Australian tennis star and two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt ends his professional tennis career with a loss in the second round of Australian Open against David Ferrer.
The youngest ever male to be ranked No. 1 in the world in singles, at the age of 20, Hewitt’s net worth comes through his career earnings that tally as much over $20 million in 2015, reports Statista, a comprehensive source for the Wall Street Journal.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) January 21, 2016
After 20 years and 878 matches, the professional tennis career for the Australian come to an end after the Spanish party popper Ferrer ended the second round with a 6-2, 6-4, and 6-4 easy win over wounded Australian legend Lleyton Hewitt.
Countless luminaries, sports stars, and celebrities were part of the game, including the Rafters, Pat, and wife Lara. Mick Fanning was among others and paid a tribute to Hewitt in style.
The 34-year-old hinted clearly about his retirement previously and brought an end to his iconic career that included two Grand Slam titles, the U.S. Open in 2001, and Wimbledon in 2002.
Hewitt, who won 30 singles tour titles, helped his home country win the Davis Cup twice, in 1999 and 2003. Hewitt also won 30 singles tour titles and helped Australia to claim the Davis Cup title twice in 1999 and 2003.
Hewitt told the home fans that it had been a great way to go out in an interview on court after his defeat.
“It’s a weird emotion, I don’t think it’ll fully settle in until a couple of days time,” Hewitt said.
“It was obviously in the back of my mind coming into every match this week but I’ve had a fantastic last month playing in what feels like every major city in this great country.”
“I feel honored to have the support and love from this crowd, it means so much to me. I’ve had such great success on this court and I feel fortunate to finish here,” he added.
“I left nothing in the locker room. My whole career I’ve given 100%,” said the 34-year-old Australian, reports BBC News. “I love coming out here and competing. I’ve been so fortunate to have that opportunity 20 years in a row.”
Ferrer, who denied Hewitt of a place in the third round, will meet American Steve Johnson.
When asked about Hewitt, he said, “It’s a sad day because Lleyton is finishing his career. He’s an amazing player. It’s a pleasure to play against him in his last match. Hewitt is such a fighter until the last ball. He deserves all the tributes – he is one of the best players in history.”
He continued, “I never had idols but he is one for me. I have a T-shirt signed by him from seven years ago. I have a museum in my house and that is in it – it’s the only T-shirt of a tennis player I have.”
Hewitt’s one-on-one against the world No. 8 had been tight in all three previous meetings with the Spaniard edging past the Australian on two occasions: in four sets at the 2012 U.S. Open and in a five-set thriller at Roland Garros in 2008.
“It’s going to be tough, I know that,” Hewitt said before the match. “But I feel like I’m hitting the ball well enough to go out there and give him a good run.”
Despite ending his career, Hewitt still needs to play one match more before captaining the Australian Davis Cup team.
Hewitt said, “Playing for Australia has always been my biggest honour. 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.”
Some of the biggest names in the game of tennis, including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Nick Kyrgios paid tribute to the Hewitt, which was shown in a video after the match.
— Australian Open (@AustralianOpen) January 21, 2016
“Thank you for everything you have done for tennis. I’ve loved every moment. I’ve enjoyed listening to you as a commentator as well, and I wish you all the best now with your family,” said Roger Federer.
“I have always had something special with you. You are a big inspiration of my tennis and my mentality. I think your love and passion for this sport is a great inspiration for the next generation too. Thank you very much,” said another Spaniard, Rafael Nadal.
“You were an idol of mine when I was growing up and you’ve always been so nice to me and helpful on tour and I really appreciate that. Enjoy your retirement, it is well deserved. Good luck mate,” said Scottish tennis player and the current World No. 2 Andy Murray.
“You’ve taught all us young kids a lot so hopefully you’ll still be hanging around. I just want to repeat what I’ve been saying to you: Don’t go mate, you’re playing such a high level of tennis, you’re definitely still the best player in Australian tennis,” added Nick Kyrgios.
It did not stop there. Fans from all around the world, celebrities, and other sportsperson expressed their praise for Hewitt on Twitter before, during and after the match.
— Sabine Lisicki (@sabinelisicki) January 21, 2016
lleyton hewitt is actually the man— Michael Clifford (@Michael5SOS) January 20, 2016
Time waits for no man but jeez has anyone emptied themselves out as often as this bloke? That's integrity. Bravo Lleyton #respect— Nathan Buckley (@ncb_cfc) January 21, 2016
Lleyton Hewitt has ended his career with a loss, but the response delivered by people from all over the world will mark his legacy for a lot longer.
[Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images]