The Life and Times of Tennis' Former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt

Rohini IyerSenior Writer IDecember 16, 2008

The indefatigable Lleyton Hewitt from Down Under is one of those athletes whose name will always resonate with nothing less than awe and respect.

As he battles injuries and struggles to gain an upper hand on the courts he once dominated and ruled, Hewitt time and again demonstrates the kind of fiery spirit, aggression and iron mettle that is perhaps unique only to Australians.

During the short but highly remembered 80 weeks that he spent rocking the men's tennis table, Hewitt captured scores of hearts along with trophies.

The way he wore his cap and his attacking style of play endeared him to almost everyone. Now many players sport hats the way he did, but they can't make the same kind of style statement.

When he became the youngest player in the history of the sport to be the World No. 1 at the age of 20, the world unanimously knew that this Australian was destined for far more greatness. And indeed, Hewitt's list of victims extends to players who themselves have ruled the roost.

Unfortunately, however, the greatness was cut short as injury after injury piled themselves upon him like a frequently visited friend. But each time he made his recovery, he showed the world of what he is forged of.

As the world No. 1, controversies dogged him, often threatening his career by portraying him as the ultimate villain. This was mainly due to his brash and temperamental attitude. Hewitt has never been a gentlemanly sort of a player. Sporty he is all right, but never one to take things lying down.

Turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to all such murky waters, Hewitt concentrated and did what he was best at doing: played scintillating tennis and leaving such negativity to subside on its own.

While some may hate Hewitt for his on-court manners and gesticulations, it was these antics that mainly brought people to connect with him and his game.

He may not have created records or equalled them, but the tenacity with which he played, the fight he gave for each and every point, the never-say-die attitude that he displayed are some attributes that will always be Hewitt's and Hewitt's alone.

He is not the No. 1 player right now, and is fighting to find his perfect rhythm; but when he comes to play, one look at his game is enough to spot the embers of a man who fought then and fights now as if his life depends on it.