I was up really late watching Lleyton Hewitt play in his last Australian Open and the announcers were telling there favorite Lleyton Hewitt stories. The one I liked the best was when he was quoted as saying “The thing I will miss the most is getting up early and all of the hard practice time that I put in”. I remember those days, now yes its true maybe that I was just getting home from partying at the time, but the hours and hours of prep work was part of the fun of being a tennis player. No one realizes that more than any other sport, tennis players are created not born. Natural athletes can’t just pick up a racket and became a champion. Maybe Lebron James can play tight end if he wants but he’s not even close to making it as tennis player, unless he’s on the practice court for hours and hours growing up, and if you were playing other sports and get a late start it becomes next to impossible no matter how good that you are.
I remember saying that I needed to put a minimum of 20 hrs of tennis related actively per week in order to be effective and it was more like 25-30 to be realistic. That brings to mind another story they were talking about at the same time, which is Brian Baker. The guy has had 5 surgeries that has derailed his career. He was hurt so much that he had enough time to get a college degree and become a college coach while he was still playing. I had every injury to the light right of my body that you can possibly have, and every time that you have to take time off to heal you feel like it’s time to quit but then when you get healthy again you say, ”Hey I can still play this game and I’ve worked too hard to quit now ”. So you go back to your Rocky routine again and just when you start to make progress you get hurt, or run low on money or the weather changes and it sets you back again.
It’s a really rough life on the way up but as they said in the Godfather “This is the life that we’ve chosen”. So although I don’t have a wife and kids now due to all the sacrifices I made for a career that didn’t quite turn out the way I planned, I certainly have a lot of good memories and maybe I can solve that wife and kids problem someday anyway. Baker may have lost today in a close one but Hewitt is still alive by beating the guy he will be coaching in a few weeks in Davis Cup in Duckworth. We really hope Hewitt can turn back the clock and pull off a “Jimmy Connors Moment” and make run here. If anyone can do it he can. Even if he doesn’t win his next match against Ferrer I can guarantee you that the kid who beat Agassi when he was only 16, has the heart to at least give you an entertaining match.
There have been a few early exits by the top player’s already. Venus, Wozniacki and Halep are gone and on the ATP Men’s side Nadal was sent packing by Verdasco in a great match. Today at America’s Bookie we are betting Almagro +170 over Thiem and also putting few bucks on Dolgopolov +640 to take out Federer. Both of those guys have worked their way to the top and even if the favorites win they will be in for a long day and that is the type of player we like to bet our money on. Good luck guys.