Tennis: Davis Cup drives Hewitt through hard pre-season

By Ben McKay

Lleyton Hewitt says the first Davis Cup elite inclusion since 2007 is important to Australian tennis. Photo / AP
Lleyton Hewitt says the first Davis Cup elite inclusion since 2007 is important to Australian tennis. Photo / AP

Conceding he's one injury away from retirement, Lleyton Hewitt says the fire still burns ahead of his 18th Australian Open and a Davis Cup campaign he fought six years for.

Fresh from winning the John Newcombe Medal as Australia's top tennis performer this year, 32-year-old Hewitt says the thought of claiming big scalps at Grand Slams and Davis Cup success are driving him through another tough pre-season.

"The hunger's absolutely there otherwise you wouldn't play," he said yesterday.

Australia plays France in its first time back in the Davis Cup's elite World Group since 2007, returning to the country where Hewitt won the 1999 Davis Cup final alongside Mark Philippoussis and doubles pair Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.

This time around, he's the elder statesman in a young squad, including 21-year-old Bernard Tomic, that is expected to contest the February tie.

Hewitt wanted to grow Davis Cup hunger in young players Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis after reacquainting with legends including John Newcombe and Tony Roche at Monday night's Tennis Australia awards.

"Seeing ... all these great players, it hit home how much Davis Cup means to this country."

- AAP

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