Stoltenberg departs Hewitt camp

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The Independent Online

As Lleyton Hewitt prepares to defend his Wimbledon title, his coach Jason Stoltenberg has quit to return to Melbourne to spend more time with his wife and two children, according to reports in Australia.

"For me it's time to move on," Stoltenberg was quoted as saying. "I believe Lleyton is poised to defend his Wimbledon title, which I know he holds so dear. It's been a pleasure and honour to have worked with Lleyton for the past 18 months."

Stoltenberg replaced Darren Cahill after the Australian became the youngest year-end No 1 in tennis's professional era in November 2001. Roger Lasheed, a former touring professional who has known Hewitt since he was a young teenager, will take over from Stoltenberg.

"Jason's been great for my game and I understand the reasons why he has taken this decision," Hewitt said. "It's a lifestyle decision and I respect that. He's been honest about it and, with him working closely with Roger since December, I don't see that there will be a problem."

Hewitt lost in five sets to Tommy Robredo in the third round of the French Open last week but remained in Paris to support his girlfriend Kim Clijsters, who lost the women's final to fellow Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne on Saturday.

Hewitt, 22, will be aiming for his fourth consecutive title at the Wimbledon tune-up event, the Stella Artois Championships at Queen's Club, London, this week, while Tim Henman will have to overcome a troublesome shoulder and Hewitt if he is to secure a fourth final appearance.

Henman has fallen in the final to Hewitt the last two years but there can be no repeat this time as Henman, seeded seven, would meet him in the semi-finals. Henman, who reignited his season with wins over Vladimir Voltchkov and Todd Martin at last week's French Open, is scheduled to face his first seeded test against the Belarussian Max Mirnyi in the last 16.

Greg Rusedski reached the quarter-finals at Surbiton last week and hopes to continue his injury-free form through a tough opener with the American youngster Bobby Ginepri. But the highlight of one of the toughest Stella draws for years is a first-round battle between the big servers, Mark Philippoussis and Richard Krajicek.

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