Hewitt offers shoulder, ear to teen Tomic
Date published :
02 Sep 2012 - 21:49:09
Australian veteran Lleyton Hewitt, a two-time Grand Slam champion, has become a sounding board for rising Aussie teen star Bernard Tomic, who tries to learn all he can from Hewitt's experience.
Tomic made a second-round exit from the US Open at the hands of Andy Roddick in the American's first match after announcing he would retire after his final bow on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts in the year's last Grand Slam event.
"I think he does listen to me quite a bit, even when he has spoken about things, whether he was playing Roddick or his game a little bit during the Olympics when he was down on confidence a little bit," Hewitt said.
"That's what I'm there for. Been around a long time now."
Tomic was involved in an angry exchange with reporters after his loss to Roddick when he was asked to respond to allegations that he had 'tanked' or not tried in the final set which he lost 6-0.
Hewitt, 31, won the 2001 US Open and 2002 Wimbledon titles and was a singles teammate of Tomic at the London Olympics last month. He plans to bend Tomic's ear before a Davis Cup World Group qualifying tie with Germany in a few weeks.
"I've gotten along well with Bernie for the last couple of years," Hewitt said. "We've practiced quite a bit together at most tournaments we've played the last couple years.
"He's a unique player. His ball striking is unique. Some of his shot selection is unique. There have been matches, probably more so at the Australian Open, that he has been able to turn around because of that."
Tomic rallied from two sets down to defeat Fernando Verdasco in the first round at this year's Australian Open and battled through a five-set thriller against Alexandr Dolgopolov before falling to Roger Federer in the round of 16.
"The Verdasco match, for example, looked like he was struggling there for a while and he was able to turn that around," Hewitt said. "Even against Dolgopolov in the Aussie Open as well.
"That's him and his personality a little bit."
Roddick was able to dispatch him from the US Open 6-3, 6-4, 6-0.
"I would have thought it would have gone a little bit better against Andy," Hewitt said.
"Hopefully he can get it together."