Hewitt hopes for title charge
Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt believes he can still challenge for Grand Slam honours.
Last Updated: 31/12/09 12:10pm
Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt believes he can still challenge for Grand Slam honours, starting in Melbourne next month.
The 28-year-old has never won the Australian Open but has a burning ambition to lift the trophy in front of his home crowd, and is fitter than ever after battling back from injury.
The Aussie had slipped out of the top 100 this time last year following hip surgery but now finds himself ranked 22 after a season that peaked with victory in Houston, his first title for two years.
However, he feels he has a lot further to go and is confident of returning to the standard that saw him win the US Open in 2001 and Wimbledon a year later.
"Fitness-wise I am as good as I have ever been.... I feel really good," he said. "I have been doing the hard yards on and off the practice court and have a good team behind me and we feel like we have done everything right.
"It is a matter now of going out there... I have been waiting the last three months to get out on the court and play these tournaments and get into it.
"Melbourne in a couple of weeks' time is the big one that you want to be peaking for."
Hewitt lost to Marat Safin in the 2005 final and hopes he is favourably drawn this time around.
"A lot depends on the draw. At least I will be seeded and hopefully I get a smooth passage through," he said. "If I can get through the first week and put myself in a position in the second week, there is no reason I can't do some damage.
"I feel as fit and strong as I have ever been and I am hitting the ball well at the moment. If the body holds up, there is no reason I can't give all these guys a run."
Hewitt returns to action alongside compatriot Samantha Stosur this weekend in the Hopman Cup.