Hewitt recovering after hip surgery

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Lleyton Hewitt hobbled into a news conference on crutches Saturday to announce he had hip surgery and doubted he'd play again before the French Open.

Hewitt's hopes of ending a local drought at the Australian Open were stopped by top-ranked Roger Federer, who beat the Australian in straight sets in the fourth round.

Hewitt, a two-time Grand Slam winner, said he injured his hip at the Hopman Cup in January and felt "a reasonable amount of pain" while playing in Melbourne.

"After I finished the Australian Open, two days ago I had to go in and have hip surgery on my right hip," said Hewitt, who turns 29 on Feb. 24. "At least I gave 100 percent and tried to block it out as much as possible."

No Australian man has won the Australian Open since Mark Edmondson in 1976.

"I'll be back, ready for the French Open," said Hewitt, who is focussing primarily on the Grand Slam events.

Hewitt said he took comfort from the comebacks of Belgian women Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, who took time off from tennis and returned to immediate success.

"I thought maybe, if I retire now and come back ... you know, Kim and Justine do that, then come back and win slams," he said, smiling. "Could have been an omen for me."