Lleyton Hewitt’s run at the US Open is inspiring his Australian Davis Cup teammates to end three years of World Group qualifying heartbreak.
Captain Pat Rafter’s team – minus Hewitt – has already left New York to train in Munich ahead of the World Group promotion tie against Poland later this month.
But team trainer Josh Eagle said they were closely following the progress of team veteran Hewitt who was preparing to face Mikhail Youzhny in the Open fourth round for a likely quarter-final berth against world No.1 Novak Djokovic.
“He’s just such a competitor and just such a warrior,” said Eagle.
“The guys will be in Munich watching his next match and they watched him when they were here and you know he’s just such an inspiration to the team.
“We’ve seen it for 10 years, so many times when you think he’s down and out he finds a way to win.”
Hewitt is in his tennis heaven right now.
The two things that keep the 32-year-old former world No.1 playing the game are the grand slams and Davis Cup and he has the chance to achieve big results in both in the next fortnight in New York and then Warsaw.
He’s already ousted sixth seed and former champion Juan Martin del Potro from the Open.
And he’s fiercely motivated to get Australia back into the Davis Cup World Group after the team fell agonisingly just short for the past three years – losing from 2-1 up going into the final day of the promotion playoff tie against Belgium (2010), Switzerland (2011) and Germany (2012).
“People probably don’t realise how much energy and effort and focus he puts into every tie,” said Eagle.
Hewitt is expected to partner doubles specialist Chris Guccione in Cup doubles rubber in the September 13-15 tie.
The veteran is also likely to play at least one singles match – with Bernard Tomic the other singles player – but backing up on consecutive days has been problematic for him.
Win or lose in Warsaw, Eagle can see Hewitt continuing to play Davis Cup for some time now that he has finally overcome injury worries that plagued him in recent seasons.
“The fact that he is healthy to me I see no reason why he won’t continue on playing for the foreseeable future,” he said.
“He’s just hasn’t been 100 per cent (previously) which has really hurt his ability to prepare and train properly and you know the game’s changed.
“Ten years ago when he was No.1 in the world he could run every ball down.
“Now these guys, they’re six foot five. They hit the ball bigger and stronger so he really needs to be able to train just to match it with these guys.”