Emotional Lleyton Hewitt's career ended by David Ferrer at Australian Open video

Lleyton Hewitt retires from ATP Tour after being beaten by David Ferrer in straight sets at the Australia Open.

Farewelling with with no regrets, Lleyton Hewitt says he "left nothing in the locker room" after his storied 20-year, 878-match professional tennis career came to a close with a sapping second-round loss at the Australian Open.

Spanish party pooper David Ferrer ended an era in Australian sport with a 6-2 6-4 6-4 victory over the wounded warrior in a gripping encounter that ended in controversial fashion on Thursday night.

Rod Laver Arena was again packed with the Rafters, Pat and wife Lara, along with countless other tennis luminaries, celebrities and sports stars including triple world surfing champion Mick Fanning.

Australia's Lleyton Hewitt leaves the court and waves goodbye to his career with his three children after playing his ...
JASON O'BRIEN/REUTERS

Australia's Lleyton Hewitt leaves the court and waves goodbye to his career with his three children after playing his final Australian Open match.

They'd been hoping to see the former world No 1 and dual grand slam champion wind back the clock at least one more time.

READ MORE:
* Andy Murray blasts Sam Groth out of Australian Open
* Kiwi Michael Venus, Pavic out of Aussie Open doubles
* Roger Federer eases past Dolgopolov in Melbourne

 
Lleyton Hewitt waves goodbye to the crowd after losing his second round match at Rod Laver Arena.
QUINN ROONEY/GETTY IMAGES

Lleyton Hewitt waves goodbye to the crowd after losing his second round match at Rod Laver Arena.

But with little care for the occasion, the eighth-seeded Ferrer showed his class to put away Hewitt - who battled a thigh strain throughout - in two hours and 32 minutes.

"I came out, I gave everything I had like always and left nothing in the locker room," Hewitt said.

"That's something I can be proud of. My whole career I've given 100 per cent. I love competing."

David Ferrer of Spain (left) embraces Lleyton Hewitt at the net following their second round match at the Australian ...
CAMERON SPENCER/GETTY IMAGES

David Ferrer of Spain (left) embraces Lleyton Hewitt at the net following their second round match at the Australian Open, the last of Hewitt's career.

But he'll compete no more.

Ad Feedback

Instead, the father of three will turn his attention to his new role as Australia's 19th Davis Cup captain and he admitted retirement wouldn't sink in for a few days yet.

"It's a weird emotion. Rod Laver Arena, it's like a second home for me," he said.

Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena was a second home for Lleyton Hewitt.
JASON O'BRIEN/REUTERS

Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena was a second home for Lleyton Hewitt.

"I'm just so lucky to keep having this opportunity 20 years in a row.

"I just felt like this was the perfect place to finish.

"I was getting goose bumps out here tonight."

Lleyton Hewitt produced 27 winners but also 43 unforced errors in his final match as a professional tennis player.
QUINN ROONEY/GETTY IMAGES

Lleyton Hewitt produced 27 winners but also 43 unforced errors in his final match as a professional tennis player.

A part-time player for much of the past year since announcing after his second-round Open loss in 2015 that this would be his farewell to the sport, Hewitt still dared to dream following his first-round triumph over James Duckworth.

"I want six more," the Hall of Famer said before Hunters and Collectors' Holy Grail was belted out on the sound system during his warm-up on Thursday night.

In reality, there was never going to be a fairytale finish for the veteran dream believer.

In an unprecedented 20 straight Open appearances, Hewitt's best result will forever remain his epic run to the 2005 final that ended in a four-set defeat at the hands of Marat Safin.

He failed to venture beyond the fourth round any other year since becoming the youngest Open qualifier in history at just 15 in 1997.

Hewitt will nevertheless be remembered and ranked among the modern-day greats of Australian tennis, up there with fellow former world No 1s John Newcombe and Rafter and behind only the legend after which the arena where Hewitt made his last stand was named.

"He's just been one of the greatest competitors I have ever seen in my life," said world No 1 and five-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic.

"Tennis will definitely miss a great competitor, a great fighter."

And after losing five straight games to drop the first set, and then needing treatment for a leg injury, Hewitt displayed all his trademark grit to conjure seven break-back chances in an epic game while trailing 4-3 in the second set.

Alas, there was no break back as Ferrer held on before serving out a two-sets-to-love lead.

A winner of 32 five-set encounters - behind only all-time greats Ivan Lendl (36), Ilie Nastase (35) and Pete Sampras (33) in the professional era - Hewitt was unable to conjure a famous comeback this time around.

But a fighter to the bitter end, Hewitt tried everything to drag himself back into the contest, including a career-first "tweener", a second medical time-out and a venomous spray of chair umpire Pascal Maria after copping a series of untimely foot faults deep in the third set.

Hewitt branded the linesman a "moron" and demanded Maria "get rid of him".

Ferrer, though, was not to be denied, staying cool amid the fury and steadying after dropping serve for the only time to break Hewitt once again and clinch victory.

LLEYTON THE LEGEND - HEWITT'S CAREER IN A SNAPSHOT

Age: 34
Born: Adelaide, South Australia, Feb 24, 1981
Lives: Nassau, The Bahamas and Sydney, Australia
Height: 178cm. Weight: 74kg
Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Ranking: 308
Career-high ranking: 1 (2001-2003)
Career prize money: $30.11 million

Career titles: 30
Grand slam titles: 2 (Wimbledon 2002; US Open 2001)
Career win-loss record: 616-262

Australian Open win-loss record: 32-20
Best Australian Open performance: runner-up 2005

French Open win-loss record: 28-14
Best French Open performance: quarter-finalist 2001, 2004

Wimbledon win-loss record: 41-16
Best Wimbledon performance: champion 2002

US Open win-loss record: 47-14
Best US Open performance: champion 2001

Davis Cup ties: 41 (1999-2015) - Australian record
Davis Cup win-loss record: 58-20 (42-14 singles, 16-6 doubles)
Davis Cup champion: 1999, 2003 (runner-up 2000, 2001)

 - AAP

Ad Feedback
special offers