SYDNEY -- Lleyton Hewitt is still hoping to play at the French Open this month despite breaking a rib in a fall, his manager said on Wednesday.
The Australian, who is ranked No. 2, was recovering from surgery on his right toe when he suffered the injury in a freak accident at his beachside Sydney home on Monday.
His coach Roger Rasheed told Australian media the injury
threatened to force his withdrawal from Roland Garros, but
Hewitt's management later released a statement saying all was
not lost for the event starting on May 23.
"At this stage, it is Lleyton's hope and intention to
compete at the French Open," Rob Aivatoglou said.
"But this will depend on the advice he receives from
doctors in the next couple of days."
Aivatoglou confirmed that Hewitt had suffered a hairline
fracture in one of his ribs and had pulled out of the World
Team Cup in Germany as a precaution.
"He is currently waiting on advice from doctors about the
best course of action to allow the rib to heal as soon as
possible," Aivatoglou said.
"No further comment will be made until this advice is
Hewitt's absence would be a further blow to Australia's
chances of winning on the red clay of Paris.
The country's highest ranked female, Alicia Molik, has
already pulled out because of injury, and former Wimbledon
finalist Mark Philippoussis turned down the offer of a
The 24-year-old Hewitt has not played since injuring his
toe after losing to Roger Federer in the final at Indian Wells
in March and could lose his No. 2 ranking to Andy Roddick if he fails to compete in Paris.
The Australian Open finalist lost valuable ranking points
when he withdrew from Masters tournaments in Rome, Monte Carlo, Miami and Hamburg but was planning to make his comeback next week.
The news of his latest injury comes less than a week after
Hewitt and his actress fiancee, Bec Cartwright, announced they
were expecting their first child later this year.
Hewitt proposed to Cartwright on the same night he lost the
Australian Open final after a whirlwind romance. He was
previously engaged to Belgian tennis player Kim Clijsters.