Written by: on 10th July 2014
US Open Tennis

epa03849603 Lleyton Hewitt of Australia hits a return to Mikhail Youzhny of Russia during their match on the ninth day of the 2013 US Open Tennis Championship at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 03 September 2013. The US Open runs through Monday 09 September, a 15-day schedule for the first time. EPA/JUSTIN LANE  |

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat.”


Theodore Roosevelt



By Chris Chaffee


It started twelve years ago. The thunder started rumbling down under in the form of fist pumps and screams of C’mon! The source was a skinny sixteen year old Australian kid with a long blonde pony tail from Adelaide, Australia. He was playing in the final of this hometown’s tennis tournament. Across the net was legendary tennis player Andre Agassi. Agassi was the one of the sports’ most successful and popular players the game had ever seen. His ball striking and skills were amazing. He was a true champion and larger than life. Agassi’s opponent was an unknown Aussie named Lleyton Hewitt, a sixteen year old kid who looked as if he should have a surfboard in his hands, not a tennis racket. He was wearing a baggy shirt, shorts that barely fit him and a backwards hat, with white sun tan lotion dabbed on both sides of his cheeks. Agassi was favored to win and he looked across the net, eager to see the fear and nervousness the kid would have in his face. Agassi would relish in that. He would take his opponents legs away. He would break him.


But there was something very different about this bloke. He wasn’t afraid. Agassi studied the kid and looked into Hewitt’s eyes. To Agassi’s surprise, Hewitt stared right back, like he belonged and believed he was going to win. Running up the sand dunes in Australia, until he could feel the burning in his legs, was for this moment and this moment alone. He was ready to go toe to toe against Andre and give it everything he had, no matter what. Agassi was stunned. This kid was a different animal, like no one he had ever faced. He saw the fire and fearlessness in Hewitt’s eyes. He was a fighter, out for blood and victory. The most surprising thing was that Hewitt wasn’t scared, he was pumped up. His blood was pumping, his heart was on fire, and he had the “Eye of the Tiger” in his eyes. He knew he was the underdog, but he just didn’t seem to care. He welcomed it with open arms.


Hewitt threw everything he had at Agassi and pulled off the ultimate upset, winning his first title at the age of sixteen, the youngest tour winner in history. Hewitt didn’t miss and he didn’t give up. He stood up to Agassi and didn’t back down. It was an impressive beginning to a storied career, one filled with passionate play, fiery emotions and the ability to wear an opponent down to the breaking point. He has always possessed a never say die attitude and it has helped him be the successful player he is today. Before the Federers and Nadals of today there was Lleyton Hewitt and he has never backed down. He continues to fight, continues to get stronger, and work on perfecting his game. Although his ranking is not what it used to be, his pride and determination have never waivered. It was the match against Agassi when the world and myself were introduced to Lleyton Hewitt. A hero and a champion was born.


Lleyton Glynn Hewitt was born on February 24, 1981 in Adelaide, Australia. He started playing as soon as he first learned how to walk. Tennis and Australian Rules Football were Lleyton’s passions growing up. He was always the smaller and younger kid of the bunch, making him work twice as hard and give it twice as much as others. He wouldn’t let anyone push him around. He is well known in the tennis world for his fire, tenacity and determination. He is one of the best counterpunchers the game has ever seen, as well as one of the fiercest competitors. He does whatever it takes to win a match and knocks down all obstacles that stand in his way. When he plays, he’s like a python that grabs a hold of you and keeps squeezing tighter and tighter until you have nothing left to give. He will run you corner to corner until you cannot run anymore. When you hit a ball, Hewitt will return it using your pace and then some. He is like a ball machine that has no off button or a wall that has no intention of breaking. His personal style of grinding out long points and forcing five set matches takes a toll on competitors. He must train with the goal of being the last one standing and all of his hard work translates into having incredible footwork, discipline and consistency. Being the last one standing takes hard work and determination and both elements of the game you cannot teach. You can teach a person to be a good tennis player, but you have to want to work hard. Developing determination and an iron will takes experience, patience and hard work. Hewitt is no stranger to hard work and he does so in order to represent his country to the best of his ability. He carries his Australian flag with him and there is no doubt green and gold run through his veins. Everything that Hewitt has worked for has come because of his love of the sport and his want to succeed and be the best he can be.


