As a father of three, former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt has a hectic schedule splitting practice with dad duties, occasional commentating and the launch of a new on-court clothing range – all in the twilight of his playing career.
Having spent the week honing his game on the courts at Kooyong, the 31-year-old Australian is through to the final at the AAMI Classic, where he’ll face face Argentine Juan Martin del Potro on Saturday.
The solid run of form, albeit in a warm-up exhibition event, is a positive sign ahead of his 17th consecutive main draw appearance at the Australian Open, and he took time out between match days to launch his C’mon sports apparel range at Myer Melbourne on Friday, where he spoke of the calming influence he and wife Bec’s young trio – Mia, Cruz and Ava – have on his state of mind.
“The kids have been out at Kooyong having a hit out there on Centre Court with me. It’s a pretty relaxed event so it’s obviously a lot of fun being out there,” he said.
Perhaps he’ll consider hitting with them on Centre Court more often, given his run to the Kooyong final.
“Tomorrow’s going to be a tough match. It feels like it just gets tougher and tougher,” he said.
“My first match at Kooyong I beat Milos Raonic, who’s obviously an up-and-comer with a big game, and yesterday I knocked off the No.6 Tomas Berdych, so that was a good win. Tomorrow I’ll get to play del Potro in the final, so for me it’s about getting matches, being in a good routine and getting good match practice ahead of the Australian Open next week.
“I love just playing in Australia in front of my home fans and when you can have a bit of success out there, it makes it all the better.”
The matches don’t get any easier when Hewitt begins his Melbourne Park campaign. He was drawn to play eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic on Friday, continuing a tough string of first-round draws for the veteran in his home major.
“It could have been easier, but I’m sure he’s not wanting to meet me in the first round either. It’s going to be a tough match on Monday or Tuesday, day or night,” Hewitt said.
“Obviously I’m extremely happy with how I’m hitting the ball at the moment, and a lot of the pressure’s on him. He’s the No.8 player in the world at the moment, so I’ll go out there and give 100 per cent and see what happens.”