Davis Cup is coming full circle for new Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt.
The freshly retired Hewitt will transition from playing stalwart to captain for the first-round tie against the United States at Kooyong in early May.
Hewitt’s love affair with Davis Cup started against the USA back in 1999, when he filled in for the injured Mark Philippoussis and helped steered the team to a memorable 4-1 win with a shock four-set victory against Todd Martin.
“I got thrown in the deep end against the States in Boston and to beat a guy who was ranked No.4 in the world in Todd Martin; in that pressure, playing for your whole nation and your teammates and your captain and coach, it’s a totally different pressure,” he said.
“The great thing about our young boys is that they love playing on the big stage and it doesn’t get much bigger than Davis Cup.”
Hewitt, who retired after last month’s Australian Open, inspected the work on the portable grass court at Kooyong on Tuesday.
It’s the first time Kooyong, the former home of the Australian Open, will host a Davis Cup tie in 10 years.
The 33-year-old hoped the grass would give his team, including Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios, an edge or at least blunt the edge of power server and American No.1 John Isner.
“The grass is a surface the US can play well on as well because they’ve got big servers but I think it nullifies some of their strengths as well,” Hewitt said.
“Our guys do adjust pretty well to grass and the Americans don’t play on it that often so it’s going to be a bit of an equaliser.”
With Thanasi Kokkinakis out with a shoulder injury the singles representatives are obvious in Tomic and Kyrgios although Hewitt wouldn’t give away who he was considering to replace himself to partner Sam Groth in the doubles.
“Everyone’s putting their hand up to play and I’ve got to come up with the best match-ups,” Hewitt said.
Kyrgios pulled out of the ATP tournament in Rotterdam this week with an elbow injury but Hewitt said he’d spoken to his young charge and didn’t believe it was serious.
“It’s more as a precaution than anything and obviously the Davis Cup is still high on his radar.”
Brisbane teen Oliver Anderson, who won the Australian Open boys singles title last month, has been called into the squad as the “orange boy”.