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Refreshed Hewitt hopes to pull off Day I coup
- DAVIS CUP FINAL

Sydney: Lleyton Hewitt believes his rapid slide down the world rankings could give Australia the advantage in this weekend’s Davis Cup final against Spain in Melbourne.

The former world number one has tumbled down to 16th and finds himself in the unfamiliar position of being Australia’s number two singles player behind Mark Philippoussis. This means he will play Spain’s top-ranked player, world number three Juan Carlos Ferrero, in one of Friday’s two singles.

“I feel like if I can beat Juan Carlos on Day One, it gives Australia a huge advantage,” Hewitt said. “I’ve probably been given the opportunity in this tie to crack the whole Davis Cup final wide open on the first day.”

Hewitt said he was feeling fresh after missing the Masters Cup while Ferrero and Carlos Moya had competed at the end-of-season event.

“To try and bounce back and stay fresh for that whole time was pretty tough, so I know exactly what Ferrero and Moya are going through,” Hewitt said.

“I’m in a totally different situation myself right now and hopefully it’s going to be the right preparation. I’ve been training extremely hard, putting in a lot of hours on the court and in the gym and done a lot of miles running.”

Wimbledon runner-up Philippoussis had led Australia to victory over France in the 1999 Davis Cup final by winning both his singles matches, but this will be his first final in his hometown of Melbourne.

Ferrero, quoted in a Spanish sports daily, said he expected Australia to be fuelled by years of frustration.

“More than being angry with us, I think they are angry with themselves for losing two finals on the trot,” he said.

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