Lleyton Hewitt was recently voted the 3RD best male player the decade by ATP World Tour and he deserves every bit of it. Lleyton Hewitt has been a successful tennis player since he turned pro in 1998. He has always been extremely focused on his goals, career and finding balance in his life. In 2001 and 2002 he was as the youngest player (20 yrs., 8 mos.) and first Australian to finish No. 1 in history of ATP Rankings. In 2001 he won his first grand slam beating Pete Sampras at the US Open. In 2002, he won his second Grand Slam against David Nalbandian on the green at Wimbledon. He is one of the most successful singles players in Davis Cup history and the best singles player Australia has ever had for Davis Cup. He led his country to Davis Cup victories in 1999 and 2003 with a 33-9 singles record. Lleyton has won 27 singles titles and has a career record of 524 wins and only 183 losses. Hewitt also has so many come from behind victories, long fought out matches, that make his 5-set record look immaculate. He is the ultimate comeback kid and you can never count him out because he is all heart. There is a fire that burns within him and gives him the “Eye of the Tiger.” Hewitt has shown great courage throughout the years because he has the heart of a lion and a tremendously strong mentality. He never ever gives up and is a great example of what it means to have perseverance in not just sports, but in life.


The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

– “Rocky Balboa”


Lleyton Hewitt – EPA/JOHN G. MABANGLO

Lleyton Hewitt is different than many other tennis players and athletes in the sporting world because he has the uncanny ability of what it means to be a fighter. Hewitt shows tremendous determination and courage from his never say die attitude. Hewitt’s fighting spirit can be compared to the beloved icon of Rocky Balboa from the Rocky movies. Ever since Hewitt was a teenager and well into his young 20’s he would watch the Rocky movies and listen to Survivor’s, “Eye of the Tiger” before his matches. In the heat of battle you can hear him scream C’mon Rock! Hewitt talked about his love for the character by saying, “”It’s a movie, but for me I love that fighting spirit, that never-say-die attitude and I think it comes across in the way I play the game”. Rocky represents the underdog in life, being a fighter and going the distance when getting his shot. He is the prime example of the American dream. Rocky finds the courage to compete against the powerful champions, and does so by triumphing against all odds by going that extra distance. He shows great courage, strength, and determination to never give up. Sylvester Stallone was quoted in The Philadelphia Inquirer as saying: “That’s what the character (Rocky) is about. Not about fighting. Not about muscles. It’s about love. It’s about passion. It’s about having something inside that you know must be filled. And every one of you has that in you.” Hewitt represents the admirable qualities Rocky has. They both have poses a burning fire inside of him. Hewitt says, “That’s when you’ve got to grit your teeth and hang in there and try and find a way to win when you’re not playing your best tennis – that’s what I can be proud of. My determination and passion shows on the court, but that’s the way I am in life. I look forward to every challenge. I just give a 100 percent. And that’s not just in tennis or sports; that’s in life. If you give 100 percent you’ll have no regrets. It’s something I thrive on. I go out there and enjoy it, and I look forward to the challenge. It’s not going to be easy, but I go out there, give 100 percent and see what happens.” Lleyton describes himself be saying. “I’m not the sort that gives up very easily. Every time I go out on court, I’m prepared to go to the limit and to put in 150 per cent effort. There are players who have particular strengths, such as an extremely good backhand or an attacking game. But being able to show incredible passion and commitment is also strength. And I make the most of this strength. I use it to get the better of my opponents and to intimidate them. There is no way I’ll ever be able to compete with the six foot giants…those guys that have a perfect service and extra reach for volleys. I have to work on the strength, such as running and walking for three, four or five hours at a time, if need be. If you like, I’m the revolutionary, using guile and cunning and patience to bring down those in power. Lleyton knows what it takes to win and he has the ability to reach deep within himself and inside his soul, which gives him an unstoppable force of power, which he uses to fuel himself with. It is the fuel, which gives him his inner belief to accomplish anything.


