19th. And after reaching the Melbourne final in 2005, Hewitt hopes this year to go one step further.
“I want to win it. I know I've done everything in my power to get back to as close as 100 percent as I can,” Hewitt said, “and I still feel like I'm good enough to knock off anyone on any given day."
Hewitt, on the tennis court, displays a stunning mix of aggression and defense from the baseline, but his sometimes possibly suspect sportsmanship has also gained him notoriety.
In November of 2001, Hewitt at age 20 became the youngest male tennis player ever to be ranked world number one.