In his relentless drive to outperform former world number one Novak Djokovic, Lleyton Hewitt arguably exhibited a display of some of his best ever tennis.
The Aussie supporters in the Centre Court crowd in London erupted with cheers of pride as Hewitt impressively dominated in the first set 4-6. This extraordinary achievement served as a boost of confidence that would persist throughout the entirety of the match. Hewitt maintained his determination, winning a number of exciting, momentous rallies during the second set.
Lleyton began to make more unforced errors than in the previous set however remained pumped and optimistic in his resolve, continuing to win some great points off the world’s number two.
“I threw everything I had at him but in the end he was too good,” Hewitt said.
Rising to the challenge posed by the proficient Australian, Djokovic reacted quickly, leaping forward toward Hewitt’s low balls and fighting back with shots down the side lines to Hewitt’s backhand to finish on top in the final two sets 7-5 and 6-1.
“It’s never that easy against Lleyton, he’s one of the best returners ever to play the game,” Djokovic said.
The tennis players’ first encounter was at the 2006 US Open where Hewitt triumphed over a younger, less experienced Novak. Subsequent tournaments have brought the two of them head to head seven times; Novak triumphing on each occasion.
This match truly tested Djokovic’s game mentality as his opponent refused an easy win. His well-deserved victory secures the Serbian a position in the quarter final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Originally published at The SportingJournal.