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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday July 16, 2022

 
Lleyton Hewitt

Competitive, fiery - and a Hall of Famer. Lleyton Hewitt gets inducted at Newport.

Photo Source: AFZ

Lleyton Hewitt notched myriad legendary achievements during his tennis career. Over 600 ATP wins, 30 ATP titles, two major singles titles and to this day he is still the youngest No.1 in men’s tennis history.

Tennis Express

But all of that paled in comparison to winning the Davis Cup for Australia, which Hewitt did twice, and joining the ranks of some of the greatest legends in Aussie tennis history. There is Laver, Rosewall, Rafter, Hopman, Newcombe, Roche… and Hewitt, who just so happens to be the current captain and the keeper of the gate for Aussie tennis.

Davis Cup and playing for love of country was front and center as the Aussie became the 267th member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday in Newport.

“There was something special about that competition for me,” Hewitt said on Saturday, at his induction speech. “Tennis is such an individual sport for so many months of the year. And I think that’s why Davis Cup was so important to me. It was my way of playing AFL football but in the sport of tennis, standing side by side with your teammates, your captain, your coach, and knowing that you’re going into battle for something more important than just yourself.”

When we talk of Hewitt, we must focus on the pride, the professionalism and the grit. And the way he has embraced the Aussie heritage as one of its biggest stars.

“The number 89 would forever be a meaningful number for me,” he said. “I was the 89th player to represent Australia and the Davis Cup after being handed my gold jacket.

“This was an incredible honor. But more importantly, I knew the responsibility I had by being given this chance. I was fortunate to be playing for a country that had such a rich history in tennis and the Davis Cup competition and had so many past greats that I could look up to.

"I had some of my proudest moments and best moments in the sport of Davis Cup, but also some of my toughest losses.”


To celebrate Hewitt’s legacy is to celebrate the fighting spirit and fire that characterizes the greatest pugilists in the history of our sport. He was a player who made the hair on the backs of our necks stand up.

He wasn’t blessed with the size or the athleticism of others, but what he lacked in that department he made up for with cunning, courtcraft and a relentless battle lust, and this is why he was so highly regarded by both his peers and fans of the sport.

When we see someone willing to lay it all on the line every single time he or she takes the court, we are reminded of that special, intangible quality that brings the sport to life. The fever. The fight. The intensity that lends credence to the beautiful game, and elevates it out of the realm of recreation and into the genre of life’s work.

Hewitt embodied that to a tee.

There were and there are lessons to take from Hewitt, no matter you’re profession. Take it seriously. Maximize your talents. Honor those that have gone before you and – most important – respect the sport.

Lleyton Hewitt did all of that and more, and it was thrilling to see him receive the sports’ highest honor on Saturday.

May we all give what Rusty gave, and be so unbridled in our passion.

 

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