ADELAIDE teenager Lleyton Hewitt yesterday lifted Australia into the Davis Cup final with an outstanding victory over world NO.2 Yevgeny kafelnikov - and then farewelled the grumpy with a searing verbal volley.
Having guided Australia into the December 3-5 final against France, Hewitt celebrated a superb 6-4 7-5 6-2 victory by giving disrespectful Kafelnikov a fearful off-court lashing.
"He's been a big mouth all week and it's all come back in his face," grinned Hewitt, thumbing open his wallet and fishing out a pair of $5o notes.
"He said he was going to give me a lesson and that i would learn the hard way.
"I was wondering how much I owe him? I didn't learn anything from him out there.
"His lesson is that he shouldn't open his mouth unless he is prepared to give credit to people.
"It's nice to beat a guy who's been mouthing off all week."
Wayne Arthurs then poured more salt on kafelnikov's wounds with a 6-3 6-2 win over Marat Safin, providing Australia with a 4-1 result - a margin with contasted starkly with kafelnikov's prediction of a 3-1 Russian win.
Australian Open champion and French open winner Kafelnikov stalked out of the ANZ stadium with the jeers of 11,000 crowd ringing in his ears after describing the match court as a potato fieldand refusing to credit either 18-year-old Hewitt or debutant Wayne Arthurs.
He was at his surly worst again yesterday, somehow to label the remarkable Hewitt as unimpressive.
Asked whether Hewitt deserved praise for his victory, Kafelnikov said: "not at all.
He is young and very enthusiastic but his game doesn't impress me, not at all.
" He doesn't create much specifically and he doesn't have a big game - it's very mediocre.
"One good thing he does have is a fighting spirit but at the very high level, in the grand slams, that is not enough.
" He just had a good day today."
Told of kafelnikov's comments Hewitt through his head back in astonishment. The skinny baseliner gave Kafelnikov a dismissive hand shake at the end of the match, and a gentle shove, after winning 11 of the final 13 games putting Australia into their 44th final.
"Basically I didn't really want to give him the time of day, to tell you the truth" said Hewitt, who has a 4-0 Cup record after debuting against the US in Boston in July.
" He can go off this week and play the Grand Slam cup, I don't care - it's just unbelievable feeling help Australia win the semi-final and get us into the final.
"Kafelnikov was saying all week he was going to come out and destroy us and he's ended up losing both his matches, Wayne and me.
"For him not to give any credit to Wayne, who played a unbelievable match, is rubbish.
"Wayne and I put a lot of work into our games and it's paid off."
Hewitt's win pushed Australia to an unassailable 3-1 margin after Kafelnikov and Andrei Olhovskiy had kept Russian hopes alive with a a five set doubles victory over Sandon Stolle and Mark Woodforde on Saturday.
Former worl NO.1 Kafelnikov boasted he would give Hewitt a tennis lesson in a blatant attempt to unsetlle the nerveless South Australian.
His Gamble Backfired.
Hewitt rushed through the first set but then stumbled to 2-5 in the second before Newcombe intervened with some timely advice."Newk said that whatever I was feeling at that stage Kafelnikov would be feeling it more," Hewitt said.
"I just hung in and things turned around."
Leaping widely in the air in clinching victory , Hewitt vaulted into Newcombes arms before being hugged by his team mantes, including sidelinded dual US open champion Rafter.
In chaotic emotion charged scenes, Hewitt then led the Australian squad and support staff in a celebratory lap of honour - just five months after being the orange boy during the first round win over Zimbabwe in Harare.
"It's incredible," said the 31st-ranked right hander, who has been predicted by John McEnroe to reach the top 10 by the end of next season.
He now boasts wins over Andre Agassi, Kafelnikov, Cedric Pioline, Todd Martin and Mark Philippoussis.
Arthurs who surpassed even his own expectations with two victories and might never play again play for Australia if Rafter and Philippoussis are available, crownded a wonderful weekend with a effortless win in the dead rubber against Saffin.