LLeyton Hewitt coming to America

Lleyton Hewitt is strongly considering basing himself overseas, possibly in the US, to ease the massive travel load and accommodate his family life.

Hewitt has long held out against the trend of his fellow Australian players and remained in his homeland but, with the addition of a second child last month, he is now discussing whether to leave Australia for what would be the remainder of his career.

"Basically it's been something we've talked about for a number of years now, which is the possibility of having an overseas base," Hewitt's manager David Drysdale said yesterday.

"From the point of view of all the Australian players in the past — Philippoussis, Cashy, Rafter, the Woodies, everybody has had an overseas base.

"And it makes it easy to travel … the guys that live in Europe or the US, if they get knocked out early in the tournament, they can get off the tour, go home, spend three or four days at home, chill out, recharge the batteries and then go back to the next tournament.

"If you do that and you live in Australia, you've got to take two or three weeks off because of the distance coming back, and the time differences to your body and everything else.

"Lleyton's always done that — he's taken two or three weeks off at a time, or longer, when he comes back for a break."

Drysdale said no decision had been made, but a move was possible this year.

"Who knows, it could be in three weeks time, it could be in three months time," he said.

Drysdale said discussions about a possible move had come to the fore because of the birth of Lleyton and Bec Hewitt's second child, Cruz, and they were weighing up the travel load their family of four now faced.

"Lleyton is such a family man, he wants to have them around," he said.

"And so we started to discuss the possibilities of where, you know, Bec and the kids might be able to stay at home every now and then for a tournament. Lleyton could go and play, if he gets knocked out, he comes back.

"Because, again, I guess it's to knock the rumour on the head about retirement — we're looking at a full schedule for him, and so we're looking at ways to make it as easy as possible.

"So a lot of it was discussed but nothing got decided. Lleyton now heads back overseas next week for the American stint."

Hewitt is keen to play a full schedule this year after managing only 31 matches in an injury-afflicted 2008 that ended with delicate hip surgery, and the rigors of his travel schedule are evident in his planned program for early in 2009.

"As to where, I think he's be looking around the US. It would be somewhere where he's been, and he's been happy with, and he likes the place and feels comfortable living there."

Drysdale said that given that Mia was three and Cruz barely a month old, schooling was not a factor, which arguably made prospective relocation easier.

He said that Hewitt hoped to play at least another two years on the tour.

"It could be from two to four, who knows," he said.

"The guy is so patriotic about his country it's hard to get him to think outside of (living in Australia)."



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