Melbourne VIC, Australia, 23 January 2015 | AAP

A shattered Lleyton Hewitt doesn’t know whether he will return for a 20th appearance after another early exit from the Australian Open.

Hewitt looked on course for a third-round berth with a vintage display in the opening two sets of his clash with German Benjamin Becker.

But his game fell apart in the final three sets to remind the 33-year-old that it is 2015 and not 2005, when he reached the Open final in his best ever result.

It has been fairly slim pickings since with just three round-four appearances in 10 years.

Hewitt hasn’t made a decision on whether he will play at Melbourne Park for a 20th consecutive year or retire.

“I haven’t been kidding anyone, really I don’t know,” Hewitt said.

“I’ve just tried to focus on what I’ve wanted to do, to get the best out of myself this year.

“I’ll sit back and assess everything after this tournament.”

Becker, also 33, famously ended Andre Agassi’s glittering career at the 2006 US Open.

Post match Becker joked he hoped Hewitt would return so he wasn’t always asked about it, as he was with Agassi.

Becker left the court between the second and third sets when his fortunes turned.

“I kicked the door, I yelled out and let some steam go and when I came back I felt like a new player,” he said.

Becker, the world No.41, is on target for a potential showdown with world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.

He will next face Canadian Milos Raonic, who had a straight sets win over American Donald Young.

Hewitt could do no wrong in the first two sets but, as his first serve faltered and he tightened, Becker grew in confidence.

He said the transition from day to night meant that the ball was playing much heavier as the match went on which didn’t suit his game from the back of the court.

“He definitely raised his level,” Hewitt said.

“The first two sets I felt like I was dictating play the whole time.

“He tightened up some of his errors in the third set and started serving a lot better.

“It was obviously frustrating because I was playing so well for the first two sets.”

Becker had never won a five-set match in his long career but looked sharp as he broke Hewitt early and took a 3-1 lead in the final set from which the Australian was unable to recover.