“To become world No. 1 at such a young age would be everything to me"
Alfie Hewett will launch his quest for the Australian Open title as he targets the men´s world No.1. The British player will compete at the first Grand Slam of the year between 24 and 27 January, after reaching the final at the Sydney Super Series and the semi-finals at the Melbourne Open earlier this month.
“Sydney was a very positive week. Having a bit of time off over the Christmas period and not being able to train the way I would have liked to meant I went into this first one of the year with a bit of doubt about how I would perform,” he said.
“However I found a bit of the form I finished 2017 on and produced some of my best tennis again, which was a boost in confidence. The final was tight and there were chances for me to push Shingo (Kunieda) further, but ultimately I was not clinical enough on the big points and he deserved the win.”
Hewett enjoyed a breakthrough year as he won the French Open, his first singles Grand Slam, and reached the world No.2.
“At the start my expectations were to just keep inside the top eight and qualify for the Grand Slams.
“I wanted to learn and feel relaxed at these big tournaments. That is what I’ve done, and over the year I grew in confidence and the success followed.”
It will be the second time 20-year-old Hewett takes part in the Australian Open, having lost to France´s Stephane Houdet in the quarter-finals at last year´s edition.
“I’m massively looking forward to my second Australian Open. It is a great venue and place to be, I thoroughly enjoyed it last year and I’m excited to be back,” he said. “The people are so friendly, there’s a good vibe within the centre and to start the year with a big tournament like this is something I will relish.”
The world No.2 knows how important winning this title would be as a confidence-boost ahead of the rest of the season.
“There is a bit of pressure riding on this tournament with the potential of becoming No. 1 in the world up for takings, something that has always been an ambition of mine since getting into the sport.
“I will try to look over that and focus on my process and performance goals like I normally do and if the title was to be mine, then it would be a great way to start the year and will make me hungry for more success as the year goes on.
“To become world No. 1 at such a young age would be everything to me. It is a big reward for all the sacrifice and hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Not just me but my family, team and anyone who has helped me, it is just as big of an achievement for them as it is for me.”
Hewett also acknowledges competing in the heat will not be easy task.
“The heat does make it incredibly tough out here. We try and come out here earlier to acclimatise and get used to the conditions.
“Some players can’t sweat which makes it tough for their bodies to cool down, so that’s why we have a cooler heat rule. Being out in the sun makes it draining, having long matches will take it out of you but that is what we expect and train for so I will be up for the battles ahead.”
More information about the Australian Open is available on the ITF´s website.