Hewitt returns for a crack at doubles

MELBOURNE • Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt will come out of retirement to play doubles at next month's Australian Open in Melbourne, reports said yesterday.

The 36-year-old will partner fellow Australian Sam Groth, 30, who has announced that the Jan 15-28 Grand Slam will be his last tournament.

"It's going to be a bit of fun - that's what the Australian Open is about," Hewitt told the Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper.

"I'm going to really enjoy it. We've been hitting a lot of balls, hitting every day, and we're not just going out there making up the numbers. We want to give it a fair crack."

Hewitt, a US Open and Wimbledon singles champion, retired from top-level tennis after his home Grand Slam in January last year.

It is not the first time he has returned to action since. In last year's Davis Cup tie with the United States, Hewitt and John Peers, came close to upsetting Bob and Mike Bryan in an epic doubles five-setter. Hewitt also partnered compatriot Jordan Thompson at Wimbledon last year.

Groth said: "It's something Lleyton and I have talked about and it's perfect for me.

"I was there when 'Rusty' (Hewitt) retired in 2016 and it's great that he'll be there with me when I bow out."

Meanwhile, Roger Federer has been voted BBC overseas sports personality of the year for a record fourth time after an astonishing season during which he picked up two more Grand Slam titles.

The Swiss, 36, returned from six months out with knee trouble to win the Australian Open before picking up a record eighth Wimbledon crown. He ended the season with a 52-5 record, ranked world No. 2 behind his great rival Rafael Nadal.

Federer previously won the award, which is voted for by the public, in 2004, 2006 and 2007. Muhammad Ali and Usain Bolt have each won it three times.

"It makes me incredibly proud that the UK public have chosen me as the BBC overseas sports personality of the year for 2017," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2017, with the headline 'Hewitt returns for a crack at doubles'. Print Edition | Subscribe