For the first time in its nearly century-and-a-half history, Wimbledon was cancelled for a reason other than war as it became the latest major sporting event in 2020 to fall victim of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lleyton Hewitt has announced he will retire from professional tennis after the 2016 edition of the Australian Open.
Hewitt made the announcement today, and will take over as Australia’s Davis Cup captain after he steps down from the professional stage.
The 2016 Australian Open will be his 20th straight appearance at Melbourne Park, a remarkable achievement.
Hewitt also indicated he would not play a full-time load in 2015, and will likely skip the 2015 French Open.
In further developments around the Davis Cup captaincy, current captain Pat Rafter has stepped down with Hewitt anointed as his long-term successor.
With Hewitt set to play out the rest of 2015 and early 2016, Wally Masur will officially captain Australia on an interim basis in the upcoming tie against the Czech Republic.
Rafter said Hewitt will “fill the spot when the time is ready”. The time he is ready, it appears, is straight after the 2016 Australian Open.
Hewitt plans to keep playing on sparingly in 2015, focusing on the Cup and Wimbledon, with next year’s Australian Open shaping as his likely swansong.
The 33-year-old father of three said finishing his career at Melbourne Park in a record 20th straight Open would be the perfect way to bow out.
“I’ve thought long and hard. I plan to play the Aussie Open next year and most likely finish then. 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. I believe with the guys now we have a lot more options, a lot more depth,” Hewitt said.
“I feel like I can still put my hand up as a player and help the boys get over the line. Whether that’s singles, doubles, whatever is needed. Right at the moment that’s the main focus for us.
“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.”
“My body is fine,” he said.
“I think I train harder than anyone else in the off-season.”
Hewitt has long been groomed for the Davis Cup role and doubles great and former teammate Todd Woodbridge last week told AAP the dual grand slam champion would be perfect for the job.
“It’s a great result,” Woodbridge said.
“You’ve got no one more passionate about it, no one with more experience.”
Masur said it was an honour to take over the captaincy – even on an interim basis.
“I feel like we’ve got a chance to win the whole thing (this year),” he said.