I’m a great believer in the balance in life, I believe people are able to perform to the best of their ability by having a balance and I think this is a step toward that”



Lleyton Hewitt is able to perform his best day in and day out because he has great balance in his life. Being able to have balance in ones life is important to your health and well being. It is important stay balance because balance keeps you mentally and physically fit. Hewitt as always displayed great positive energy and balance in his life. Hewitt is often misunderstood, and the rubbish that the Australian media has written about Hewitt just isn’t true. Lleyton has been described by friends and family as being painfully shy and a private family person. He is known as being friendly and a true blue Aussie, who loves his sports, barbecues, Aussie Rules Football, rugby and of course his family. Lleyton Hewitt is a devoted father to his two kids (Mia and Cruz) and loving husband to Bec Cartwright. Having a family and being around them, makes him happy because they are always happy no matter what. When you win they are there to cheer for you and are always there to take your mind off tennis. They also don’t care if you lose, because they know how to always cheer you up. Hewitt always has had his family with him during tournaments. He makes sure they are his first priority and they are comfortable and then he works around them with his schedule. He describes his wife was he best friend, the nicest person he has ever met, and who he can tell anything to. Bec has commented on how great Lleyton is as a father by saying; “Lleyton is such a great dad; you couldn’t find a better father, or one who loves their daughter as much. He is so hands-on with her.” Bec’s dad Darrel Cartwright also talks highly of Hewitt as a father and husband. He says, “You couldn’t get a better father or husband than Lleyton. He treats Bec so well. Bec says that their commitment is much stronger than when they married in 2005. She adds, “Our lives together couldn’t be better or happier and that’s the truth. It’s funny, we’ll be on a flight and the flight attendants will say, ‘We love being around you two – we can feel the love’. We get comments like that all the time. We feel as though we’ve known each other forever. It’s as though we have never known anything different. And that’s how it has always been between us. We believe that we were destined to be together.”


Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.

Muhammad Ali


I was watching the Olympics in Vancouver, Canada and USA Olympian Apollo Ohno was being interviewed. He said that after the end of the day, just before your head hits the pillow, and you ask yourself if you gave everything you possible could today, what would your answer be? It is a hard answer no doubt. But, Lleyton Hewitt will say he gave it his all. Lleyton will never have any regrets in his life, because he has always given 100 percent in his life and in his tennis. Since he was just a teenager he has hit millions of tennis balls and has ran thousands of millions. All the hard work, the running, grinding, has made Hewitt into a warrior. But, like all great champions and all great sports stories, it has to come to one day end. All the matches and all the training eventually does take it toll. The miles on Hewitt legs, has begun to take its toll and the injuries have come when he had hip surgery at the end of 2008. Critics and even some fans said Hewitt’s time in tennis is over. They have said he has had a wonderful career, but today there are stronger, taller, more powerful players now. His style of play and his body is breaking down. They said if he walked away there would be no shame. They also have said that his ranking has slipped and he isn’t the same player as before. He has lost some speed and consistently, and he is now happily married father. They say a heap of things, but, they don’t know Lleyton Hewitt. He is a different animal and Hewitt doesn’t give up. He keeps on fighting and he keeps finding a way. Hewitt came back from his first hip surgery, being ranked 80ish in the world to 19. He was playing the best tennis of his life again proving the critics and the tennis world wrong. But this year, bad news had struck again. Hewitt just had surgery again (this time on his right hip) but is supposed to be back in time for the French Open or Wimbledon. The media asked if Hewitt was set to retire now that he has had another hip surgery. Hewitt believed that was just rubbish. He had been playing the best tennis of his life after his comeback. He had worked so hard to come back so strong. He had worked hard on improving his game and improving his fitness. Hewitt refuses to give up and still believes in himself. He believes he will be a contender for the grand slams when he returns. He will keep stay positive and keep moving forward because that is what he does best. One thing is for sure, Hewitt loves competing and he loves the game. He will again put in all of the hard yards, which will put himself the right position to make the best of any situation. He as fought through the aches and pains, through illness (even chicken pox) to find a way to win matches. He will come back from this, because you can never knock Hewitt down or count him out. He will keep grinding, keep coming after you, and keep getting back up. Hewitt’s determination and will power is like a piece of iron. He will do anything to reach his goal. Lleyton doesn’t know the meaning of giving up. He never has and never will. He will just take another crack at it and give it another go. Hewitt will forever remain focused on his purposes and his goals. Good on ya mate!


