You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Lleyton Hewitt retires in Australian Open farewell campaign with straight-sets loss to David Ferrer

ABC Grandstand logoABC Grandstand 21/01/2016
Lleyton Hewitt went down fighting against Spanish conqueror David Ferrer. © AFP Photo/Saeed Khan Lleyton Hewitt went down fighting against Spanish conqueror David Ferrer.

Lleyton Hewitt has farewelled professional tennis, ending his illustrious career with a straight-sets defeat to David Ferrer in the Australian Open second round on Thursday night.

The former world number one and two-time major champion yet again displayed his trademark fighting abilities on Rod Laver Arena, but the eighth-seeded Ferrer answered the challenge to win 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

The loss ends Hewitt's 18-year professional career and fittingly his final match was played at the Australian Open, where he first announced himself when he qualified for the main draw as a 15-year-old in 1997.

"I gave everything I have, like always, and left nothing in the locker room and that is something I can always be proud of," Hewitt said in a courtside interview.

"My whole career I have given 100 per cent. I love coming out here and competing. It is never hard to come out here and play in front of such great spectators.

"It is always like a second home for me at Rod Laver Arena. I am fortunate to keep having this opportunity 20 years in In a row."

Hewitt says it is hard to describe his feelings knowing his career is now over.

"It's a weird emotion. I don't think it will fully set in until maybe in a couple of days' time," he said.

"As I've always said I'm such a competitor. I try to push myself all the time to get the most out of myself. Obviously it was in the back of my mind coming into every match this week. I have had a fantastic last month.

"It feels like I've played in nearly every major city in this great country. The crowds have been fantastic, second to none right across the board and I feel honoured to have this support and this love from this crowd - these crowds - it means so much to me."

Lleyton Hewitt greets centre court of the Australian Open for the final time as a singles player. © Cameron Spencer/Getty Images Lleyton Hewitt greets centre court of the Australian Open for the final time as a singles player. Hewitt won 30 career singles titles, including the 2001 US Open and 2002 Wimbledon crown and twice claimed the ATP's season-ending tournament (2001, 2002).

He was the youngest men's world number one ever when he achieved the ranking aged just 20 and spent a total of 80 weeks in the coveted position.

The 34-year-old Hewitt will now move into the role of Australia's Davis Cup captain, having won the prestigious team's tournament twice as a player in 1999 and 2003.

"Playing for Australia has always been my biggest honour," Hewitt said.

"Getting the number 89 gold jacket off John Newcombe and Tony Roche when they picked me to play Davis Cup was one of the great days of my life. I feel fortunate.

"I have so much success on this court and big matches I feel fortunate to finish here."

More From ABC Grandstand

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon