Two-time Grand Slam champion and former world number one Lleyton Hewitt was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday, a ceremony delayed from 2021 by Covid-19.
Hewitt won the 2001 US Open and 2002 Wimbledon titles among 30 career ATP triumphs and helped Australia capture the Davis Cup in 1999 and 2003.
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The 41-year-old from Adelaide was unable to travel to the Hall of Fame last year from Australia so his induction was postponed for a year and staged after Saturday’s ATP Hall of Fame Open semi-finals.
“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.”
Hewitt was joined by wife Bec as well as daughters Mia, Ava and son Cruz.
Cruz is following in Lleyton’s footsteps and made headlines last year after he won his opening match at the 14-and-under boys’ singles at the prestigious Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships in Florida last year.
The ceremony was staged on the court where Hewitt won his first ATP grass court match as a teen in 1998.
“To think where it all began for me on junior tennis courts in the middle of nowhere in Adelaide in Australia, with no one watching, no TV cameras, and then to make the full tennis journey and actually now be coming into the Hall of Fame. For me, this is such a special place here in Newport,” Hewitt said.
Hewitt was a year-end world number one in 2001 and 2002 and his intense emotion combined with speed and skilled shotmaking made him a threat on any surface, great shots usually followed by the scream, “Come on.”
Hewitt finished with a career record of 616-262 in ATP singles play.
The Aussie icon won his first ATP title in Adelaide in 1998 and his last in 2014 at the Hall of Fame Open, defeating Ivo Karlovic.
“I feel fortunate I was able to play across generations, to play against my heroes like Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras,” Hewitt said, as well as against legends Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.