Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Tennis

Aussie Hewitt bids an emotional farewell in London

By Tom Allnutt

Lleyton Hewitt battled to the bitter end, but was unable to prevent his Wimbledon singles career finishing with a dramatic five-set defeat to Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.

Hewitt, who is retiring after the Australian Open next year, will be forever remembered for his irrepressible fighting spirit and the 2002 champion typically saved three match points to extend an incredible final set on Court 2.

Nieminen also making his last appearance at SW19, held his nerve to seal a 3-6 6-3 4-6 6-0 11-9 victory and book a second-round match-up with defending champion Novak Djokovic.

Hewitt twice led the Fin after winning the first and third sets, but the Australian called two medical time-outs in the decider and finally, after exactly four hours on court, his resistance crumbled.

It means Hewitt has won 41 matches and lost 16 in his 17 appearances at the All England Club and he arguably saved his most dramatic contest until last.

The 34-year-old was spurred on throughout by his famous Australian band of supporters and after the match, Hewitt directed an emotional salute towards his loyal fan club and applauded all sides of the court, before making his exit.

Hewitt will return to the grass for one last time in the doubles event, where he plays alongside compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Nieminen was also drawn against Djokovic in the opening round of the French Open last month, losing in straight sets. The 33-year-old has tasted victory against the world No.1 only once in their six previous meetings.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph