With an impressive display of textbook backhand lobs and swan-hand ‘come on‘s, Lleyton Hewitt claimed a surprising victory in the Brisbane International men’s singles final over night, dismissing universally acknowledged tennis G.O.A.T. Roger Federer in a three-set match (6-1, 4-6, 6-3).
Hewitt, who has been recovering from the effects of several foot surgeries over the past two years, put on a gutsy performance, sinking winners from each inch of the court to take home his first trophy since 2010. Of the unexpected victory, Hewitt said: “It’s been a couple years. So I was just ready for the challenge today. Played great obviously at the start, really well. Took Roger little bit of time to get into the match.”
In fact, the beleaguered Swiss maestro didn’t get into the match that much at all, executing an uncharacteristic number of unforced errors and poor serving percentages. “It’s unfortunately one of those matches that got away from me,” Federer said. “I’ve got to try to do better job next time around when I get in this position.”
Hopefully Fed will put on a better performance at the 2014 Australian Open, which kicks off Monday 13 January. The four-time title winner (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010) is a favourite with the Australian crowd because he is a nice guy with a comically puny left arm (due to years of neglect compared with the right that hits all Roger’s forehands and backhands).
Hewitt will also move on to the Greatest Sporting (and live music) Event Of Summer with the lofty hopes of a nation riding on his 32-year-old shoulders. “A lot depends on draws and how I play,” said Hewitt of his Australian Open chances. Thanks, Einstein.
Also heading to Melbourne for the Open will be women’s world number one Serena Williams who defeated defending champion Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 7-5 in the Brisbane International women’s final on Saturday night.
Image via Getty Images.