A fired-up Lleyton Hewitt on Sunday warned his Australian Open first round opponent Janko Tipsarevic that he plans to “knock him off” after showing vintage form to win the Kooyong Classic.

Veteran Hewitt, 31, is bursting with confidence after demolishing Juan Martin Del Potro in the final of the warm-up tournament 6-1, 6-4 on Saturday, his third victory over top-15 opposition in the past week.

World No.9 Tipsarevic is next in the Australian’s line of fire, at a Grand Slam he is playing for a record 17th consecutive time, three more than closest challenger Roger Federer. “... I’ll knock him off, try to take his spot in the draw,” said Hewitt. “I look forward to the challenge... I feel confident with where my game is at the moment…”

Reaching the 55 slams landmark

Hewitt’s longevity on the tour is matched only by Federer, who is also 31. They have both played in 55 Grand Slams, more than any other current player, although still well short of Fabrice Santoro’s 70. “I’ve missed a lot more Slams than Rog, too... ” he said. “I’ve had a few more injuries than Rog and had to come back from a few surgeries, which is pretty tough… ”AFP