P1010841Lleyton Hewitt lost today to Martin Alund in Houston. Ranked in the 80s, Hewitt, now 32, is a shell of his once great self. I'm gonna catch some flak for this but I think Hewitt, at his best, his feistiest, most fired up and tenacious, could put a beating on anyone from tennis history...Federer, Nadal and Djokovic included. Heck, we saw what Hewitt did to Pete Sampras in that U.S. Open final of 2001. Hewitt slammed Poor Pete to the tune of 76 61 61. And it wasn't like Pete was tired from a long semi - he bested Safin, the defending champ, in straight sets. In his semi, Hewitt blasted Kafelnikov 1-2-1. Hewitt could do that. He could just annihilate quality players like a mini steamroller, even in the business end of major tournaments, which is quite rare. Can you remember Federer or Nadal just blowing through major semis and finals like Hewitt? I vividly remember how tough Hewitt was, as his dominance happened when I first got serious about playing competitive tennis. Eyes bulging, neck veigns popping, fixing that necklace, fidgeting with his strings, those smirky facial expressions, which delivered messages of intimidation and even subtle taunting at times. No one could match Hewitt's intensity. Remember the time he broke Alex Corretja in the first game of an indoor match and shouted a Come Awwwn! which really iritated the cool Spaniard. But that was how extraordinarily intense Hewitt was, it was far beyond the typical levels.Another time Hewitt was en route to putting a triple bagel on Corretja at the Australian Open and he almost got it too.Hewitt was quicker than a cat, about as consistent as anyone in history, very solid volleys and an underrated serve. I loved that running backhand slice he could drop down the line for passing shot winners. His backhand could pass with ease either up the line or cross court. Hewitt made it look easy. But best of all he had a fighting spirit second to none. Like a professional boxing friend of mine said with a hint of respect and also annoyance, "He looks like he wants to fight (the opponent)."Man, could he fight on the court. Outsized or outmanned, it didn't matter, Hewitt fought and fought until the bitter end. He's won over 570 matches since turning pro in 1998. He's won 28 career singles titles, the first being Adelaide as a precocious sixteen-year-old ranked 550 in the world.Hewitt could do amazing things on the court, like come back from two sets down and two points away from death against Federer in Davis Cup. Like beating a prime Gustavo Kuerten on clay in Davis Cup in Brazil. Like manhandling a guy named Pete Sampras in a major final.No one played with more passion, more guts, more desire, more intensity than Lleyton Hewitt, ranked #1 in 2001 and 2002. Just 5-11, 160 pounds, Hewitt could very well be pound for pound the greatest player in tennis history. He had exactly the qualities to overcome prime Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. Yes he could.There. I just put the chip on Hewitt's shoulder. I dare ya to knock it off.