For the final time in his professional career, former Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt will step out onto the lush grass courts of the All England Tennis Club to begin his campaign at the Grand Slam event. The Australian former No. 1 will begin his quest against Jarkko Nieminen, who is certainly not an opponent to take lightly. Hewitt leads the head-to-head series 5-0 yet has not met Jarkko since 2012. This will also be their first ever meeting on grass.
Currently on a five-match losing streak, Lleyton Hewitt has played selective tournaments this season. Following his loss at the Australian Open, he suffered opening round losses in Miami, Houston and then at the Topshelf Open. Most recently, Hewitt played a solid match against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, and while he was a few points away from a straight sets victory, Anderson rallied back to deny Hewitt entry into the second round of his final Aegon Championships.
Now, Hewitt will set his sights on his Finnish first round opponent and a potential showdown against Novak Djokovic in the second round.
“Obviously Novak’s waiting in the second round. Assuming he was to get through, I’d love nothing more than to go out and have a crack at him,” Hewitt said. “But I’m certainly not looking past Nieminen. He’s a tough competitor, really tough competitor. He always gives 100 per cent. It’s going to be a tough match and, even though I’ve had the edge on him in head-to-head matches, we’ve had some battles in the past and I’m sure Monday will be no different.”
Following a second round exit from the French Open, Jarkko Nieminen opened up his grass courts with a first round exit in ‘S-Hertogenbosch and Halle. He will now look to upset Hewitt and close out the final chapter in the Australian’s Wimbledon tale.
This marks the sixth time that Hewitt and Nieminen will meet on the professional tour and the first time ever on grass. Hewitt leads the head-to-head series 5-0 and will look to maintain that undefeated streak en route to the second round of the prestigious event.
Prediction: Lleyton Hewitt in Five Sets