The 34-year-old veteran Aussie superstar Lleyton Hewitt has already declared that this will be his final Australian Open. Emotions are flurrying in for the local superstar, prayers prayed so that he can win his last Aus Open. Or at least, have high hopes that he doesn’t exit early.
Well, the concerning news is, he is facing world number 8, David Ferrer in the second round. With his form currently wagging up and down, it is quite hard to predict how far he will reach this year’s first Grand Slam. Hewitt had an engaging 2015. He started off the season as the defending champion of Brisbane International, but failed to proceed further into round 2. He lost to his fellow countryman, Sam Groth, in straight sets that took only 58 minutes to finish. A bad way to start the year! This defeat dropped him from number 50 to number 84.
He appeared in his 19th Australian Open next. He lost in the second round to Benjamin Becker in five sets. The next few tournaments saw him exiting in the first rounds, eventually making him enter the tournaments as a wild card. He skipped the entire clay court season only to focus more and practice harder for the grass court.
He was, yet again, unsuccessful in Wimbledon. Despite being just 33 years old back then, he played one of his best matches ever. His opponent, Jarkko Nieminen, and the rest of the audience gave Hewitt a standing ovation. The former number 1 saved 3 match points before losing out in 6-3 3-6 6-4 0-6 9-11.
Hewitt went on to play the Davis Cup quarterfinals doubles rubbers, and partnered with Sam Groth. The pair put Australia through to the semifinals, but lost to the British Murray brothers in a very difficult match.
In January 2015, The Guardian reported that Hewitt announced his retirement from professional tennis in 2016. He will play his 20th Australian Open Grand Slam this year, the Hopman Cup, and the exhibition World Tennis Challenge. He wants to captain the Australian Davis Cup team after Pat Rafter retires.
The journey so far…
Lleyton Hewitt began his career as a professional tennis player in 1998. He quickly rose to fame in 2000 when he first won the US Open doubles championship, partnering with Max Mirnyi. He became the youngest player to win a double’s title in the open era. He also became the first teenager in ATP history to play the ATP World Tour Finals.
2001 was the best year in his career. His streaks started off by winning Medibank International in Sydney. He went on to conquer his first ever Grand Slam singles title at the US Open, won the Tokyo Open, and ended the year by winning the ATP World Tour Finals. All these victories lifted him to secure the top spot in the ranking.
His success continued in 2002. That year saw him win the Wimbledon singles crown. His rank and winning period confirmed him to play the year end World Tour Finals. Yet again, he was successful in defending his crown, and concluded as the world number 1 for a second consecutive year.
The next few years saw him play some of the finest tennis in the world. He had constant rivalry with Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. They all defeated/re-defeated each other for a huge number of times. His playing rhythm fell once he started to suffer from injuries.
In 2008, he had a hip surgery that terminated him from playing further. With the form balancing on both sides, Hewitt started to lose out. And now that he is playing his last Grand Slam, we just hope he gets to finish it off in Hewitt-style!
In honor of one of the greatest tennis players in this open era, here is a video that summarizes his greatest moments in the history of tennis.