Hewitt draws Stepanek in battle of veterans
Ethan James Saturday 29 December 2012 2 Comments »
Australian wildcard Lleyton Hewitt will face fellow veteran and inaugural Brisbane International champion Radek Stepanek in the first round, as announced at the draw on Saturday morning.
According to compatriate Matthew Ebden, who drew himself to take on Belgium’s David Goffin in round 1, Hewitt continues to prove that age is simply a number.
The 31-year has reportedly been a bundle of energy on the practice courts.
“He’s looking fit and it’s going to be great to see him here bouncing around,” Ebden said.
“Seeing how he does things and his hunger for the game … you can see why he won Grand Slams and was No.1 in the world.
“He’s an incredible competitor and we’re going to see that again this week.”
Alongside Hewitt, Ebden is one of four local hopes in the men’s draw, which includes Australia’s highest-ranked man, Marinko Matosevic, and 20-year-old Ben Mitchell.
Japan’s fifth seed Kei Nishikori will open against Matosevic, while Gold Coast wildcard Mitchell is set to square off against crowd-favourite Marcos Baghdatis.
Edben is hopeful his local knowledge, coupled with an aclimitisation to the Brisbane humdity, will leave him in good stead against a host of overseas players arriving from a European winter.
“We [Australian players] are obviously familiar with the conditions, they’re our courts and they’re our balls,” he said.
“I hope all our Aussie guys can play well.”
The top four men’s seeds – Andy Murray, Milos Raonic, Gilles Simon and Alexandr Dolgopolov – have first-round byes.
ATP ‘Newcomer of the Year’ and eighth seed Martin Klizan will meet Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin and shapes as a potential second-round opponent for Hewitt.