The Americans don’t believe they’ve seen the last of Lleyton Hewitt.
The Australian team captain has come out of a very short retirement – 41 days – to replace Sam Groth and lead the home country’s charge alongside debutant John Peers in the Davis Cup doubles at Kooyong.
The new duo pushed American greats Mike and Bob Bryan to five sets but went down 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3 to give the USA a 2-1 overall lead with the return singles remaining on Sunday.
Australian No.1 Bernard Tomic is up first against top-ranked US player John Isner.
If Tomic is victorious in levelling the tie, Groth is due to play Jack Sock in the deciding fifth rubber.
United States team captain Jim Courier said Hewitt must be a chance to play instead of Groth on the back of his impressive showing in the doubles.
The 35-year-old, Australia’s most successful ever Davis Cup player, showed his trademark fire to help claw himself and Peers back into the match.
He lost his serve in the opening set and another time in the second but stepped up his game in the third when the stakes were high.
Hewitt showed he’d lost nothing of his return of serve during his time away from competitive tennis.
“At this stage, we don’t know necessarily if it’s going to be Sam (Groth) or Lleyton,” Courier said.
“The way Lleyton played I would think he would give himself consideration should there be a live fifth match so we’ll be ready for that eventuality if it comes to pass.”
Hewitt admitted it was a possibility and said it didn’t feel like he’d ever been away.
“Possibly,” Hewitt said when asked about playing singles.
“I hit a lot of balls this week leading in and I felt very comfortable with how I was hitting the ball.
“I didn’t doubt myself at all.”