Hewitt sets sight on Federer

2007-06-10 09:06
London - Lleyton Hewitt plans to use his bid for a record fifth Artois Championships title as the launchpad for an assault on Roger Federer's Wimbledon crown.

Hewitt, 26, has never had any problem acclimatising to the lush lawns of south-west London, as his haul of four men's singles titles at Queen's proves.

But the sixth seeded Australian, who has a bye into the second round before beginning the defence of his title against either Kristian Pless or a qualifier, is already looking past Queen's, which starts on Monday, to Wimbledon later this month.

Hewitt won Wimbledon in 2002 and has seven career victories over Federer but has been unable to stop the brilliant Swiss marching to four successive titles at the All England club.

He knows a successful Queen's would be the perfect confidence boost ahead of the grass court grand slam and he believes he can stop Federer clinching the trophy yet again.

"I feel there are only a handful of guys who can push Federer on a grasscourt at the moment and I would like to think I am definitely one of those," Hewitt told the Artois podcast.

"On grass in particular I feel very capable. Winning Wimbledon four times is an incredible feat but there are not many people who can go and win it, so I give myself a fighting chance."

Tough challenge

Hewiit, who beat American James Blake in last year's Queen's final, is scheduled to meet Tim Henman in the third round if the four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist makes it through his first two matches.

Henman would present a tough challenge as he would relish the chance to get revenge on Hewitt for the two defeats he suffered against him in successive Queen's finals.

If Hewitt survives that test then a potential quarter-final against Andy Roddick could prove an even more gruelling assignment as the American has won the tournament three times.

Emerging unscathed from that encounter and then a likely semi-final against either Dmitry Tursunov or Fernado Gonzalez will throw up the toughest battle of all - a probable final clash against top-seeded Rafa Nadal.

With Scotland's Andy Murray nursing a wrist injury that forced him to withdraw from the tournament, Henman, who meets Croatian wild card Marin Cilic in the first round, remains the best hope of home success.

Heman's dream of winning Wimbledon is growing fainter by the year, but over Queen's week he is still a threat.

Roddick, the number two seed, faces either Radek Stepanek or Italian veteran Davide Sanguinetti in his opening match and is seeded to meet Nadal in the final.

Nadal doesn't have an easy path to the final himself. He begins his campaign against either Juan Martin del Potro or former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson.

Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia, the number five seed, is likely to lie in wait in the quarter-finals, with a potential semi-final against either fourth seed Novak Djokovic or former world number one Marat Safin.

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