Lleyton Hewitt has always been regarded as one of the most resilient competitors on the ATP World Tour. He lived up to that moniker on Sunday afternoon, as he survived several turbulent moments to defeat towering Croat Ivo Karlovic in three thrilling sets. It marked the first time Hewitt won multiple titles in the same season for over a decade. He also became the first player to win a title at five different grass court tournaments – a testament to how much he enjoys playing on this particular surface.
After cruising through the opening set, Hewitt lost a break advantage in the second frame, which would eventually cost him the set, before rebounding to snatch the third to close out the match 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(3).
“We had tough conditions today, especially for serving,” Hewitt said. “I was just trying to play clean tennis as much as possible. From the baseline I was able to adjust to wind better than him.”
Hewitt’s victory makes him just the fourth active player to have over 30 title wins on the ATP World Tour. The remainder of the list is comprised of the existing members of the Top 3: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
“I felt relief to have finally won here. It’s an important tournament,” said Hewitt. “For me, I’ve come here the last three years and have come awfully close the last two years. It’s nice to be rewarded today.”
According to ATPWorldTour.com, the combined 68 years and 10 months made the 2014 Newport title bout is the oldest tour-level final since 1977, when Ken Rosewall and Tom Gorman played in the Hong Kong final with a combined age of 74 years and 8 months.