Federer lauds frequent practice partner Hewitt
Roger Federer tells reporters that he and Lleyton Hewitt have been practicing together frequently. Hewitt was the year-end No. 1 in 2001 and 2002 and was eventually passed by Federer, who first became No. 1 in 2004. From 1999-2003, Hewitt held a 7-2 record against Federer, but the Swiss has won 16 of their last 17 matches. The 32-year-olds could have faced each other in the second round of Shanghai, but Hewitt lost his opener to Andreas Seppi.
“Ever since the Olympics, for some reason, we practiced there, we practiced here last year,” Federer said. “We never used to really practice together back in the day. Doesn’t happen so much that you practice with a guy close in the rankings. It’s just something that tends to be that way. We had a great practice for three-and-a-half hours at the U.S. Open where we really pushed each other. We had a super fun practice. Just looking back on how we used to play against each other, you forget how. Then you play two points, ‘Oh, that’s exactly how it was.’ It's actually a lot of fun.
“I was really happy for him when he beat del Potro at the U.S. Open, even though you know I like Juan Martin a lot. We’re very close. But Lleyton, he's been going through a lot. To see him being healthy again, happy, family man, all these things. It’s inspiring for me to see him working hard, enjoying the game, still being around. Many of our generation of players have retired again, like [David] Nalbandian.”