“A great honour”: Lleyton Hewitt joins Australian Tennis Hall of Fame
Joining illustrious company in Australian tennis, Lleyton Hewitt became the 47th Australian Tennis Hall of Fame inductee at Australian Open 2024.
Few courts carry such significance for Lleyton Hewitt as Rod Laver Arena.
In 2003, it was the setting for Hewitt’s trademark Davis Cup heroics, including a come-from-behind win over Roger Federer in the semifinals.
Several months on, the then-22-year-old played another starring role as Australia defeated Spain for the title.
It was also the scene of Hewitt’s memorable run to the final of the centenary Australian Open in 2005, when one of his victims included a teenage Rafael Nadal. Hewitt also defeated David Nalbandian and Andy Roddick, before falling to Marat Safin in a four-set final.
There was yet another high for the former world No.1 to celebrate at Rod Laver Arena during Australian Open 2024, when Hewitt was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame.
“This is an unbelievable honour for me to think back where my journey started,” said South Australian-born Hewitt, who completed the first of 20 consecutive Australian Open main-draw campaigns in 1997.
“As a 15-year-old, coming here and qualifying for the Australian Open for the first time, I always dreamt to just be able to play once here.
“To end up playing 20 years in a row and now to get this incredible honour and be alongside all the greats that I looked up to in Australian tennis over so many years, a lot of those guys were like big brothers or even father figures to me out there.”
Hewitt was joined on court by wife Bec and two of his three children, Cruz and Ava (his oldest daughter, Mia, had attended AO 2024 earlier in the fortnight), as well as parents Glynn and Cherilyn, plus sister Jaslyn.
Australian No.1 Alex de Minaur was also close by as a tight-knit group of Hewitt’s friends viewed the ceremony.
Hewitt was delighted to join fellow Australian legends in the prestigious Hall of Fame, including many who proudly watched on at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday.
Court-side guests included Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Frank Sedgman, John Fitzgerald, Margaret Court, as well as Bill and Lesley Bowrey.
“I owe so much to the Australian tennis community,” said Hewitt. “I’d like to thank my family as well – Bec and the kids for all their support over the years. My parents, my sister (and) all my friends that are here tonight to enjoy this moment.”
Already a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Hewitt is a US Open and Wimbledon champion, a two-time Davis Cup title winner and has twice lifted the trophy at the ATP Finals.
In 2001, he became the youngest man to rise to world No.1, at age 20 and eight months. He won 30 singles titles throughout his career.
Hewitt now proudly leads the Australian Davis Cup team as captain and is a high-profile spectator at many matches featuring Australian players. This notably includes De Minaur, who is mentored by the Australian great.
A bronze statue of Hewitt, the 47th Australian Tennis Hall of Fame inductee, will join those of other Australian legends in Garden Square at Melbourne Park.
“It’s something incredibly special and what a tournament this is,” Hewitt added. “It’s a great honour that it can happen here (at the Australian Open).”