LONDON, June 14 (Reuters) - Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt retired from the Eastbourne International with a foot injury on Tuesday.
The Australian, who slipped out of the world’s top 100 this week, was trailing 6-2 3-0 to Belgian Olivier Rochus when he quit their first-round match.
Former Wimbledon champion Hewitt, 30, underwent foot surgery earlier this year and his latest setback was the result of a slip at last week’s Halle Open in Germany.
“It was touch and go whether I’d be able to play here anyway,” he told reporters at Devonshire Park.
“I slipped over last week at the end of the first set (of my quarter-final defeat) against (German Philipp) Kohlschreiber and stirred up the foot that I had surgery on.
“Since then I’ve just been trying to get treatment.”
Hewitt now faces a race to be fit for Wimbledon where he won the title in 2002.
“It hasn’t quite improved as much as I would have liked but I wanted to come out and try. I obviously have to focus on Wimbledon next week,” he said.
“It’s frustrating when you know you’ve done all the right things. This is one of my favourite times of the year, playing these grasscourt tournaments.”
Top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga moved into the second round with a 6-2 7-5 victory over Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin a day after the Frenchman lost to Andy Murray in the Queens’s Club final in London.
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Tony Jimenez. To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org