Lleyton Hewitt says he’s as motivated as ever despite still feeling the effects of a career-threatening foot injury.PERTH _ Former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt has again rubbished any talk of retirement, insisting he’s as motivated as ever despite still feeling the effects of a career-threatening foot injury.
Hewitt’s ranking has plunged to 186 following an injury-marred 2011 campaign in which he managed just 20 competitive matches.
The 30-year-old will end more than three months on the sidelines when he fronts up for the $1 million mixed-teams Hopman Cup event in Perth starting tomorrow.
Hewitt looked the goods during a spirited 55-minute session with hitting partner Peter Luczak yesterday, even unleashing a trademark “C’mon” after winning a frenetic point.
But the two-time grand slam winner admits the foot he re-injured during Australia’s Davis Cup loss to Switzerland in September is still causing him pain, and would continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
However, any retirement plans are firmly off the agenda.
“Retirement talk has been there since I was 26,” Hewitt said.
“I was a 10-year veteran by then.
“So for me it’s just a load of rubbish.
“I’m fortunate I’m in a sport that I can choose when I want to stop when the time’s right.
“I’m probably more motivated now than even a couple of years ago.
“Sometimes you go through the motions a little bit and you take everything for granted. But right at the moment, the rest of my body feels unbelievable.
“It’s just been this niggling foot injury. If I can get over that, then I’ll be 100 per cent.
“I’ve got a beautiful wife and three kids now to look after.
“But the motivation is still there for me to go out there and compete.”
Hewitt’s fighting words came as no surprise from a man renowned for his on-court tenacity.
But the 180-centimetre dynamo was far less convincing when asked more specific questions about his troublesome toe, and whether it was likely to cause him any more serious problems down the track.
“Who knows. No one knows,” he said.
Hewitt really will have to take it one tournament at a time, with a big question mark still surrounding his ability to stay fit.
The unknown that faces Hewitt was evident when he was asked about his goals for the Australian Open. “I’m a wildcard, so there’s no expectations on me,” he said.
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