Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt is to come out of retirement temporarily and play doubles with compatriot Sam Groth at next month’s Australian Open.
Hewitt, a US Open and Wimbledon singles champion, officially retired from top-level tennis after his home grand slam in 2016, where he also played doubles with Groth.
He did, however, play doubles during the Davis Cup and Wimbledon last year. “It’s going to be a bit of fun. That’s what the Australian Open is about,” Hewitt told News Corp Australia.
“I’m going to really enjoy it. We’ve been hitting a lot of balls, hitting every day, and we’re not just going out there to make up the numbers.
“We want to give it a fair crack.”
Hewitt and Groth have played doubles together previously at grand slams and in the Davis Cup, including an epic five-set defeat to Andy and Jamie Murray two years ago.
Groth, who is retiring after the season-opening Grand Slam and is hoping for a wildcard for the singles draw, will also play mixed doubles with Samantha Stosur.
“It’s something Lleyton and I have talked about and it’s perfect for me,” Groth said. “I was there when Rusty retired in 2016 and it’s great that he’ll be there with me when I bow out. “He’s not just someone I know through tennis, he’s a great mate.”
Hewitt’s return means he will have missed just one Australian Open in 22 tournaments, having made his debut in 1997 aged just 15. And given he has found quitting tennis an almost impossible task, it would be no surprise if he made another comeback in 2019.
The Australian Open, which is the first grand slam of the year, gets under way in Melbourne on January 15. -Reuters
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