Rib injury forces Hewitt out of the French Open

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The Independent Online

Lleyton Hewitt has confirmed that he will not be taking part in the French Open which starts a week on Monday. The former world No 1 has failed to recover from a rib injury he sustained at home in Sydney last week.

Lleyton Hewitt has confirmed that he will not be taking part in the French Open which starts a week on Monday. The former world No 1 has failed to recover from a rib injury he sustained at home in Sydney last week.

"I have decided to take my doctor's advice and not play next week as returning too early runs the risk of prolonging my recovery period," the Australian said. "It's obviously disappointing but I am taking a longer-term approach."

Hewitt, who has never won a French Open title, said he is determined to return to fitness in time for Wimbledon, as well as his country's Davis Cup quarter-final against Argentina in Sydney in July.

The former Wimbledon champion Mark Philippoussis will launch his comeback at the Stella Artois Championships at Queen's Club, London, next month after receiving a wild card into the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event.

The Australian, who won the Wimbledon title in 1997, rejected a wild card opportunity for the French Open and clearly sees the grass courts of the British summer season as his potential salvation as he attempts to claw his way back from relative obscurity.

After reaching the final at Wimbledon two years ago, the 28-year-old has won just two Tour-level matches since his fourth-round defeat by Tim Henman at Wimbledon last year. Hepulled out of the Australian Open at the start of this year with a torn muscle.

His ranking has slumped from a high of world No 8 to No 185 and he is in desperate need of some victories to shore up his position.

On the women's side, Daniela Hantuchova has confirmed that she will return to Eastbourne for next month's Hastings Direct International Championships. The 22-year-old Slovakian, who lost to the current US Open champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova, in last year's final, has climbed from 31st to 23rd in the world this year. Also entered in the event are Justine Henin-Hardenne, Amélie Mauresmo and the returning champion, Kuznetsova, with the event taking place in the week before Wimbledon, from 11 to 18 June.

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