Tennis world erupts over Lleyton Hewitt moment at Hall of Fame

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Lleyton Hewitt, pictured here with wife Bec after the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Newport.
Lleyton Hewitt with wife Bec after the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Newport. Image: Getty

Two years after being announced as an inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Aussie great Lleyton Hewitt finally got his moment on Saturday.

In 2020 the ITF announced Hewitt would be elected into the Hall of Fame as part of the 2021 class.

But due to travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic he was unable to attend the enshrinement ceremony last summer.

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There was no one elected for 2022, which meant the moment was Hewitt's alone on Saturday.

Wife Bec and their three children Cruz, Mia and Ava were all on hand to watch Hewitt become the 34th player from Australia to be inducted.

The enshrinement ceremony was held on Newport's grass courts after the semi-finals of the Hall of Fame Open - the same venue where Hewitt won his first ATP grass-court match as a teenager in 1998.

"I think I needed that extra year to come up with some proper words," Hewitt said.

"This is an incredible honour for me. It has made it all the more special to be able to have my family and friends here."

When asked how he wanted to be remembered, Hewitt paused for a moment before the word easily came to mind.

"Competitor," the 41-year-old said in an interview with The Associated Press earlier in the day before his induction.

"For me, someone that loved to lay it on the line day after day, and got the most out of themselves, I competed as hard as I possibly could on the court every time I took to the court," said Australia's Davis Cup captain and former World No.1.

"The fans deserved for us to give everything and go out and compete, and that's something I prided myself on."

Lleyton Hewitt, pictured here with wife Bec and children Mia, Cruz and Ava.
Lleyton Hewitt with wife Bec and children Mia, Cruz and Ava. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images for International Tennis Hall of Fame )

Tennis world erupts as Lleyton Hewitt gets his moment

After winning the US Open in 2001 and Wimbledon in 2002, Hewitt finished '01 and '02 as the No.1 player in the world and spent 80 weeks at the top of the pile.

In 2001 he became the youngest male World No.1 at 20 years, eight months and 26 days.

During his career, he won 30 singles titles and was part of two Davis Cup championship teams - 1999 and 2003.

One of his most memorable moments was being on his first Davis Cup team in '99.

"I was only 18, I think, at the time. I had Pat Rafter as our top singles player and I was playing No.2 behind him," he said.

"For me that was a really proud moment, to be standing beside all those great Australians that I always idolised and looked up to."

Lleyton Hewitt, pictured here with wife Bec during the International Tennis Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Lleyton Hewitt with wife Bec during the International Tennis Hall of Fame induction ceremony. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images for International Tennis Hall of Fame )

Hewitt won his last ATP title at Newport in 2014. It was then that the thought of being elected to the Hall crossed his mind.

"I was here playing the tournament and I had the career that I had, and I was coming toward the end of my career," he said in the interview.

"A lot of people that I would bump into me would say: 'I can't wait to see you back here in a few years.' That was probably the only time that you actually start thinking about it."

Despite saying he had no regrets, Hewitt admitted the only thing missing in his career was a slam title in his own country after he finished runner-up at the Australian Open in 2015.

"There's nothing that I would change," he said. "But something that I wish, obviously, that I was able to achieve. I felt, obviously, I was good enough to do."

with agencies

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