Lleyton Hewitt has played the last singles match of his tennis career, losing to David Ferrer in the second round of the Australian Open.

Former world number one Hewitt, who won two Grand Slam titles, was beaten 6-2 6-4 6-4 by the Spaniard.

“I left nothing in the locker room. My whole career I’ve given 100%,” said the 34-year-old Australian.

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“I love coming out here and competing. I’ve been so fortunate to have that opportunity 20 years in a row.”

Hewitt, who won 30 singles tour titles, was victorious at the US Open in 2001 and Wimbledon in 2002 and also helped his home country win the Davis Cup twice – in 1999 and 2003.

Lleyton Hewitt
Hewitt beat Argentina’s David Nalbandian in the final to win Wimbledon in 2002
“Playing for Australia has always been my biggest honour,” added Hewitt, in an emotional interview at Rod Laver Arena.

“I feel honoured to have had this support and this love from this crowd. It means so much for me.

“I’ve had so much success in big matches on this court and I feel fortunate to finish here. It’s the perfect place to finish.”

Despite ending his singles career, Hewitt has at least one more match to play before becoming captain of Australia’s Davis Cup team.

He partners countryman Sam Groth against Finland’s Henri Kontinen and Australia’s John Peers in a second-round men’s doubles match on Friday.

Greg Norman
Australian golfer Greg Norman tweeted this message to Lleyton Hewitt
‘You were an idol of mine’

Some of the biggest names in tennis paid tribute to Hewitt.

Roger Federer: “Thank you for everything you have done for tennis. I’ve loved every moment. I’ve enjoyed listening to you as a commentator as well, and I wish you all the best now with your family.”

Rafael Nadal: “I have always had something special with you. You are a big inspiration of my tennis and my mentality. I think your love and passion for this sport is a great inspiration for the next generation too. Thank you very much.”

Andy Murray: “You were an idol of mine when I was growing up and you’ve always been so nice to me and helpful on tour and I really appreciate that. Enjoy your retirement, it is well deserved. Good luck mate.

Nick Kyrgios: “You’ve taught all us young kids a lot so hopefully you’ll still be hanging around. I just want to repeat what I’ve been saying to you: Don’t go mate, you’re playing such a high level of tennis, you’re definitely still the best player in Australian tennis.”