A battle between two generations takes place tomorrow afternoon in Queensland as former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt is set to begin his 2014 ATP season with a match-up against fellow South-Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis. This marks the first meeting between the two on the professional tour, as Kokkinakis is set to make his main draw debut at an ATP World Tour event tomorrow.
Former US and Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt has high expectations for his 2014 season. After a career riddled with injuries, particularly in the last few years, Hewitt finally feels as though he is actually capable of competing without a disadvantage. He admits that he has been able to get into fantastic shape after finally healing from the endless surgeries that plagued the later stages of his career. He is now able to do more cardio exercises and can even enjoy a daily jog, which will impact his stamina and preparation during the season. The relief from injuries will also affect Hewitt’s mental state and confidence ahead of the Brisbane International, possibly adding to his drive to succeed and remain relevant in professional tennis.
Kokkinakis, the runner-up in the 2013 Australian Open junior finals, has reached the main draw of the Brisbane International for the first time in his budding career. Fifteen years Hewitt’s junior, Kokkinakis is one of the few rising talents that represent the future ambitions of Australia in the sport of tennis. With the announcement that top Australian teenager Nick Kyrigos has withdrawn from the tournament with a shoulder injury, Kokkinakis has the opportunity to make the necessary impact heading into the Australian Open but will have the daunting task of facing a highly motivated (and injury-free) Lleyton Hewitt, which is no easy task for anyone.
Australian fans in attendance on Tuesday afternoon will be able to witness an entertaining battle between Australia’s present and future athletes in tennis and considering it is a first-time match-up, the outcome will be intriguing no matter the results. Can Kokkinakis topple the odds and defeat the former world no. 1 in his main draw debut in Brisbane? While that may be highly unlikely, the possibility will make for a very entertaining contest between the two.
Prediction: Lleyton Hewitt in Straight Sets
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