So I've been reading a lot of stuff this week from people who think that Lleyton Hewitt is a potential spoiler maker at Wimbledon (and, for that matter, Halle.) I would like to point out that these people are not just the Australian media, who are always suggesting Hewitt could be a spoiler maker (when they're not talking about 'our Sam'.) These are proper grown up tennis peeps.
My response is... um, no.
Don't get me wrong - Hewitt's a good grass court player. It's probably his best surface. But his day is so far over it's not funny, even if he still does win the odd tournament here and there. The reason he's so good on grass is because he's fast. But he is definitely nowhere near as fast as he was.
I could harp on and on about his hip surgery - I mean, come on, he's only just come back from Round 2 on that one. He's had more hip surgery than a retirement home. But it's not just his speed that's affected - well, I suppose it is his speed, but that's not what I'm getting at.
I would contend that the whole reason Hewitt got to #1 back in the day is because he had such a fast first step. He could zip around the court and play that very effective form of counterpunching tennis that he plays because he had a) good reaction time and b) his body backed him on that. Grass court tennis is such a fast game that so much relies on this first step.
And Hewitt doesn't have it any more. And there's not a lot that can make up for that.
You know who does have it? Rafa and Roger. One of the reasons these Fedal boys are so good is because they have this quick first step. If you ask me, this was the question mark that was hanging over Rafa post knee injury - would the first step be fast enough? I think we can all agree that there ain't nothing wrong with what that boy's got going on in that department.
But Lleyton? A Wimbledon contender, just off hip surgery? The first step not the same? Guess again.
3 weeks ago