Hewitt'd welcome back Sydney International

Four-time champion Lleyton Hewitt would welcome the return of the storied Sydney International as officials mull over the future format of the Australian summer of tennis.

COVID-19 has caused havoc to the annual program of events, with the ATP Cup lasting only three years and the Sydney International and hugely-popular Brisbane International also victims of the pandemic.

Formerly known as the NSW Open and established in 1885, the Sydney International was the second-oldest running tennis tournament in the world and boasted an honour roll to rival even Wimbledon.

From war-time champions like John Bromwich and Adrian Quist to 1950s and 60s legends Frank Sedgman, Lew Hoad and Ken Rosewall to modern-day greats including Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, the winners' board at Sydney Olympic Park is a who's who of tennis.

The list of women's champions is equally star-studded, featuring the likes of Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Billie-Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.

It's understood Tennis Australia was pushing for the Sydney International to be restored to the calendar this year and staged after the inaugural United Cup mixed teams' event currently being played at Ken Rosewall Arena as well as group ties in Brisbane and Perth.

There was apparent pushback, though, from the WTA and ATP Tours, with two editions of the Adelaide International the preferred choice for 2023.

But in the ever-changing landscape, officials are already rethinking the 2024 summer calendar with the Sydney International said to be a strong contender to replace the second Adelaide International and held the week after the United Cup.

Champion in 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2005, Hewitt certainly wouldn't be opposed, nor would Alex de Minaur, who won his maiden ATP title in his home city in 2019.

"I always had a really soft spot for the tournament here. I loved the Sydney International," Hewitt told AAP.

"The first couple of times I played it at White City I thought it was special and with unbelievable fields.

"Then coming here as a coach later on and seeing Alex win it and seeing how much it meant for him.

"So it's hard because it was such a great tournament."

Hewitt, though, is realistic enough to understand pulling together another new schedule would be logistically difficult with endless stakeholders involved.

"All (possibilities) are slightly up in the air. I guess after COVID there's been a whole lot of changes in the cities and everything as well," said Australia's Davis Cup skipper and United Cup co-captain.

"So I guess everyone has to sort of sit back and breathe and have a good luck at everything and see where everything falls.

"But I loved the Sydney tournament. Mind you, I loved Adelaide and I loved Brisbane so I enjoyed playing all those tournaments."