Some people believe I may be a little tough on one of Australia's most decorated tennis champions, Lleyton Hewitt, I beg to differ. Lleyton Hewitt as far as I am concerned is and was his own worst enemy on a tennis court and it seems many agree with me and perhaps many don't.
Let's go through a few 'incidents' and see whether you agree with me or not.
Obviously the 'Hewitt hand salute' which wasn't really Lleyton's after all is just another example of the arrogance and lack of respect he has for the sport itself. To steal something from another player as he did from Kroon and make it into your trademark is something that the tennis purists of the World frown upon, but that's just Lleyton for you, 'Mr Self Importance'.
The first round match at the 2016 Australian Open which pitted Hewitt against an Aussie battler by the name of James Duckworth was one of those matches that Hewitt was always going to win, it was just a case of by what score. What disappointed me the most about that match was match point where Lleyton felt it necessary to fall on his back and carry on like a pork chop as his topspin lob cleared Duckworth's head and racket to take him in to round 2. Why would you do that ??
It was a match he would still win today if they played again even though Hewitt has retired so wouldn't a fist to the air and a wink to his opponent have been sufficient enough to take the accolades that night ? Nope, Lleyton has never done things modestly, just the sort of person he is.
When you beat a battler, you don't carry on, you simply do what you have to do and you go sign an autograph or two before you leave.
The Round 2 match in 2001 at the US Open between Hewitt and James Blake will go down in history as one of those 'Hewitt moments' where Australia should have asked for him to be deported, to anywhere really, anywhere but Australia.
To say to the umpire "Look at him and tell me what the similarity is" ( referring to both Blake and the linesman who are of the same coloured skin ) was one of those remarks that probably should have been taken a little more seriously than it was but when Wally Masur ( the then Davis Cup Coach ) had his say, well he came up with this : " How much can the Media flog this thing ? The proof of the pudding was that the two players shook hands and Lleyton told him ( Blake) what a good game he had played ".
Hello Wally are you missing the point ? It's all very well to shake hands and say well played but if you carry on like a complete f... wit during the match, well that side of things quite possibly needs a tweak. Forget the fact that he was Australia's best chance back then of winning a singles match in Davis Cup Wally, he really needed to be educated on how to behave on a tennis court for the simple fact that he was showing the rest of Australia's up and coming juniors how NOT to behave yet that didn't seem to matter.
In fact the same umpire who sat in the chair at that US Open match was the same umpire who sat in the chair at the French Open, the same year and had to endure Hewitt calling him a 'spastic', yep a spastic, interesting choice of words Lleyton.
The 2005 Australian Open was a ripper as Lleyton took on Argentina, first Chela ( who spat at Hewitt in retaliation to Hewitt openly celebrating his errors ) and then Nalbandian who he exchanged a shoulder bump with at the change of ends. Who was at fault ? You know my answer, David is a nice guy.....
All very well to be a hero at home but remember you have to play away from home too, a lesson for all those young players out there, treat the visiting players with respect, you never know when you may need some help when playing abroad.
So now Lleyton is our Davis Cup Captain, was always going to happen, Rafter made way for him, well done Pat, you get a few dollars slipped your way ?? ( I like Pat, he was the worst player at the tennis centre in Brisbane where I used to play in the 80's, he won the most cash in the end ). Something fishy was going on when Pat retired as Davis Cup head honcho to pave the way for Lleyton but only Tennis Australia know the answers to that one.
Some say I am too hard on Lleyton, I say go through the history books and see what a complete pain in the arse he was when he first started playing right through to his first round match with Duckworth at the Oz Open in 2016 where he finally had the chance to win with some humility yet instead chose to do the 'pork chop routine'.
I reckon my view of him may just be shared by more than just a few.......