Aussie tennis legend Lleyton Hewitt has withdrawn from the Australian Olympic team citing “personal reasons” for pulling out of the Games.
Australia’s Davis Cup captain was set to coach the men’s tennis team in Rio, with his role set to be filled by Mark Draper pending approval from the AOC.
Hewitt had previously sought a wildcard doubles entry to compete alongside John Peers but his bid, which would’ve seen the veteran come out of retirement for a third time, was rejected.
The former world no.1 is a three-time Olympian, having competed at the 2000, 2008 and 2012 Games.
The news caps a tumultuous road to Rio for Australia’s tennis team, with the nations’ top two players, Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic having previously made themselves unavailable for selection.
Instead Australia will be represented by Thanasi Kokkinakis, John Millman in the men’s singles and John Peers and Chris Guccione in the doubles.
In the women’s draw Sam Stosur, who will be playing at her fourth Games, and Daria Gavrilova will both contest the singles event and team up in the doubles.
“It’s really amazing to think I’m going to be at my fourth Olympics. That’s quite a long stretch of years; it’s always an honour and a privilege to be a part of that team,” said Stosur.
“We’ve got the tennis team – which is always quite small – but you’re part of a really big, greater Australian team full of sporting icons and people who are as good as it gets. So it’s really special.”
Australia will be chasing their first tennis medal since Alicia Molik claimed bronze in Athens in 2004, with the ‘Woodies’ having claimed the country’s only tennis gold at Atlanta 1996.
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