Lleyton Glynn Hewitt (born 24 February 1981) is an Australian professional tennis player and former World No. 1. Hewitt is the youngest male ever to be ranked number one in the world, at the age of 20. His most notable career achievements include winning the 2001 US Open and 2002 Wimbledon men’s singles titles, the 2000 US Open men’s doubles title, and back-to-back Tennis Masters Cup (now called the ATP World Tour Finals) titles in 2001 and 2002.
Hewitt is a defensive counterpuncher. He typically likes to play near the baseline during a rally and will usually approach the net only to catch a short reply or drop shot from his opponent. Hewitt’s lack of penetration in his groundstokes, most notably in his forehand, a typically dominant shot in most male players, forces him to rely on placement rather than simply “dominating” the point. At the 2004 Cincinnati Masters Final, commentator MaliVai Washington said that Hewitt was even more difficult to “ace” than Agassi because he gets more returns in play. Hewitt’s tactics typically involve putting difficult service returns in play, consistently chasing down attempted winning shots from his opponent while keeping the ball deep until he feels he can hit a winner.
Although he is known primarily as a baseliner, Hewitt is a skilled volleyer and is known for having one of the best overhead smashes in the game. His signature shot, however, is the offensive topspin lob, a shot that he executes efficiently off both wings when his opponent approaches the net. US Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe, Jim Courier and Tim Henman have all described Hewitt’s lob as being the best in the world (although Henman has since declared Andy Murray to have succeeded him). In Andre Agassi’s book “Open”, Hewitt is described as one of the best shot selectors in the history of Men’s Tennis.
Today, Hewitt still brings a lot to the game whenever he walks onto a court. After fourteen years on the ATP Tour, he still plays the game with the same grit and heart he has always played with. Now entering his fifteenth season on tour, he continues to wear his heart on his sleeve while hoisting the flag for Australia – especially when he plays in his own backyard.