Hewitt targets 2016 Australian Open for retirement

Speculation regarding Lleyton Hewitt’s retirement date has been raging for more than a year. Hewitt finally set a projected date, which he announced on Thursday at Melbourne Park. The target? Not too surprisingly, the 2016 Australian Open.

There had been murmurs circulating that Hewitt would call it quits sometime in 2015 after a possible Davis Cup exit (or title) for Australia. The 33-year-old, however, plans to stick it out for the duration of this season, as long he stays mostly injury-free.

If Hewitt does successfully make it back to Melbourne, the event 12 months from now would be his 20th Aussie Open.

“I’ve thought long and hard,” the former world No. 1 explained. “I plan to play the Aussie Open next year and most likely finish then.

“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.”

Next up for Hewitt, who lost in this Australian Open’s second round to Benjamin Becker, is a Davis Cup tie against the Czech Republic. Patrick Rafter has stepped down as captain, leaving Wally Masur as the interim with an understanding that Hewitt will eventually take over.

“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.”

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