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 Open.
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 Saturday 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 surgery.
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 Slams.
"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.