During the WTA semi-finals on Thursday afternoon in Melbourne, Lleyton Hewitt announced that he would officially retire following the 2016 Australian Open.
The 33-year-old plans to play his 20th Grand Slam appearance in Melbourne, and retire afterwards no matter the result.
“I plan to play the Aussie Open next year and most likely finish then,” he said. “Personally, I’ll be looking towards the grass court season and most likely finishing here in Melbourne, which for me would obviously be special to play 20 Australian Opens.”
The two-time Grand Slam champion explained that his decision has nothing to do with his physical condition, as that is the only reason he remains active on the tour.
“My body’s fine,” he said with confidence. “I think I trained harder probably than anyone in the off-season. I had probably the longest pre-season ever, probably three months. The body feels great at the moment. That’s the only reason why I want to keep playing.
Once Hewitt’s announcement was complete, Pat Rafter took to the stage to reveal that he was stepping down from his position as Davis Cup captain. Wally Masur is expected to take over as interim captain before offering the role to Hewitt when he is eventually ready.
“Lleyton has an undeniable link with Davis Cup, and he will be captain one day,” Masur said. “It’s not in the model in Australian tennis to have a playing captain as such. I spoke to Lleyton a few days ago about it, and we’ve come to the arrangement that he’s still a player, he still has a career to flesh out and see where that ends. Until that happens, I’ll be captain.”
Hewitt was obviously excited about this prospect
“I’m excited about the prospect obviously of still being able to play Davis Cup. I’ve been waiting a while for these young guys to come and for us to have an opportunity of going deep.”