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HEWITT A THREAT AT SW19: THE FRIDAY FIVE

By Maud Watson

Blast from the Past – My biggest praise this week goes to Australian Lleyton Hewitt. Not only did he defeat six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in the final of Halle, but he did so after having undergone two hip surgeries. The match had more than shades of the old Hewitt who was at the top of the game nearly ten years ago, with the Aussie chasing down everything that Federer threw at him. While it has to be said that Federer’s game did go off, there’s no doubt Hewitt played a large part in making it so. Down a set and 0-40 at four-all in the second, Hewitt refused to succumb. Federer clearly became a bit rattled and began to press, ultimately resulting in Hewitt snapping his 15-match losing streak against the Swiss. Wimbledon is a different prospect with the matches all being best of five, but given his status as a former Wimbledon champ and his current run of form, Hewitt’s suddenly looking like a decent pick to go deep at SW19.

Back on Track – After the dismal circumstances under which Sam Querrey made his exit at Roland Garros, it was nice to see him quickly back on the horse and in the winner’s circle this past weekend at the Queen’s Club. Querrey held his nerve to take a tight two-set victory over compatriot Mardy Fish, whom it also has to be said put together one of the nicer weeks of tennis he’s had in awhile. And as a sidebar to Querrey’s win and Hewitt’s, I think it’s safe to say that while it’s tough to bet against the big boys at the majors, this Wimbledon feels a little more wide open than it has in recent memory.

Undecided – Well, the Swiss Miss may not be done after all. No, Martina Hingis isn’t contemplating making yet another comeback to the singles game, but she is seriously considering the possibility of coming back to play doubles on the WTA Tour, naming American Lindsay Davenport as her current choice of partner. Hingis has already committed to playing 14 matches in World Team Tennis for the New York Buzz this summer, and given her level of talent, it’s hard to imagine it will take her long to shake the dust off her game. She’ll also be teaming with former partner Anna Kournikova to play the Legends Doubles event at Wimbledon, and I’m sure many are hoping that a potential return of Hingis to WTA Tour doubles will entice Kournikova to eventually follow suit.

Salt to the Wound – Brit Alex Bogdanovic has made no secret of the fact that he wasn’t thrilled when he learned he wouldn’t be receiving one of the Wimbledon main draw wildcards despite the fact that he meets the ranking criteria. But he didn’t give up hope at having another shot at winning a main draw match and opted to take his chances in the qualies. It was there in the second round that he came up short against talented Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, losing by a heartbreaking 24-22 in the third. I’m not a huge Bogdanovic fan, and I perfectly understand the logic behind not granting him a wildcard. But at 24-22 in the third, you gotta feel a little sympathy for the guy.

More Returns – This week has marked the return of a couple more players to the main tour just in time for the Big W. Eastbourne has seen Belgian Kim Clijsters bounce back nicely from the foot injury that kept her out of Roland Garros, as well as Frenchman Gilles Simon, whose absence from the 2010 season has been long and frustrating. While it’s a big ask for either to set high expectations for Wimbledon (Simon much more so than Clijsters), it’s great to see them notching some wins under their belt and gaining some momentum as they’re shortly to head into the heart of the summer season. And in case anyone missed it, former No. 1 and French Open champion Thomas Muster will be making a return to the Challenger Circuit at the age of 42. I’m not quite sure what the thought process was behind this return other than for love of the game, but to each their own.  Maybe he was inspired by Kimiko Date Krumm.

Roger Federer Becomes A Father Of Twin Girls

GENEVA — Roger Federer became a father of twin girls after his wife Mirka gave birth Thursday.

In a statement released on his personal Web site and Facebook page, tennis’ world No. 1 said the girls have been named Charlene Riva and Myla Rose.

“I have some exciting news to share with you,” Federer’s Facebook page said.

“Late last night, in Switzerland, Mirka and I became proud parents of twin girls.

“We named them Myla Rose and Charlene Riva and they are both healthy, and along with their mother they are doing great.

“This is the best day of our lives.”

The names of the Federer children go slightly against how Roger himself was named. According to Rene Stauffer, author of the book THE ROGER FEDERER STORY, QUEST FOR PERFECTION ($24.95, New Chapter Press, www.rogerfedererbook.com), Roger’s parents – Robert and Lynette Federer – named their son Roger “because it could also be pronounced easily in English. Roger’s parents, even in the first hours of his life, felt that one day it could be beneficial for their son to have a name that was easy to pronounce in English.”

Writes Stauffer of the family name, “The name Federer was already familiar in Berneck before 1800, but it is ac­tually an extremely uncommon clan name in Switzerland. The most famous Federer up to that point was Heinrich Federer, a priest turned poet who died in 1928. In 1966, on his 100th birthday, he was immortalized on a Swiss postage stamp.”

The Federer twins are the first children for the couple, married in April.

Earlier this month, Mirka sat courtside through the nerve-racking Wimbledon final in which Federer beat American Andy Roddick 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14 to clinch his 15th grand slam title, breaking the record held by Pete Sampras.

The 27-year-old Federer met his wife-to-be — born Miroslava Vavrinec in Slovakia — in 2000 when they were competing for Switzerland in the Sydney Olympics.

Mirka, 31, emigrated with her family to Switzerland as a small child, and after playing on the WTA Tour and retiring prematurely due to injury, she became one of Federer’s managers.