2003 French Open 2003 French Open

Coaching change

Stoltenberg abandons Hewitt to spend time with family

Posted: Sunday June 08, 2003 5:56 PM
Updated: Sunday June 08, 2003 10:47 PM

MELBOURNE, June 9 (Reuters) -- Jason Stoltenberg has quit as Lleyton Hewitt's coach two weeks before the Australian opens his Wimbledon defense.

World No. 1 Hewitt, 22, said on Monday he had appointed his assistant coach, Roger Rasheed, to take over from Stoltenberg, who has stepped down for family reasons.

Rasheed, 34, is a former touring professional with a career-high singles ranking of 130 and is from Hewitt's home state of South Australia.

Stoltenberg has decided he wants to spend more time with his wife and two young children in Melbourne, the Herald Sun newspaper said on Monday.

"My time with Lleyton was full of great memories, specifically Wimbledon and Shanghai last year," Stoltenberg was quoted as saying.

"For me, it's time to move on. I believe Lleyton is poised to defend his Wimbledon title, which I know he holds so dear.

"It's been a pleasure and honor to have worked with Lleyton for the past 18 months."

Hewitt told the newspaper: "Jason's been great for my game. ... It's a lifestyle decision and I respect that.

"He's been honest about it, and with him working closely with Roger since December, I don't see that there will be a problem.

"I think Roger will do a great job, too."

Rasheed said the timing of the change was not ideal. "But right at this time, we're right in the middle of the season. So it's a matter of business as usual as far as Lleyton is concerned," he said.

"I won't be making any changes to Lleyton's game. The coaching caper is more about managing the athlete and having them in the right frame of mind when they take the court.

"It's a great opportunity for me and I'm pretty excited about it."

Hewitt split with another South Australian, Darren Cahill, at the end of the 2001 season. Cahill, who now works with world No. 2 Andre Agassi, steered Hewitt to the 2001 US Open title.

Wimbledon fortnight starts on June 23.

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