Melbourne VIC, Australia, 25 November 2017 |

Lleyton Hewitt has thrown his support his behind the Smash MND Australian Open Jimmy Barnes concert, which launched on Friday at Melbourne Park’s Show Court 3.

Hewitt, alongside Australian Open CEO Craig Tiley and Pat Cunningham from the FightMND charity, launched the concert, which will take place at the AO Live Stage on Sunday 14 January.

The concert is part of a partnership between the Australian Open and FightMND.

Hewitt said the FightMND charity is close to his heart and the tennis community, after the loss of former players Brad Drewett, Angie Cunningham and Peter Doohan.

“For me I got asked a few years ago to do a campaign for FightMND a few years back, and at that stage Brad Drewett was really struggling,” Hewitt said.

“He was a former great Davis Cup player for Australia and did so many great things in administration in tennis; he was there as the tournament director in Shanghai, when I went No.1.

“It was very sad to see his passing, and then of course Peter Doohan and Ange. They were all part of our tennis fraternity and everyone was really touched by it.

“Then I met Neale Daniher (FightMND founder) a couple of years ago and he was just and inspiration with everything he is going through, so this was an easy one for me.”

Hewitt said he is also a great fan of Jimmy Barnes, who is set to rock the AO Live Stage for the Smash MND concert, the first time such an event has happened at a Grand Slam tournament.

Australian Open CEO Craig Tiley said the charity was so important because of the loss of Drewett, Cunningham and Doohan.

“This is a cause close to the hearts of many of us in the tennis and sporting community,” Tiley said.

Cunningham, who lost his wife Angie to the disease, thanked Hewitt and the Australian tennis community for getting behind FightMND.

“It’s initiatives like SmashMND, and the support to Tennis Australia, it’s staff and the board help us to take the fight to this disease,” he said.

> get tickets to the Smash MND concert