C’mon! Aussie legend receives ‘ultimate’ tennis honour
Australian great Lleyton Hewitt has described his induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame as the "ultimate recognition".
The ITHF confirmed Hewitt will be honoured in the United States in July as reward for his stellar career.
The 2002 Wimbledon champion is the first Australian inductee since wheelchair champion David Hall in 2015.
Hewitt's Davis Cup teammate Pat Rafter entered the ITHF in 2006.
The current Davis Cup captain will be inducted alongside fellow Australians Judy Dalton and Kerry Melville Reid.
Hewitt was blown away when told about his induction alongside the world's finest tennis players.
"I am hugely honoured to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame," Hewitt said.
"When you are competing, you're so focused on training and your results that week or that year, you don't really look ahead to something like this.
"But when that is all compiled up and deemed deserving of becoming a Hall of Famer, well, it's just the ultimate recognition for a player, and I'm so honoured.
"The Hall of Famers are people who I admired so much throughout my career - especially people like Rochey and Newk and Rocket and so many others.
"They were all motivating factors in my career and to be recognised alongside them in tennis history is an incredible honour."
Members of the Hall of Fame, tennis journalists and historians voted on the 2021 inductees.
Fans were also able to vote on the candidates, with their input adding a bonus percentage to the top-three vote getters in the poll.
A candidate required an affirmative vote of 70 per cent or higher to earn elevation.
It's five years since Hewitt played his last grand slam singles match at the 2016 Australian Open, though he has played competitive doubles as recently as last year.
The 2002 Wimbledon champion's most recent singles triumph came in the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, in 2014, which was his 30th career title.
International Tennis Hall of Fame President Stan Smith praised Hewitt's induction.
"Lleyton Hewitt always competed hard until the last ball was hit, and this is very apparent in the Hall of Fame resume he built," Smith said.
"The Original 9 were true trailblazers in tennis history. It took a lot of courage to do what they did, and we have today's incredible WTA Tour to thank for it, as well as opportunities for women in so many other sports.
"It's also a pleasure to celebrate Dennis Van der Meer, who was a tremendous coach, teacher, and real visionary for the future of the sport."
Whether the Australian trio can attend the awards ceremony in July is uncertain given the difficulties associated with travelling during the pandemic.
Originally published as C'mon! Aussie legend receives 'ultimate' tennis honour