Lleyton Hewitt – EPA/JUSTIN LANE

I have never stopped believing in Lleyton Hewitt. I have learned many great things by looking up to him through the years. Lleyton loves his family, his kids, his wife, competing, tennis, Australia, and life. Lleyton Hewitt has never made the headlines for being abusive, committing adultery, taking drugs, or committing any crimes what so ever, unlike many of today’s movie stars and sports stars. That just is not who he is. He is a sports celebrity, but unlike many celebrities he is real, authentic, and true. If someone was to ask me how do you measure a man? I would answer; you measure a man by his heart. And Lleyton Hewitt is all heart. He has made a name for himself as one of the all time greats through all of his achievements. He has made it a clear that his family comes first and tennis second, but tennis is still a high priority. Hewitt has kept working and his burning desire has made him stay good so long because of his strong mentality of a champion. The many great things I have learned from him is how he conducts himself on and off the court. I have always tried to learn and apply the teachings of what Hewitt believes in and what he stands for. Whatever hardships I go through and have gone through in my life, whatever odds I will face or have faced against in my life and whatever life holds in store for me now or in the future, Hewitt has been my inspiration to face life. I have learned from Hewitt’s virtues by what he stands for as an athlete, a person, and as a family man. He has inspired me to become the person I am today. I have always learned to keep moving forward, to try to think positive, to move forward, to look forward and face every challenge, and always give 100 percent. I have always tried to a find a way through any odds or obstacles that stand in my way. He has taught me to never give up and has taught me great determination and perseverance. He has given me many things such as a strong will power and a great head on my shoulders. He has taught me to play with 110% percent passion in tennis and in life. On the court, I have studied and tried to copy his game into becoming the best player I could be, which is how I learned to play tennis and how I have improved. Hewitt shows all the characteristics and much more of what it means to be a great role model for me. Since I was 13, Lleyton Hewitt has been my hero. I have looked up and admired him for the person he is on the court and off the court. From this, I can take for what he stands for and apply it into my life. He is a true inspiration who displays many great qualities. Over the years I have learned a lot from Hewitt and wanted to be just like him. I am lucky enough to have grown up and idolized someone like that. And when that sad day comes when the thunder is no longer roaring down under, the day that Hewitt will hang up his rackets, I will miss him. I think others will miss him too. I am thankful to have watched him play all these years. I think it is important to have great heroes and role models in your life. I was luck enough to have Hewitt and my parents as mine. I wish there were more people like Hewitt, but there isn’t. People like Hewitt are rare and they don’t come around very often, but then again there is only one Lleyton Hewitt. He will always be remembered as a warrior, fighter, and a champion, who possessed the “Eye of the Tiger”. Throughout all the years on tour and in his life one thing is for sure, Lleyton Hewitt has never stopped believing in Lleyton Hewitt. And I have never stopped believing in myself.

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