Hewitt returning to play doubles with Groth at Australian Open

Lleyton Hewitt is coming out of retirement to play doubles at the upcoming Australian Open, it was announced on Thursday. Hewitt is teaming up with fellow Aussie Sam Groth, who is preparing for his own retirement at the conclusion of 2018’s first Grand Slam.

The 36-year-old last played in 2016, when he retired from singles following the Australian Open but suited up for doubles action in Davis Cup and at Wimbledon. Hewitt lost a five-set rubber with John Peers against Bob and Mike Bryan, won his Wimbledon opener 19-17 in the third set with Jordan Thompson, and then lost to defending champions Jack Sock and Vasek Pospisil. The former world No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam singles champion has not played since, although he is still active in tennis as Australia’s Davis Cup captain and part-time coach of various Aussie competitors.

“It’s going to be a bit of fun–that’s what the Australian Open is about,” Hewitt explained. “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 making up the numbers. We want to give it a fair crack.”

“It’s something Lleyton and I have talked about and it’s perfect for me,” Groth noted. “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.”Sam Groth
It should be noted that Hewitt has not officially submitted retirement papers to the International Tennis Federation, which is why he will be allowed to play in Melbourne.

In 2014, Andy Roddick asked for a wild card into the U.S. Open to play doubles with fellow American Mardy Fish. Roddick, however, officially retired in 2012 and was therefore not allowed to play on short notice. The 2003 U.S. Open singles champion, who asked for the wild card a month in advance, was not in the ITF’s drug-testing program three months prior to playing–as is necessary.

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