Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Aus Open - the Draw draws near

So another season is upon us and already we have a number of interesting results to ponder as the start of the Australian Open draws to within less than a week.

Increasingly it seems the draw - out on Friday - is as anxiously awaited as the first ball struck in anger, frustration, exasperation or occasionally joy.  This year for Australians it mainly centres on Lleyton Hewitt, principally due to his astonishing start to the summer, not the type of summer experienced by him for the first time, but unexpected given his position in the life cycle of a tennis player.  Even more remarkable the feat of winning the Brisbane International was that it came using the same  injury riddled body he continues to push to the absolute limits in his preparation, a preparation still unequalled on tour.

The fact that Hewitt was able to conquer his long time nemesis Roger Federer for the second time in their last three meetings, both in ATP finals, is reason for joy for the Australian, now ranked 43 in the world, but still leaves him unseeded for Melbourne Park and just as open to the horrors that the draw can throw up for qualifiers, lucky losers and wild cards.

Yes, Lleyton may play someone well down the rankings in round one and begin as favourite, but he is also not immune from the likes of the reigning and 4 time champ Djokovic, or the current world number one, Nadal turning up on the other side of the net for the first encounter of the first Grand Slam event of 2014.

Hopefully, for many reasons, including adding interest to the men's event at the Aus Open, which to be blunt over the past few years has been a matter of "let's hit a few tennis balls for a couple of weeks but we only need you 4 or 5 guys back here for the semis", Hewitt can be given the best chance to play himself into the tournament in the first couple of rounds.  Then as the most likely unseeded player to cause havoc amongst the seeds, he might actually proceed with that havoc making.

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