Hewitt happy to avoid tough draw

January 18, 2015 12:33:13 UK

Lleyton Hewitt is aware of the challenge posed by Zhang Ze in Melbourne.

Lleyton Hewitt is happy to have been given a favourable draw as he goes into what could be his last Australian Open.

The 33-year-old says he isn’t treating this tournament as though it will be his last shot at winning his home Open, but he does have the potential to give Aussie fans something to cheer after being drawn to face Chinese wildcard Zhang Ze on Tuesday.

Hewitt is 1.22 to beat Ze, who is 4.00 to win himself.

This is a significant boost for Hewitt as the likes of seeded players David Nalbandian and Janko Tipsarevic have knocked him out in a run of four first-round exits in the past six years.

Hewitt said: “It’s nice not to play one of the real top guys, but you’ve got to be prepared to play anyone. I try not to worry about it leading into the draw obviously.”

The Australian said of Ze: “He’s a dangerous player. He swings from the hip on a lot of shots. He’s got a good serve, nice forehand, backhand and likes changing direction off both sides.”

Hewitt says his dream of winning a third grand slam title is still strong, and that he is sticking to his tried-and-tested tactic of starting out by just setting his sights on making it through the first week of the tournament.

It will be his 19th consecutive Australian Open, and he says he is not about to regard it as a farewell appearance.

He said: “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.”

Hewitt, who is 81.00 to win his quarter of the draw, reached the final in Melbourne in 2005 when he lost to Marat Safin. The furthest he has gone since then is the fourth round, although he has been beaten in the first round in each of the past two years.

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