Lleyton Hewitt beaten by David Ferrer in final match of career

Lleyton Hewitt beaten by Ferrer in final match of career
By Eurosport

21/01/2016 at 10:49Updated 21/01/2016 at 12:36

Lleyton Hewitt's career came to an end at the Australian Open amid emotional scenes as the former Wimbledon champion lost to Spanish superstar David Ferrer.

The Australian trailed by two breaks in the final set, but sparked hope among the home fans of a comeback after breaking back.

But Ferrer proved too strong and served it out to win 6-2 6-4 6-4 and make the third round.

At the end of the match, Hewitt smiled and waved with a thumbs-up aimed at the fans who got to their feet to give him a standing ovation.

And the emotion was clear to see as he brought down the curtain on his career with a 20th and final appearance at the Australian Open.

"I left nothing in the locker room, it's something I've been proud of," said Hewitt.

That was certainly true: at one point Hewitt even pulled a 'hot dog' shot, which he laughed about with interviewer Jim Courier afterwards, saying "it didn't win the point though!"

"My whole career I've given 100%," he added. "I don't think it'll fully sink in until a couple of days' time."

Hewitt also spoke of his love for his country - something he will be able to continue as he takes up his new role as Davis Cup captain.

"I feel honoured to have this support, this love, from this crowd. It means so much to me," he said.

"Playing for Australia has always been my greatest honour."

Lleyton Hewitt - Australian Open 2016

Lleyton Hewitt - Australian Open 2016AFP

His vanquisher Ferrer called Hewitt "an amazing player" in his on-court interview, paying tribute by saying that he, "fought to the last point.

"He deserved everything," Ferrer added of the former world number one. "He is one of the best players in history... Lleyton has been an idol for me."

Hewitt sat in his chair during the interview, perhaps reflecting on his life, perhaps trying to stay in control and choking back his emotion.

Ferrer wasn't the only player to pay tribute to Hewitt: Andy Murray was also asked about the 34-year-old Australian earlier in the day - and he revealed that he'd paid him a huge compliment.

"He was someone I loved watching growing up. His attitude towards the competition I loved," said Murray.

"He fought – he fights – extremely hard, even to this day. This is his 20th Australian Open and he still has the same passion to win and compete as ever.

"I actually named one of my dogs after him!

"One of the things that I like about him is that he was an idol for me but then, when I came on the tour, he was always really good to me. So, away from the court, like practising with me, he always said ‘hello’, he was always very polite and respectful with me since I was a kid.

"You remember that as you get older and it’s a shame that he’s retiring. He deserves a great send off when he’s done here. He’s been amazing for tennis, for Australian tennis.”

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