Lleyton Hewitt says next Australian Open likely his last
MELBOURNE — Lleyton Hewitt plans to have one more shot at his home Grand Slam, the Australian Open, next year before likely retiring and taking over as the country’s Davis Cup captaincy.
Hewitt, who turns 34 next month, was knocked out in the second round of this year’s Australian Open, his 19th, by Benjamin Becker.
The two-time major winner and former world No. 1 said Thursday at Melbourne Park that he will play sparingly in 2015, with his focus on Wimbledon and the Davis Cup. He said he will “most likely” skip the French Open.
“Obviously, for me, the Davis Cup is something we’ve worked extremely hard to put ourselves in a position in the World Group where we have a genuine shot,” Hewitt said, adding that it would “obviously be special” to finish his playing career after his 20th Australian Open.
Australia, which won its last Davis Cup in 2003, opens its 2015 campaign with an away match against Czech Republic in March.
After struggling with injuries in recent years, Hewitt said he’s feeling fit and believes he can have a strong season.
“I think I trained harder probably than anyone in the off-season,” he said. “The body feels great at the moment. That’s the only reason why I want to keep playing.”
Current Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter is stepping down to become Tennis Australia’s new director of performance. Former Australian player Wally Masur will take over as interim captain until Hewitt is ready to assume the role when he’s done playing.
Hewitt has been Australia’s most committed Davis Cup player, leading all Australians in most wins (56), ties played (38) and years played (16).