Lleyton Hewitt has been confirmed as Australia’s next Davis Cup captain, with the 34-year-old set to take charge following his retirement after next year’s Australian Open.
The former world No.1 will become just the seventh Australian Davis Cup figurehead since Harry Hopman’s leadership began in 1950 when he takes over from Wally Masur.
The Aussie tennis legend’s first assignment will be to guide his young team past the USA on home soil in the first round of the World Group in March 2016.
Hewitt had no doubts about the magnitude of the task ahead but is confident Australia has the talent pool to land the title for the first time in 13 years, having been knocked out in this year’s semi-finals.
“I’ll be doing a fair bit of travel with these guys and obviously helping them,” said Hewitt following official news of his appointment.
“I want the team environment to not only be Davis Cup weeks but be throughout the year, and I think that’s one thing that I can really bring to the table and help these guys, as long as they have the respect for me out there.
“I see my role as more of a mentor than a coach to these guys – they’re all going to have their own coaching situations, but I can be around and help them and understand their games inside out every single week …
“I just want to have a really positive influence on their careers, and not just hopefully to win the Davis Cup but for them to get the most out of their potential, and hopefully win the grand slams.”
Australia has an exciting breed of talent starting to assert themselves on the Men’s tour with six players ranked inside the world’s top 100 players.
Bernard Tomic leads the charge at a career high no.18 followed by Nick Kyrgios, Sam Groth, John Millman,Thanasi Kokkinakis and James Duckworth.
Hewitt, who was part of Australia’s last two Davis Cup triumphs in 1999 and 2003, emphasised it will definitely take a team effort to add to Australia’s 28 titles under his tenure.
“Obviously, wearing your heart on your sleeve and going out there and committing yourself and giving 100 per cent every time you step on the court that’s what I’ve prided myself on and that’s what I’ll be bringing to the table,” Hewitt said.
Having made his Davis Cup debut back in 1999 against the US – which is also still the last time these countries have met at this level, Hewitt went on to become Australia’s most successful representative.
The South Australian holds the record for most ties (41), most years played (17), most total wins (58-20) and most singles wins (42-14) but was very much looking to the future.
“I have to sit down with the boys and work out what our best option is moving forward, in terms of surface, and it’s nice to have a home tie against the US,” Hewitt said. “It’s amazing it’s taken that long to come back around.”
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