The Australian men’s tennis team for the Rio Olympics has been robbed of yet more star power, with Lleyton Hewitt opting out as coach.
Tennis Australia has applied to the Australian Olympic Committee to replace Hewitt with Mark Draper, with the former world No.1 reportedly citing “personal reasons” for withdrawing.
Hewitt had previously expressed interest in also seeking a wildcard doubles entry at the Games.
His exit is another big blow to the team after the nation’s top two male players, Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, withdrew from contention.
The controversial duo both made themselves unavailable for selection after engaging in spats with Australian team chef de mission Kitty Chiller.
The makeshift men’s team in Rio is set to be made up of Thanasi Kokkinakis, John Millman and doubles specialists John Peers and Chris Guccione.
Hewitt is a three-time Olympian, having donned the green and gold at the 2000, 2008 and 2012 Games.
His most successful campaign came at the 2012 London Games, when he went down in three sets to Novak Djokovic in the third rounds of the singles and also advanced to the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles with Samantha Stosur.
Australia’s women’s team should be much stronger than the men’s outfit in Rio, with Stosur and Daria Gavrilova both entered in the singles.