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Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 11:25 GMT
Lleyton Hewitt
Lleyton Hewitt
Hewitt won the US Open in 2001
Date of birth: 24/02/1981
Nationality: Australian
Grand slams: US Open 2001, Wimbledon 2002

It is not long ago that Lleyton Hewitt was being described as "the future of tennis" by Pete Sampras.

That prediction has come true quicker than even Hewitt could have dreamed as in the last 12 months he has won Wimbledon, the US Open and the Masters Cup.

That victory in Sydney confirmed Hewitt as the youngest ever season-ending world number one.

However, it was Wimbledon that marked Hewitt out as the player whom the challengers must set their standards by.

He lost just two sets over the fortnight and was particularly impressive in his semi-final against Tim Henman, a relentless barrage of winners rendering the Briton a virtual bystander.

He may have relinquished his US Open title to Sampras this year, but the Australian's semi-final defeat to an inspired Andre Agassi was no disgrace.

Although Hewitt has a complete game suitable to all surfaces, it is his mental toughness that really marks him out.

He won his US Open title last year despite being vilified for an outburst against a match official in his second-round match.

Thereafter he received a hostile reaction from the media and the Flushing Meadows' crowd, but shrugged it off, winning his semi-final against Yevgeny Kafelnikov and the final against Sampras for the loss of just 12 games.

Hewitt had previously shown his steel in driving Australia to the Davis Cup in 1999, aged just 18, when he stepped in to replace the injured Pat Rafter.

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