As Lleyton Hewitt gets set to tackle the Australian Open for a record 19th time, his immediate focus is the future, not his esteemed past.
Hewitt, relaxed but as straight-forward as ever, said that despite his age and his ranking of world No.86, every player has an equal shot at the ultimate prize.
“When you start the tournament, the dream’s still there for everyone, the 128 of us that are in the draw,” he reasoned on Saturday.
Hewitt has suffered first-round defeats at the hands of seeded players like Janko Tipsarevic and David Nalbandian in four of his past six Opens, but will face Chinese wildcard Zhang Ze on Tuesday.
Despite his advanced years, Hewitt isn’t entering his 19th straight Open thinking it will be his last.
“I think once those thoughts sort of enter your mind it can probably distract you and be a little bit of a negative influence when you’re trying to perform at your best out there,” he said.
“I’m that big a competitor. I think once I hit the match court out there my focus will basically be on the one-on-one aspect and to try to get the best out of myself.”