Just a few months after Lleyton Hewitt's emotional farewell from the Australian Davis Cup team, he's back, but in a completely different role! Former world number 1 Hewitt, has taken over from Willy Masur as the next Davis Cup captain of Australia, and will have his first test of captaincy at home, against a strong looking USA side in March. Hewitt will be looking to culminate his exceptional 16 year long career (which includes 2 Davis Cup titles 1999-2003), at the Australian Open in January, where he will be expected to receive yet another rousing farewell.
What Can Hewitt Offer To The Team?
Loved by all for his gutsy tennis, champion mentality and sportsmanship, Hewitt can offer a lot to the Davis Cup side, that's currently down on motivation and morality. He's expected to lead a team consisting of Bernard Tomic, controversial Nick Kyrgios, big serving Sam Groth, giant-killer John Millman, and the exceptionally talented Thanasi Kokkinakis. The team members are beyond delighted at this news, with Kokkinakis tweeting that he was 'stoked to have Hewitt as his new captain.'
Hewitt On Kyrgios
Both Tomic and Kyrgios have missed ties earlier in the year, due to disciplinary problems; and while Tomic has redeemed himself in the eyes of Tennis Australia, Kyrgios is yet to do the same. Hewitt knows that the most imposing challenge put before him right now is Nick Kyrgios' recent behaviour and it's implications. However, Hewitt believes that Kyrgios is the best thing to have happened to Australian tennis, and he just needs to mellow down his public image. "He's got to be who he is to a certain extent," Hewitt said of Kyrgios. "I don't think Nick realises how powerful his image can be. He is so good for the sport of tennis in so many ways if he can control it to a certain line because he brings so many different people to watch our great sport, and he does it not just in Australia but across the globe."
Hewitt's faced 'image problems' too, in his younger years, and he understands what it's like to have the media against you, and to be scrutinized on a regular basis. "When I came on (tour) I didn't always have the best image out there, either, so it's about dealing with that and learning from the mistakes that you've made over time, and then obviously becoming not only a better person off the court but also a better tennis player as well, and Nick's I think really finding himself at the moment," Hewitt said. "But he has massive upside, as well, and I think with the right people around him and the right team around him I think he can really improve the next year or two [in] leaps and bounds and hopefully hold up a grand slam trophy." Hewitt has been mentoring Kyrgios across the American part of the tour, and will be looking to continue this relationship in the new season.
Always a team player, 'Rusty' as captain could be the perfect boost that Australia needs at this moment, and with his experience he can easily push the country back onto the tennis world map, and maybe even give Australia their first title in 12 years.