Federer form the least of Hewitt's worries
( dpa ) - After losing his last 11 matches against Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt is hardly worried about how the hottest racket in the game will pull up for the start of the Australian Open.
With Federer making a Tuesday start without the benefit of any practise matches due to a stomach virus, the world number one could be an unknown quantity for his first match or two.
But that's not really a problem for Hewitt.
"He played in late November, he won the Masters Cup in pretty good fashion," said the local hero whose own preparation consisted of three wins and two defeats at events in Adelaide and Sydney.
"Roger didn't play any matches on grass before Wimbledon (winning his fifth straight title there) this year after losing the final of French. He's that good a player that he can work his way into the tournament over the first couple of rounds and get confident.
"He'll still be able to get through, I don't think it's going to affect him a whole lot."
As for his own form at the major where he is making a 12th appearance with only a 2005 final to show for it, the former number one knows he faces his most pressurised time of the season.
"I'm only 26 at the moment and the body's been feeling really good the last couple of months," said the two-time Grand Slam winner. "You need a little bit of luck in any Grand Slam to win it.
"For me at the moment, it's just a matter of trying to survive the first week. If I put myself in a position deep in the second week, I've got as good a chance as anyone."
Hewitt said that it's not been easy carrying the flag almost alone for Australia.
"When I first started, we had Flip (Mark Philippoussis) and Pat Rafter who were obviously the two main guys. It was a pretty good transition for me taking over, especially from Pat once he retired, because I was No. 1 in the world at the time anyway.
"I've never really felt that much expectation or put more expectation or pressure on myself when I go out here to play.
"I try and use the crowd to my advantage as much as possible and take all the positives that I can."
Hewitt makes his start against Belgian Steve Darcis, playing the event for the first time.