It’s been known for some time that Rasheed was distressed by Hewitt’s temper. This came to a head on Thursday night when Hewitt hurled verbal assaults and glared directly at Rasheed during the Aussie’s upset by Igor Kunitsyn at Adelaide.
Apparently Rasheed and Hewitt then got into an argument about Hewitt’s on-court activities in the locker room after the match. Rasheed is said to have then talked to several trusted friends before driving to Hewitt’s home and tendered his resignation.
Rasheed would not confirm to reporters last night that his resignation had been prompted by verbal abuse from Hewitt. It is, however, fairly widely known that it has been a problem with the two in the past and that Rasheed has raised the matter with Hewitt in the off-season, stressing that he needed to cool his temper and stay focused during matches.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Rasheed released a statement through his sister Hitaf, saying that he had given Hewitt written notice yesterday of his decision to terminate his contract. Hewitt was said to have been completely stunned by Rasheed’s decision to quit, though it seems that little effort was made to convince him to stay on.
Rasheed’s resignation follows several recent major shake ups in the Hewitt camp. Hewitt dropped management company Octagon after eight years, before hiring and then subsequently firing Rob Aivatoglou. He is now managed by another former Octagon staffer, Justin Cohen.
Aivatoglou had previously worked as Hewitt’s Australian manager through Octagon, and developed a close relationship with Lleyton, before leaving to join Cricket Australia as Commercial Affairs Manager. He later rejoined the Hewitt’s and established Lleyton Hewitt Marketing and the company’s new headquarters in South Yarra.
Hewitt and golfer Greg Norman have also developed a close friendship in recent years, and Hewitt’s business is based on the model of Norman’s Great White Shark Enterprises, which earns a paltry $200 million a year in revenue. The company’s event marketing and sports management deals will be his central focus after Hewitt’s retirement from tennis, and has recently been used to secure a few deals for his wife.
Hewitt’s father Glynn, for a long time the central controlling influence in Lleyton’s affairs and a director of Lleyton Hewitt Marketing, temporarily took on management duties for his son after the axing of Aivatoglou. Justin Cohen was then poached from Octagon to take on the management for both Hewitt and wife Bec Cartwright in early November, though whispers are that Hewitt Sr. still runs the show.
For the time being, Rasheed’s resignation leaves Hewitt without a coach for the Australian Open. Rumors are swirling that Australian Davis Cup legend Wally Masur, head coach of the National High Performance Academy in Sydney, will join Team Hewitt.
Under Rasheed, Hewitt reached two grand slam finals and won six ATP titles.
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