Lleyton Hewitt Out Of Retirement, Replaces Nick Kyrgios For Davis Cup Against USA

03/03/2016 10:34 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Lleyton Hewitt of Australia gestures during his second round match against David Ferrer of Spain at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016.(AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill)

Well, that was quick. Unscheduled too. But it was confirmed on Thursday morning that Lleyton Hewitt will come out of retirement to replace the injured Nick Kyrgios for this weekend's Davis Cup tie against the USA at Kooyong in Melbourne.

Hewitt played the 877th and last match of a celebrated career when he lost to David Ferrer in the second round of the Australian Open in January. Just 42 days later, he's back, replacing Nick Kyrgios who has been struggling with illness and a back injury.

Hewitt was, and still will be, the captain of the team. That's a coaching and motivational role which is not seen in professional tournament tennis where coaches are not allowed courtside, or permitted to give any sort of advice from the stands during matches.

But in Davis Cup they are. So Hewitt will be a busy man over the next few days as he dusts off his racquets and pays just as much attention to his team-mates Samuel Groth, Bernard Tomic and doubles specialist John Peers.

Hewitt had spent much of the week practicing with Kyrgios, so there's no doubt he can still hit a ball. Whether he can match it with Team USA remains to be seen. That said, it's not the strongest US team ever to appear in this event. Their players are world number 11 John Isner, Jack Sock and doubles specialists (and brothers) Bob and Mike Bryan.

Isner is best known as the player who won the longest game in history -- an 11 hour epic that ended with a 70-68 victory in the fifth set. Should he clash with Hewitt, expect a fight, and a drawn-out one at that.

The draw for the tie will be announced later Thursday.

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