Lleyton Hewitt has received a thunderous send-off after his 20-year professional tennis career officially came to an end with a third-round Australian Open doubles loss at Melbourne Park.
Canadian Vasek Pospisil and American Jack Sock, the 2014 Wimbledon doubles champions, beat Hewitt and fellow Australian Sam Groth 6-4 6-2 at Margaret Court Arena on Sunday.
The defeat follows Hewitt’s second-round exit from the singles on Thursday and frees the 34-year-old former world No.1 and dual grand slam champion to focus on his new role as Australia’s 19th Davis Cup captain.
Typically, Hewitt’s last match was not without drama.
The showcourt contest was halted for almost half an hour at 4-1 to Pospisil and Sock in the second set while Groth’s mother was treated after falling down stairs.
In the fourth incident involving a spectator during the Open, paramedics were called to the stands.
It came less than 24 hours after Ana Ivanovic’s coach Nigel Sears, also the father-in-law of Andy Murray, collapsed during his charge’s third-round match against Madison Keys.
Groth looked concerned throughout the delay, and had a towel covering the bottom half of his face for the most part.
But his mother was able to walk from the courts after being treated.
The stoppage merely served as a stay of execution as Hewitt’s decorated playing career was all over after just 78 minutes of on-court action.
The crowd afforded the retiring great a standing ovation as he left the court, never to return as a competitor following a record 20 consecutive Australian Open appearances.