Hewitt wins second Grand Slam title with Wimbledon routPosted: Sunday July 07, 2002 11:59 AM
Updated: Sunday July 07, 2002 11:25 PM
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- If there were ever any doubts about Lleyton Hewitt's status as the world's top player, there aren't any more.
The 21-year-old Australian crushed David Nalbandian in straight sets Sunday in the Wimbledon final to win his second Grand Slam title, solidify his No. 1 ranking and confirm the changing of the guard in men's tennis.
In a tournament where aging former champions Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi lost in the second round, Hewitt swept through the draw without a hitch and put on a ruthless performance Sunday to win 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 in under two hours.
The match shaped up as a mismatch: the top-seeded Hewitt against No. 28 Nalbandian, a 20-year-old Argentine playing in his first grass court tournament and his first match on Centre Court.
And a mismatch it was.
Hewitt never wavered, whipping his ground strokes with power and precision, dictating the points, making very few errors. Nalbandian couldn't cope with the occasion or Hewitt's supremacy, making countless unforced errors.
Hewitt's only show of nerves came when he served a double fault on his first match point at 5-2, 40-0. But when Nalbandian hit a shot long on the next point, Hewitt fell onto his back in exhilaration
He got back to his feet and slammed a ball into the crowd. After shaking hands with Nalbandian, Hewitt left his racket on his chair and pumped his fists above his head to the crowd.
Hewitt then climbed up through the stands to the guest box, emulating the celebrations of Pat Cash, the last Australian to win Wimbledon in 1987.
Hewitt embraced his coach Jason Stoltenberg, kissed his girlfriend Kim Clijsters and hugged his parents before returning to the court to accept the winner's trophy.
"I kept looking at the scoreboard to see if it was real," Hewitt said. "It's an unbelievable feeling. I always dreamed that some day I would be playing for this trophy."
"Now this is a real ripper,' he said, using an Australian expression meaning, "This is great."
"I don't really want to let go of it."
Hewitt, who won the U.S. Open last September, has now added the most prestigious title in tennis to his resume and validated his legitimacy as the top dog in the game.
And he did it without any of the controversy which has dogged his career: no tantrums, no abrasive behavior, no tirades at umpires or line judges.
Hewitt, who dropped only two sets in the tournament, seemed to come of age both on and off the court.
What's more, Hewitt became the first baseliner to win Wimbledon since 1992.
It was the most one-sided final in terms of fewest games won by the loser since John McEnroe beat Jimmy Connors 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 in 1984.