NEW YORK, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Lleyton Hewitt’s five-set loss to Russian Mikhail Youzhny at the U.S. Open on Tuesday still stung, but the Australian veteran said having his family around him lessened the pain of defeat and helped him get his priorities right.
Hewitt’s wife, Australian actress Bec Cartwright, and his three children were all at Flushing Meadows during his magical run to the fourth round.
After losing to Youzhny 6-3 3-6 6-7(3) 6-4 7-5 on Louis Armstrong Stadium, Hewitt said defeats had become easier to stomach since he became a father to seven-year-old Mia, four-year-old Cruz and two-year-old Ava.
”Every loss still hurts, but it puts everything in perspective,“ he said. ”Your priorities have changed.
“I still get in and prepare for matches as well as possible, but obviously you don’t dwell on matches quite as much because you have other things to worry about.”
Hewitt led 4-1 in the fourth set and 5-2 in the fifth before letting Youzhny off the hook. He said the physical exertion required to beat Argentina’s sixth seed Juan Martin Del Potro in the second round two was still taking a toll.
“It’s great to come into the tournament and have a tough draw against a quality player in second round, and beat him,” the 32-year-old said.
”It was always going to be hard physically to keep coming out match after match, because in the second round that obviously took a lot out of me to get through del Potro.
“I left it all out there this week, week and a half.”
Hewitt was closing in on his first quarter-final berth in New York since 2006 when he had Youzhny on the ropes in the fourth and fifth sets. He was two points from the match in the fifth.
“It could have gone either way,” he said. “There was a lot of momentum changes, right from the start. It’s disappointing to lose but there’s not a whole lot more I could have done.”
Hewitt turned his attention to the Davis Cup tie between Australia and Poland in Warsaw from September. The winner will earn a place in the world group next year.
Hewitt expected Jerzy Janowicz to play despite Poland’s number one complaining of a back injury after his first-round singles loss at Flushing Meadows.
“Janowicz is a quality player,” Hewitt said. “If he was that injured he wouldn’t have played doubles here. It was one of the silliest things I have seen.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford