Hip surgery sidelines Hewitt till French Open

Melbourne: Former world number one Lleyton
Hewitt will be out of action for at least three months after
undergoing hip surgery following his exit from the Australian

The Australian world number 22, who was beaten in
straight sets by top seed Roger Federer in the fourth round,
hopes to return in time to play some European clay court
tournaments ahead of the French Open in late May.

"After I finished the Australian Open, I had to go in and
have hip surgery on my right hip," said the 28-year-old dual
Grand Slam winner, who hobbled into his press conference today
on crutches.

"It`s been causing a few problems since the Hopman Cup at
the start of the year. It wasn`t an easy decision to make, but
one that I felt was necessary right at the moment."

It is the second time Hewitt has had to undergo hip

The last operation, on his left hip, was immediately
after the Beijing Olympics in August 2008, and he was out of
action until January last year.

Despite the latest setback, Hewitt said he "absolutely"
had the desire to keep playing.

"I could have waited a couple of weeks, see if it settled
down a little bit better straight after playing a tournament,"
he said.

"At the end of the day, from the scans I had before the
Australian Open, speaking to the experts that I had around me,
we pretty much knew that the decision was out of my hands at
the moment.”

"Obviously, what I play for these days are the Grand

"If I waited any longer to have anything done, it would
have been very similar to 2008 where I prolonged it because I
didn`t exactly know what was going on and ended up missing the
US Open because of it.”

"For me having it done right now, I`ll be back ready for
the French Open."

Hewitt will now be unavailable to lead Australia in their
Group I Asia/Oceania Davis Cup tie against Taiwan in Melbourne
on March 5-7.

Bureau Report