January 21, 2007 / 10:28 AM / 12 years ago

Clijsters says Hewitt can win Open without coach

Australia's Lleyton Hewitt leaves the court after he was defeating by Argentine Jose Acasuso in their Davis Cup semi-final tennis match at the Parque Roca stadium in Buenos Aires September 23, 2006. Kim Clijsters, who was engaged to marry Hewitt before they called off the wedding in 2004, said the fiesty Australian was unlikely to be fazed by losing his coach and that he only needed a bit of luck to mount a serious challenge at the Australian Open. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Kim Clijsters has provided some words of comfort to her former fiance Lleyton Hewitt after he was dumped by his coach Roger Rasheed.

Clijsters, who was engaged to marry Hewitt before they called off the wedding in 2004, said the fiesty Australian was unlikely to be fazed by losing his coach and that he only needed a bit of luck to mount a serious challenge at the Australian Open.

“There’s no doubt in my mind if everything goes well and if he stops having the injuries .... he’s capable of doing very good things,” the Belgian told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

“I think he’s still going to have a good Australian Open.”

Clijsters, who does not have a full-time coach, said not having a coach may even help Hewitt.

“Not having a coach in a way makes me a lot more disciplined, to be more disciplined for my sport,” she said.

Clijsters began her final year on the professional tour by beating Maria Sharapova to win the Champions Challenge in Hong Kong on Saturday and is seeded third for next week’s Sydney International, the last major warm-up event before the Australian Open.

Hewitt was also due to play in Sydney but pulled out of the event citing a calf injury, just hours after Rasheed released a statement saying he could no longer work with the former world number one.

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