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- Australian tennis player and tennis coach
The 13-year-old son of Australian legend Lleyton Hewitt is starting to make waves of his own in the tennis world.
Cruz Hewitt won his opening match in the 14-and-under boys’ singles competition at the prestigious Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships in Florida on Wednesday.
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More than 500 of the best young tennis players in the world are taking part at the University of Miami Watsco Centre Field House this week in the 60th rendition of the junior event.
A number of past champions of the Junior Orange Bowl under-12s and 14s divisions have gone on to become legends of the sport, with the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Boris Becker, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, Chris Evert and Jennifer Capriati all taking part as youngsters.
On Wednesday, Cruz Hewitt beat American player Minato Koido 6-3, 6-4 to show off his impressive credentials.
Unfortunately Cruz couldn't replicate the victory on Thursday, going down to No.9 seed Carel Ngounoue 6-1, 6-1.
However the first-round victory at the famous event is being seen as a sign that Cruz is the real deal.
Some have tipped Cruz to follow in his father's footsteps and become a tennis superstar in his own right.
One 'insider' has even made the staggering call that Cruz could be better than Lleyton, who became the youngest World No.1 in 2001 and won two grand slam singles titles.
Earlier this year, Cruz won the Australian 12-and-under clay-court title in Canberra.
He didn't drop a set in five matches, while also winning the 12-and-under doubles title with Asher Brownrigg.
“(Cruz) has improved a lot in the last two years,” Lleyton told News Corp earlier this month.
“He did really well to win the clay-court nationals - he won singles and doubles and didn’t lose a set in the singles, which, for him, was good.
“Obviously, there is a bit of pressure and expectation as well for him going out and playing in an event like that.
"For him to handle that and get the pace of it was really important."
For those interested, Cruz Hewitt lost his second-round match 6-1 6-1 to the No.9 seed, Carel Ngounoue. The Orange Bowl is a very strong tournament. Still a good result to win a round. Some kids are far more physically developed at that age
— Marc McGowan 🗣✍️👨🏻💻📰 (@ByMarcMcGowan) December 17, 2021
Who’s ready for another Hewitt to follow on the professional tennis tour? Lleyton’s son, Cruz, took another step towards that goal in the US today 👇🏻 https://t.co/C48eVTrxDG
— Marc McGowan 🗣✍️👨🏻💻📰 (@ByMarcMcGowan) December 16, 2021
Hewitt family move could be designed to help Cruz
Lleyton and wife Bec recently relocated the family from Melbourne to the Gold Coast in a move that is believed to be based around helping Cruz further his tennis career.
The move has put the Hewitts closer to the famed KDV tennis academy in Carrara, where Cruz will be able to train.
The $20 million facility was built in 2016 by Russian tycoon Denis Shtengelov and features a mix of hard and clay courts.
"It's understood Cruz's dad Lleyton was drawn to the Coast's many sprawling tennis centres - made up of a mix of grass, clay and hardcourt surfaces - as well as the multi-million dollar 'champion factory' KDV tennis academy located in Carrara," the Daily Mail reports.
"The state-of-the-art centre - which includes 20 courts, hotel accommodation, gyms, a pool and driving range - will serve as a makeshift base for Team Hewitt as Cruz continues his rise through the international junior ranks."
The Daily Mail quoted a 'local insider' that: "The move is very much a sign that the Hewitts are getting progressively more serious about Cruz's potential as a future world top-ten player."
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