Hewitt has hip surgery again; Court honored

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Lleyton Hewitt hobbled into a news conference on crutches Saturday to announce he had hip surgery and doubted he'd play again before the French Open.

Hewitt's hopes of ending a local drought at the Australian Open were stopped by top-ranked Roger Federer, who beat the Australian in straight sets in the fourth round.

Hewitt, a two-time Grand Slam winner, said he injured his hip at the Hopman Cup in January and felt "a reasonable amount of pain" while playing in Melbourne.

"After I finished the Australian Open, two days ago I had to go in and have hip surgery on my right hip," said Hewitt, who turns 29 on Feb. 24. "At least I gave 100 percent and tried to block it out as much as possible."

No Australian man has won the Australian Open since Mark Edmondson in 1976.

"I'll be back, ready for the French Open," said Hewitt, who is focussing primarily on the Grand Slam events.

Hewitt said he took comfort from the comebacks of Belgian women Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, who took time off from tennis and returned to immediate success.

Clijsters, who was once engaged to Hewitt, came back after two years away to win the U. S. Open last September. an Open, which was scheduled for later Saturday against top-ranked Serena Williams.

"I thought maybe, if I retire now and come back ... you know, Kim and Justine do that, then come back and win slams," he said, smiling. "Could have been an omen for me."


LEGENDS UNITE: Tennis greats gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Margaret Smith Court's sweep of all four majors in 1970.

Court shared memories of her calendar-year Grand Slam along with those who lost to her in a tribute before Serena Williams' win over Justine Henin in the Australian Open women's final.

Court won the Australian Open 11 times, part of her 24 major single's titles.

The 1970 Grand Slam included wins over Helga Niessen Masthoff at the French Open, Billie Jean King at Wimbledon and Rosie Casales at the U.S. Open. She beat Kerry Melville at the Australian Open.

"She was a queen for so many years," said Billie Jean King, who won 12 Grand Slam singles titles. "Let's face it, she won more Grand Slams than any other player — male or female."

Court finished her career with an amazing 62 Grand Slam titles, including 24 in singles.

"I needed all I could get against her, it was very difficult," King said.

Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who lost to Court in the following Australian Open in 1971, said Court helped motivate her toward her own seven Grand Slam singles titles.

"I'm just so glad that Margaret was around. She was a person who pushed me all the way," Goolagong said.

Court spoke about the Wimbledon final against King, a 14-12, 11-9 victory at the All England Club. She played with an ankle injury — and a lot of painkillers.

"They told me the injection would last two-and-a-half hours and it was getting pretty close to that, so I thought if it goes to three sets I was going to lose," she said. "You could hear a pin drop because there was such great tension in there."

Casales recalled her as a formidable presence on the court, with an ability to reach nearly every shot.

"It was about the arms that always seemed to stretch up, out, sideways," Casales said of her tall opponent.


GUGA JUNIOR: He's Brazilian, he practices with his idol, three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten, and he's got a junior Grand Slam trophy to call his own.

Tiago Fernandes won the Australian Open boy's juniors singles title Saturday, beating Sean Berman of Australia 7-5, 6-3.

The 16-year-old Fernandes said he wasn't surprised by the win.

"The weekend before, I was thinking I'd be in the final and be, you know, the champion," he said. "But it's a Grand Slam, and I'm really happy to be the champion."

He attributed his success in part to "Guga," as Kuerten was affectionately known by his fans.

"He's an unbelievable guy — out of the court, inside the court," Fernandes said. "He helps me practice."

Kuerten last played Grand Slams in 2005 and retired in 2008 after suffering chronic hip injuries.


SISTERLY REVENGE: British teen Laura Robson's impressive run at the Australian Open was ended in the girl's final by the twin sister of the player she defeated in the semifinals.

No. 6 Karolina Pliskova won the junior's title by beating Robson 6-1, 7-6 (5). Robson double-faulted on match point.

The Czech player said her coach and identical twin sister, Kristyna, had given her tips.

"So I knew everything about her," said 17-year-old Karolina. "I'm very happy."

The 16-year-old Robson looked crestfallen, but said she was heading home to London "pretty happy."

It's been a busy start to the year for Robson, who played mixed doubles with Andy Murray in the Hopman Cup and reached the final, losing to Spain.