Two-time grand slam winner Lleyton Hewitt has made the decision to withdraw from the French Open in order to focus on Wimbledon and the Davis Cup. The veteran revealed at the start of the year that he would retire from the game at the end of the 2016 Australian Open, confirming that this would be his last full season on tour before bringing an end to a stellar career. But Hewitt won’t be making a 15th appearance at Roland Garros after opting to rest his 34-year-old body throughout the clay-court season in order to give himself the best chance of performing at his best at Wimbledon and then in the Davis Cup later in the year.
The former world number one has only been able to play five ATP singles matches in 2015, with his most recent appearance coming in a first round defeat to Go Soeda in Houston in April in a result that surprised more than a few fans. That straight sets loss appears to now be the last time we’ll see Hewitt on clay, with the Aussie now focused on heading to Europe early and begin his grass-court preparations in time for Wimbledon, a tournament he won in 2002. While Hewitt doesn’t have the greatest reputation on clay (he was as long as 750/1 with betfair for the French Open), his win-loss record of 28-14 at the French Open is one that not many other players in history have managed to achieve, reaching the quarter-final stage in 2001 and 2004.
Hewitt had hinted this decision could be on the cards earlier in the season, and it’s now clear that the Aussie’s main focuses for the remainder of 2015 are Wimbledon and then ending his Davis Cup career in front of his home fans against Kazakhstan in July. The 2002 Wimbledon champion is scheduled to play in warm-up events at s-Hertogenbosch and Queens before the third grand slam of the season, where Hewitt is all but guaranteed a wild-card entry into the tournament. It remains to be seen whether Hewitt will compete in the US Open at the end of the summer, before wrapping up a remarkable career with his 20th consecutive appearance at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Despite struggling with both form and fitness over the past few years, Hewitt has continued to be a consistent presence on the ATP Tour. He might not be the same player he was between 2001 and 2006 but Hewitt has still regularly popped up in the latter rounds of ATP tournaments across the world, with his most recent titles coming in July of 2014. At 34, though, Hewitt’s body simply isn’t up to it anymore, bringing an end to the career of one of Australia’s best ever players in the modern game.
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