Melbourne, 5 December 2011 |

There’s little that Lleyton Hewitt hasn’t achieved in a professional tennis career that started in 1998.

Back then John Howard was Prime Minister, the “Midday Show” was axed after 25 years on air, Mark Taylor equaled Don Bradman’s 334 record run stand, and Hewitt’s beloved Adelaide Crows won the second of their back-to-back premierships.

It was also the year that Hewitt took his first steps towards becoming one of the great Australian tennis players.

Starting with winning his first ATP title at his home-town event in Adelaide as a pony-tailed 16-year-old to becoming Australia’s most successful Davis Cup player ever, Hewitt has answered his critics time and again.

> Newcombe Medal 2011 photos

And at the second Newombe Medal, Australian Tennis Awards, Lleyton Hewitt’s services to tennis were recognised when he was presented with the Spirit of Tennis Award by friend and radio broadcaster Alan Jones AO in front of more than 700 hundred people at Crown Palladium.

“It is an honour to receive this award. I feel like that whenever I go onto court I give my all and that is what this game is all about,” said Hewitt who made a heartfelt speech after accepting the award.

Hewitt also paid tribute to friend and Davis Cup teammate Peter Luczak who was the first recipient of this award in 2010.

Hewitt didn’t require any votes to win this award, his achievements speak louder than his oft-heard “C’mon!” battle cry.

A winner of two Grand Slam titles – first at the US Open in 2001, then at Wimbledon the following year – 28 ATP titles, including back-to-back year-end championships and 80 weeks atop the rankings heap, 75 of which were consecutive, Hewitt, quite simply, has been there and done that.

But perhaps what he’s best known for, and has become synonymous with, is the manner in which he has represented his country.

Nobody in Australian tennis has won more rubbers in total or singles rubbers than Hewitt. If he plays on in 2012 he’ll equal Todd Woodbridge’s record of 14 years service to the green and gold and he’s one tie shy of equalling Woodbridge’s record for the most ties played by an Australian.

And if it wasn’t for Hewitt playing during the Woodbridge era, the younger Woodie’s Davis Cup doubles records may also be in jeopardy, such has been the regularity that Hewitt has been called into action.

“There is no greater feeling than playing for your country. Wearing the green and gold has been what I have cherished the most, therefore to receive the Spirit of Tennis award for Australia is very humbling”.