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Hip problems could hold back Hewitt; SPREADWISE.

Byline: By Dylan Hill

THERE were more than a few eyebrows raised when Lleyton Hewitt was confirmed as a starter in the French Open and there is vast disagreement among spread firms over today's first-round encounter with Nicolas Mahut.

Sporting have priced up the Australian's game supremacy at 4-5.5, whereas Spreadex quote it at just 1-2.5. Spreadex are almost certain to rapidly close the arb this morning - IG are also much closer to Sporting's line - but they may have been right to oppose Hewitt because it is hard to pin much faith in his performance.

Hewitt was widely expected to pull out of Roland Garros and Wimbledon after a long-standing problem with tissue tears in his left hip, an injury that has kept him out of action since the Davis Cup at the start of last month.

And manager David Drysdale hardly gave hope that a miracle recovery had taken place yesterday.

"We're not talking about the hip because we don't want it to be something that's sitting in his mind while he's playing," he said.

"While he feels like he can move okay, he'll stay positive about it.

"The aim at this stage is to play through to the end of Wimbledon and then we'll re-assess it from there. If there's a rapid deterioration in that time, then we'll have to review everything."

Should Hewitt hold up today, he still has to overcome a lack of clay-court action, and the fact he has also entered the doubles suggests he is more concerned about getting some game-time to prepare for the grass-court season.

Mahut has never won a match at Roland Garros in six attempts, but he has come on in leaps and bounds in the last 12 months and this may be a fine opportunity.

Recommendation

Sell L Hewitt game supremacy

3pts at 4 Sporting

CAPTION(S):

Lleyton Hewitt, last seen out in the gold and green of Australia last month, may not be fully on his game today
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:May 27, 2008
Words:332
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