Hewitt to soldier on

14 November 2012 05:40:09 EST

Lleyton Hewitt says he has no thoughts of retirement, as he outlined his preparation for the Australian Open.

The 31-year-old says he is still motivated to compete, after coming through five surgeries in the past four years.

I can still go out and match it with the best players in the world.

Lleyton Hewitt

Hewitt says he feels fresh mentally and physically as he looks ahead to a tilt at the Australian Open in January. And there is no prospect of the 2013 tournament being his last visit to Melbourne, he insisted.

The former world No.1 has overcome a foot injury that threatened to end his career. He opted to go under the knife earlier this year, which kept him out for several months.

"I didn't know exactly how I was going to bounce back from the surgery," Hewitt said. "It was such a major surgery that no other athlete has had it and tried to come back and play competitive sport again. 

"There were a lot of unknowns for me.

"By the end of the year I played some really good tennis and knocked off a couple of top 30 players. 

"That gave me a lot of confidence that I can still go out and match it with the best players in the world."

He added: "I guess when you bounce back from five surgeries in the last four years, I feel ready to go out there and compete."

Hewitt will play at the AAMI Classic as part of his build-up to the Australian Open, and hopes for a favourable draw in Melbourne.

"I'd say I'll be back again," he said. "I'm playing all next year. I can't see myself getting to the Paris indoors and not the Australian Open a month later.

"I'm not putting results on the table or goals to get to certain rounds," the world No.78 added. "I've had some rough draws in the past. Hopefully I can ease myself back into the Australian Open.

"Brisbane, I'm playing at for the first time, and then coming here to Kooyong, where I've always played well whether it's the AAMI Classic or the Davis Cup."

Serena Williams is 5/6 for the women's singles title at the Australian Open while Victoria Azarenka can be backed at 3/1.

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