SYDNEY: World No 1 Lleyton Hewitt is training in private for what is considered his best chance of landing the Australian Open.
Hewitt has opted for a low-key approach to the first grand slam of the year, starting in Melbourne on Monday, turning down the chance to take the remaining spot in the eight-man field for the Kooyong Classic, which starts in Melbourne today.
“He’s training in hideaway,” a spokesperson from his management company said yesterday. “He’s in hiding at the moment.”
The Wimbledon champion is believed to be in either Adelaide or already in Melbourne working hard with coach Jason Stoltenberg after leaving last week’s Hopman Cup in Perth with mixed results.
He has tried various build-ups to the Australian Open in recent years, but none has yielded success.
Hewitt’s 6-6 win-loss record at Melbourne Park – where his furthest progression was to the fourth round in 2000 – is his worst of the four grand slams.
No Australian has won the national Open since Mark Edmondson in 1976.
Hewitt’s 2000 and 2001 campaigns featured back-to-back finals in Adelaide and Sydney, including three titles, in the weeks preceding the Australian Open.
Last year, he pulled the plug on both those lead-up events and relied on the Hopman Cup before being struck down with chicken pox. – AFP