The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lleyton Hewitt to play less next year

Adelaide: World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt says he will reduce the number of tournaments he plays next year to protect himself from burnout.

The 21-year-old Australian said on Wednesday that he needed to cut down on his playing schedule if he wanted to prolong his career.

“Next year I’ll probably try to concentrate a little bit more on Grand Slams and Davis Cup,” Hewitt said.

“I think I’ll probably have a longer career because of that, if I make some smart scheduling moves within the next couple of years.”

Hewitt, the youngest man ever to finish the year ranked No. 1 in the world, recently threatened to quit the sport because of a dispute with the ATP, the governing body for men’s professional tennis.

But he said his decision to cut down on his programme had nothing to do with his row with the ATP and would ultimately help him stay involved in the sport for longer.

“I’ve got to sit down and think about what’s right for me,” he said.

Hewitt, preparing for this weekend’s Davis Cup World Group qualifier against India, said his decision could cost him his ranking but his main ambition now was to win the Australian and French Opens, the two Grand Slams that eluded him.

He was bundled out in the first round of this year’s Australian Open after contracting chicken pox during the build-up to the tournament and wants to take things easier next year.

As the biggest drawcard in Australian tennis, he is likely to face strong pressure to compete in as many lead-up events as possible but said he would have to choose carefully.

“I’ve got to make tough decisions to find out what’s the best situation for me going into the Australian Open in Melbourne,” he said.

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